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I don’t always know how to relate to Quentin Tarantino’s movies.
As i consider myself quite sensitive, it’s a little difficult for me to deal with the violence and rivers of blood. On the other hand, I sometimes find flashes of brilliance in the screenplay of these movies that cause me to reflect.
A few days ago we watched Tarantino’s movie “Inglorious Bastards”.
This movie tells the story of a unit of Jewish American soldiers during World War II that specialized in eliminating Nazis.
Suddenly, out of the blue, came a scene that seemed to have been been written as an instruction guide for interpreters, or as a post for my blog.
A Gestapo officer exposed a British Intelligence agent disguised as a German officer, simply because the latter did not order 3 glasses of whisky in the proper German manner.
This trivial nuance cost him his life, and in the Tarantino way, the lives of everyone in the room.
The British agent, and probably those who had dispatched him on his mission, had not taken into consideration a very important factor:
It’s not enough to be completely fluent in a language.
Even if you’ve spent years studying every aspect of the language, you’ve polished up your accent and can hold entire conversations with your companion about Nietzsche, Confucius or Leo Messi without blinking or getting confused, there are still the small things — nuances, body language, commonly accepted gestures — that only someone born and bred in the place where the language is spoken would know and would use properly.
At Lichi Translations we don’t employ spies or hit squads and tiny errors such as what we saw in the clip above will not cost the interpreters their lives, however it is very important to us that the people working for us in translations speak the relevant language at mother tongue level and that they are familiar with all its nuances.
Part of their professionalism is also to know that a gesture meaning “just a minute, be patient” in Israel, for instance, should not be translated as a vulgar word in Italy, or they must be aware that raising the wrong finger could cause the cancellation of a billion dollar deal.
You really don’t have to hire an interpreter from Lichi Translations every time you feel like ordering three glasses of whisky, but don’t forget that language is not only the words, and this is what we expect our interpreters to know.
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