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          In my home I am “the fixer”. This is not a role that I chose knowingly and intentionally; it just came with the territory. I own a home, so if anything breaks I am the one in charge of fixing it or finding someone...

I know. The official name is “International Translation Day”. I changed it. I just have this thing about “interpreters” being included whenever anyone talks about “translators” and “interpreting” being understood as a part of “translation” in the title of such an important day. We all...

          As I was putting on my make-up this morning getting ready for work, the thought crossed my mind in a flash: “I am putting on my war paint.” I realized it was a ritual, perhaps not too dissimilar from the rituals of our indigenous...

PART I My master’s thesis was on the “invisible” women who cut sugar cane for a living in Puerto Rico during the 19th and 20th centuries. They were there, but no one saw them because they blended into the general landscape. Something similar happens with interpreters,...

            We hardly pay attention to the way in which we say things, but we certainly know intuitively that we should raise our volume when we want to emphasize something, or lower it when our intention is a bit more secretive or intimate. We know...

Beware of false friends! I don’t mean the people, I mean the words.  One of the first impulses a young interpreter must overcome is the use of words that may, at first glance, seem to be equivalent terms and concepts in two languages... but are not. Taking that direct path from similarly-sounding words in our source and target languages is not always wrong, but part of being a good interpreter is knowing exactly when to take this path and when not to. In the rapid pace of judiciary interpreting, our brains may lean heavily towards cognates in source and target languages. Cognates are words with a common origin or etymology. True cognates, like “library” and “librería” in Spanish or “livraria” in Portguese, with a common Latin root -- liber -- may come to have new and different meanings with usage and the passage of time. In this example “library” is a place where books are kept for people to read or borrow, whereas “librería” or “livraria” is a place where books are sold. So although they may be true cognates, these words have become false friends, or faux amis.