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  • Lina Liu

Can we interpret emotions?


I was working at Optical Express a few days ago, I was interpreting from Mandarin to English, English to Mandarin. The Chinese lady who doesn't speak English very well, she is a patient of Optical Express, she was yelling at the doctor due to the failure of the laser eye surgery. She was very emotional due to the double vision caused by the surgery.

Do we interpreters have to shout when the client was shouting?

The answer is no. The English speaking doctors and nurses could clearly see the facial expressions and hear the loud voices of the Chinese client yelling in Mandarin, the body language is universal language.

An interpreter should always remain impartial. An interpreter's role is to translate/ interpret the exact content of the clients from one language to another. what I added was "the client is very angry" rather than increasing my voice while interpreting.

If I had to yell as much as the Chinese patient, I would be exhausted by the end of 2.5 hours appointment.

My job was interpreting from English to Mandarin, but not yelling.


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