Case 5: Access to community services
Siediti, mi hanno detto. Mi sono seduto. Quello è il tuo interprete, hanno detto, indicando un ragazzo vicino alla porta. Ho detto che avrei preferito fare senza. Grazie. Parli bene l’italiano, quindi, hanno detto. Ho risposto che sì, lo parlavo abbastanza bene. Ma non era solo quello. Se parli direttamente con le persone trasmetti un’emozione più intensa, anche se le parole sono incerte e la cadenza è diversa; in ogni caso, il messaggio che arriva assomiglia di più a quello che hai in testa, rispetto a quello che potrebbe dire un interprete – o no? – perché dalla bocca dell’interprete non escono emozioni, escono parole. E le parole sono solo un guscio. (pp. 150-51)
Emotions, as we already saw in the first week, can enter the space of translation, just as do the voices and the bodies of the people who translate or who are translated. And just as the medical students in the previous example took control of the class through peer translation, so here the migrant takes centre stage through self-translation.Sit down, they said. I sat down. This is your interpreter, they said, indicating a boy, next to the door. I said I preferred to do without. Thank you. So you speak Italian well, they said. I replied that yes, I spoke it quite well. But that wasn’t the only reason I didn’t want an interpreter. If you speak directly to people you convey emotions more intensely. Even if you stumble over your words and don’t get the intonation right, the message you get across is closer to what you have in your head, compared with what an interpreter could repeat – don’t you think so? – because emotions can’t come from the mouth of an interpreter, only words, and words are just a shell. (pp. 206-07)
Working with Translation: Theory and Practice
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