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What if an interpreter doesn know how to translate a word or phrase?

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What if an interpreter doesn know how to translate a word or phrase?

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This is a question of ethics and technique. If an interpreter is interpreting for a witness and that witness says something that the interpreter does not understand, the interpreter is obligated to seek clarification, after asking the judge’s permission. If the interpreter is simultaneously interpreting the proceedings, the answer depends on whether the importance of the thing said seems sufficient to outweigh the intrusiveness of interrupting the proceedings to request a repetition or clarification, and that determination depends on the interpreter’s judgment. Theoretically the interpreter should always interrupt in such situations, but many often do not. In proceedings longer than about half an hour, it is necessary for interpreters to work in teams of two, not only to relieve one another periodically so as to avoid fatigue, but also to provide mutual assistance with these sorts of problems. In a perfect world, interpreters are fully trained and prepared for the material they interpr

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The interpreter may request time to consult dictionaries or colleagues. Alternatively, the interpreter may ask the speaker to rephrase an ambiguous question or answer.

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