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Dear Madam/Sir,

We have had a good start to the year despite a lot of bad publicity for interpreters during major events: Tata Madiba's (Nelson Mandela) memorial service and the court case of Oscar Pistorius. This newsletter focuses on some lessons to be learnt about these high profile cases.

But first a quick reminder of our services:

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How to choose an interpreter

In the small world of language interpreting we differentiate between these disciplines but there are also some common points:

  • Not each and every bilingual person is an interpreter:
    It is not enough to be able to speak two languages – more or less fluently. The subject matter/content needs to be adequately comprehended by the interpreter. The Department of Justice's requirement for entry-level court interpreters is merely a matriculation certificate. This is clearly inadequate as a matriculant with only 18 years of life experience and 12 years of schooling cannot be expected to competently understand and convey a message in a court room or conference situation.
  • Preparation time is important for interpreters.
    Who would like to be thrown into a situation where professionalism is required without knowing the subject matter? Being properly briefed in advance allows the interpreter to be adequately prepared, including becoming acquainted with any subject-specific terminology.
  • In their shoes…
    After a recent Bertha Foundation conference, the delegates suggested that they would have liked for the English speaking delegates to get the feeling of wearing headphones and having the session's message conveyed by a third person – the interpreter. This interesting suggestion was not a criticism on the quality of the interpreters but rather an opportunity to illustrate the pressure of being a delegate at a conference in a foreign language.
  • Advice when selecting an interpreter:
    Always make sure that the interpreters are experienced (request their CVs and have a look at their academic, professional and life experiences), that they are managed well by an agency or chief interpreter, that they are provided with background information, speeches, detailed agendas, etc. Remember that experience, professionalism and knowledge of a subject matter come with a price.
Industry News

Good news for the industry is that a new law has been passed for the establishment of a South African Council for Language Practitioners. This council will set criteria for the appropriate training and regulation for interpreters and translators. Unfortunately this will take time to filter through and benefit the industry. We can only hope that the rest of the continent follows South Africa's example in this regard.

Social Responsibilty

Every year Bohle CLS supports some of the many needy and excellent social initiatives in our country. We were pleased to recently make financial contributions to:


Bulungula Incubator
The Bulungula Incubator, which creates employment opportunities and uplifts the quality of education in the Eastern Cape:www.bulungulaincubator.org

Nazareth House
Closer to home we supported Nazareth House with a considerable donation for their work with HIV+ children in their children's homes in Cape Town:www.nazhouse.org.za

Bohle CLS continues to support the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) by giving reduced rates on their translation work: www.tac.org.za

Corporate Social Investment

Please share this information with your colleagues and let us know if we can assist with your interpreting, translation, proofreading, editing or conference equipment hiring needs. Click here for a free quote!.

Yours sincerely

B Bohle

Barbara Bohle


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