<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5257384&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;"> A Mile in Their Shoes

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A Mile in Their Shoes

Posted by Patti Geye on August 26, 2016

Language creates understanding. LanguageLine.When deciding which Netflix movie to watch, or fall asleep to in front of the TV, I chose one that seemed fairly entertaining. I settled into my recliner and the movie began. Much to my surprise, it was in Italian with English subtitles. Not speaking Italian, I depend on reading the dialog. I’m pretty good with reading the captions and watching, so ok. About ten minutes in I wasn’t all that impressed. It seemed like they were saying a lot more, with much emotion, but the subtitles were short and fairly impassive. It was an Italian movie, so it was full of feeling. But I just wasn’t “feeling” it.

What was I missing?

The main male character was waving his arms and shouting at his wife. His diatribe appeared to go on and on, but the subtitle simply said, “I want dinner, Mia!” What did he really say? What information would help me understand his true feelings? Did he want dinner now, later, a full meal, or just anything to eat? Why was he so excited? I won’t ever know. I never could get into the movie. I did what I so often do, fell asleep. 

 Understanding Without Speaking the Language

It made me wonder about those that are trying to communicate in another language with a doctor, lawyer, or anyone. Even though they may have a lot of information to share, how do they convey their meaning to the listener? For a moment, I knew what it must feel like to “walk a mile in their shoes”. Interpreting or translating the conversation should transfer the full meaning, not just a piece of it. Can you imagine subtitles in a doctor’s office? The patient would explain, gesture, and the subtitle would only read, “It hurts here.” Not nearly enough explanation for a diagnosis or treatment.

How can that conversation, especially in critical situations, be thorough? Wouldn't there by confusion and misunderstanding? Accessing a trained interpreter through a qualified language access company ensures that conversation is completely relayed meaning-for-meaning. All of the spoken words are shared, not just the condensed version. This means that doctors and patients can depend on accurate facts to evaluate the problem and provide the appropriate care. Any situation where there is a language barrier may need more than just a few words to convey the actual message. In the courtroom, on a 911 call, when signing contracts, or in the emergency room, can you imagine not being able to explain your circumstances in detail? “Judge, I didn’t do it,” may not be enough to stop that gavel from slamming down.

I understand why movie subtitles have to be short and sweet; no way could you read everything fast enough and also watch the characters. But in real life, thank goodness there are professional interpreters who can share all the words, meaning-for-meaning. A simple call to have a three-way conversation, on site, over the phone, or by video, may make all the difference in the world. Lives depend on it.

Professional interpreting effectively bridges language barriers. We can help. See how easy it is to use InSightSM video interpreting.

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