22 Mar BE IN THE BEST POSITION FOR YOUR DEPOSITION
– By Armando Ezquerra Hasbun © 2017
Depositions can be grueling. Sometimes we deal with hostile parties, long hours without back up, complex subject matters… often made worse by the unwillingness to advance or share information about the case based on the mistaken belief that we are living dictionaries, ready and able to offer a rendition on any technical or arcane topic without preparing beforehand.
But even in this extreme situation there is a way to help you carry out your difficult task every time: realizing that court reporters are our best ally and finding the way to position yourself next to them so that you both can help each other do you jobs better.
Whether you are a traditionalist steeped in accurate note-taking as a way to reconstruct questions and answers for your rendition, or you adhere to the Consecutaneous, that is the practice of rendering questions in English in the simultaneous while interpreting responses into English in the true consecutive mode, you will benefit from sitting next to the court reporter and across from the deponents every time.
What are some of the advantages of being seated precisely that way?
1. You can catch a glance of the court reporter computer screen as s/he types up the utterances in English, including names, addresses, places, amounts, dates and other details which you need not take down anymore. In essence, you perform that part of your task as if you were performing a sight translation, with the added advantage of having all the information visually accessible effortlessly on your part, because it is our colleague who has been accurately taking it down.
2. By sitting across from the deponents, you can look at them directly and therefore you can have a better sense of whether they understood something or not, whether there are nuances in their responses indicated by facial expressions or gestures. Seated across from them, they can also see if you are struggling with a lengthy response and perhaps realize, that they need to pause in order for you to proceed. If the deposition is being video recorded, sitting across from the deponents will ensure your visage is not in the camera’s path, enabling you to do your job without an added stressor.
3. In return for the privilege of having visual access to the information taken down by the court reporter, you can spell out foreign names for them in writing so that this is a win-win situation for them as well.
How do you educate attorneys and others about the need to be seated in this particular arrangement?
By remembering that in that room, you are the language expert and you know better about the technical aspects of your work. And this is one of them: if you politely and firmly explain the need for you to be seated in such a way, you’re unlikely to be denied and you will find it much easier to last longer and be more accurate because you’ll be half as tired as you would be otherwise.
Have you tried this strategy already? How do you feel about it?
Armando is a federally-certified court interpreter, a certified trainer for the nationally recognized Bridging the Gap medical interpreter training program, an adjunct professor of interpretation at La Salle University, conference interpreter, grader, lecturer, and consultant in the industry as a Subject Matter Expert. He has spoken at many industry associations to present on the topic of medical interpreting, including the Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy (SHCA), the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), and the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators (TAHIT). Armando holds degrees in Psychology, International Studies and Spanish Language and Literature. He has been published on various topics of interest to the language services profession and, as a recognized thought leader in the industry, is often engaged as a speaker.