Metaglossia: The Translation World
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Metaglossia: The Translation World
News about translation, interpreting, intercultural communication, terminology and lexicography - as it happens
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the AIIC Blog-When languages and etiquette collide

Both interpreters and service industry workers are accustomed to being flexible and adapting their language use to the situation. A perfect match? Not always.

“Français, Nederlands, English, Deutsch?” A security guard at Brussels airport needs to frisk a passenger and is inquiring as to her language preference. The passenger stares back blankly, leading the security guard to the conclusion (admittedly improbable, given that we are in Brussels) that she speaks none of the above, whereupon he proceeds to his back-up plan of communicating through gestures.
In actual fact, the passenger is an interpreter who speaks all of those languages, and her hesitation is due to the fact that she is trying to place the security guard’s accent so that she can respond in the language most convenient for him.

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