Monthly Archives: May 2019

Will God Bless you when you sneeze? It depends in what Country you are sneezing

By | Culture | No Comments

sick snow white GIF by Disney

Before we discuss international treatment of “God bless you,” let’s discuss the origins of these three words. It seems that sneezing goes hand-in-hand with an old superstition that said sneezing happens when your body is trying to get rid of evil spirits. Saying, “God bless you,” is, in essence, the same as wishing a person good luck from those evil spirits.

Another superstition is that the evil spirits hurry into your body when you sneeze. Yet another popular superstition around the words, God bless you, has to do with Pope Gregory, the Great, who ruled during the black plague. He started saying God bless you to those that sneezed, since sneezing was a sign that they had the terminal disease. Most countries use similar words as God bless you. Some countries refer to good health. In some countries they don’t address the God bless you form, nor do they wish you good health.

In France, first sneeze gets you, “à tes souhaits,” which translates into “to your wishes.” The second sneeze gets you, “à tes amours,” which means “to your loves.” A third sneeze will get you, “qu’elles durent toujours,” which means, “that they last forever.”

In Korea, no one says anything after a sneeze. I guess no evil spirits in Korea.

In Portuguese two different versions are used: “santinho,” or “little saint,” and “Deus te,” which means, “May God smother you.” The Dutch, after a third sneeze, go on to say, “The weather will be nice tomorrow.” I guess they’re moving away from using satellite weather maps.

No matter what country you’re in, and what you’re told after, we can all agree a sense of relief is had after every sneeze.

How Emotions and Silence can get you in or out of Jail

By | Translation | No Comments

Emotions and silence can get you in or out of jail or in trouble, depending on your Interpreter.

In court criminal proceedings, you have probably seen a witness speak for 30 seconds while the interpreter takes 10 seconds to translate what has been uttered by the witness.

The interpreter role is not only to interpret the words, but to create the same tone and emotion of the witness.

well let me translate that if i can hillary clinton GIF by Election 2016

Imagine in a criminal rape case if the witness is asked “have you ever raped anyone?”.

Scenario A: The witness quickly answers NO.

disagree no way GIF by VH1

Scenario B: The witness is silent for three seconds… thinks about it… utters a murmur and then answers NO.

not for me no GIF by Originals

These two answers say a lot about the state of mind of the witness and they should be “mimicked” as part of the interpretation. It is the role of the interpreter to step in the shoes of the witness and sound like him.

In scenario B, all utterances, and even “hums” need to be interpreted. Sometimes, the emotions of the witness will play an important role in the interpreters’ choice of words.

In 2007, Spain’s Prime Minister Zapatero was trying to speak. Hugo Chavez, ex-President of Venezuela, kept on interrupting him. The king of Spain, Juan Carlos, then asked Hugo “¿Porque no se calla?”. By his tone, you could see he was just asking him to be quiet. The interpreter for the US media interpreted it as “Shut up”. This is obviously a different message, one that did not allow for context and interpretation of the emotions.

Often times, emotions take on more meaning than words, especially when it comes to communication in high context cultures.

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