This article by Janis Palma was first published two years ago, almost to the date. It is a good reminder of the importance of proper terminology and the traps we face in our work - both translators and interpreters!
©Janis Palma- 2014
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 Portuguese, 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.

This article by Jennifer de la Cruz was originally published in August 2014. We thought it was especially relevant after Athena's piece on sight translation. This is a new aspect of what we do in court interpreting. When Facebook and Instagram and even text messaging were...

This article by Katharine Allen, co-President of InterpretAmerica and former contributor to The NAJIT Observer, was originally published on October 11, 2013. The subject covered is of great importance to us: professional training. The article remains relevant despite the lapse of time since its original...

We have another Guest Blogger for you. This time we are graced by Leslie Tabarez who is a State Court Certified Interpreter in Pennsylvania. But we will let her introduce herself. “I’m a natural blonde, I have blue-eyes, and I’m a Spanish interpreter. Born in NYC,...

Dear Readers, we are in the process of changing our platform and that has had an unexpected impact on our comments feature. We love to hear from you, therefore you are invited to make yourself heard via email to tno_editor@najit.org or NAJIT's Facebook group.
After I wrote that, I realized that “how not to ask for repetitions” could be taken two ways, so I’d like to address both of them.

Part I: How Not to Need Repetitions.

1. Practice your active listening skills. 2. Train yourself to understand different accents (in both your working languages). 3. Buy sound-enhancing equipment for yourself, so you can hear better. 4. Understand the law, case law, and court processes so you can make a good educated guess at something you aren’t sure if you heard or not. (For example, memorizing possible sentences associated with certain crimes.) 5. Learn to talk faster. I suggest tongue twisters and shadowing the news. 6. Work on the Stare of Death you can give the chatterbox who’s standing behind you (not a party to the case). 7. Practice gestures and body language that will help you control the flow of witness testimony so you don’t forget long segments … 8. … but also strengthen your short-term memory and note-taking skills so you can remember longer segments.

This article by Kathleen Shelly was first published on April 13, 2012. It remains relevant today. Please enjoy and send your comments to tno_editor@najit.org or post it to our Facebook page. No matter how high-minded we are, or pretend to be, I think all of us...

The balance between detachment and involvement is a very difficult one. So is the balance between lexical accuracy and pragmatic accuracy. By Janis Palma   I recently heard a fellow interpreter on the witness stand for the first time. Of course, I was curious, and as I...

-    By Ana Garza G'z © 2016 Ana Garza G'z has been working as a community interpreter and translator in Central California for the past fifteen years. She became court certified a couple of years ago, and like many other freelance language professionals, she divides her...

This is the third installment of our new feature What Would YOU Have Done? in which we bring real situations for our readers to comment on. The idea is for us to help each other overcome or prepare for unexpected situations. Drop us a line. And...