Interpreting from one language to another can seem like atask, only by professionals with years of training and language skills. That's not always so.
The reality is that anyone can act as an interpreter — even you! — if the situationit. basic language skills, a to help and the courage to make a difference.
My first experience as an interpreter took place many years ago in Kobe, where I was learning Japanese. I was taking a walk one day when Ia group of American tourists talking to some local Japanese residents. They seemed to be having problems communicating. I to see what was happening.
"We want to try a Japanese bath," said the Americans. "Where can we find a bath?" The Japanese had no idea what they were talking about. The only English word theywas "bath." Unfortunately, they misunderstood and thought the Americans wanted a bus.
Things went from bad to worse. The Americans began shouting "Bath! Bath!" andtake their clothes off to their meaning. , the Japanese by this strange behavior. In reply, they shouted "Bus! Bus!" and pointed to a nearby bus stop.
The problem was clear. The Americans wanted to go to a sento, a public bath, but didn't understand Japanese. The Japanese wanted to help but couldn't understand English. Both groups were trying to communicate but couldn't connect. The frustration on both sides.
It was obvious that they needed a translator to solve their problem. I looked aroundbut there was no professional interpreter . What to do?
Slowly, it. Maybe I could translate... The idea seemed . I was only a beginner who spoke basic Japanese. Everybody knows that translators are professionals with official and high-level skills.
Yet the need was clear and the timing was. I stepped forward, the two groups and got to work. "You want to visit a Japanese bath, right?" I the Americans. They in agreement. I conveyed this to the Kobe residents in basic Japanese. "So that's what they wanted," they replied. "We thought they wanted a bus!"
In two short minutes, the problem was solved. Soon, the Americanshappily a nearby sento guided by their helpful Japanese hosts.
Professional interpreters play anrole on the world stage. But the world also needs who can use foreign languages to promote communication in daily life. You don't have to be an expert to become a of understanding between people. If you see a need, don't be shy. and start translating!
The Japan Times ST: December 29, 2017