Thursday, February 1, 2007

February 1, 2007

We are almost through the first week! Our students are giving reports tomorrow so it will be an easier day for us and harder for them. Students are the same everywhere in a lot of ways. Today they wanted to talk and talk about what they were to do, how to do, how long it should be, what if they didn't have enought inofrmation, etc. Of course we had talked about all of that on Monday but as time gets near they get nervous!

Several things have happened in class that have been interesting. Since most of them can read some English they begin to get the idea of a power point before the interpreter tells them. Today one of the words was "widows" and before we got to it they wanted to know what "windows" had to do with what we were talking about.

Eye contact is very different. Who do you look at? The interpreter or the person that is speaking. When a person is speaking they are looking at the interpreter but when what they said is being interpreted do they look at the person they were speaking to or the interpreter. Many times you just don't get any eye contact the with person and miss out on all the facial expresions.

Working through an interpreter does give you time to think about what comes next. So while they are repeating what you said and students are asking them questions you can gather your thoughts for the next idea. Of course starting and stopping in the middle of an idea is not so easy. Sometimes we forget where we were going with a thought! That can't be "old age", can it?

We have become aware of how many sayings or expressions we have that don't translate. Some we encountered today were: "keep an eye on," holding out on me," "pit fall,"be ing ripped off." It seems best to use very straightforward, familiar words. And jokes and teasing just don't translate!

During our discussion of the poor today one student said "Most Moldovans would love to live as "poor" people in the US live." They really believe that all Americans are rich and even those we call poor are not poor at al. Everyone has a house to live in and enought to eat. We told them that there are homeless people in the US and childen who go to bed hungry every night. I am not usre they believed us.

We were talking about the history of social welfare today and were reminded that history is recorded differently according to who is reporting it. Also that people in different countries learning different history. They know very little about the history that we think everyone knows, that of western civilization. Irena, one of the daughters in the family we stay with, studied at a college in the US for a year. She said she was amazed what she learned about Russian history while she was there. She said it was not anthing like the Russian history she had learned in her schooling here.

We have heard a bell ring at the end of each class. Today we realized that there is a person whose job is to go to each classroom and ring a hand bell. She just walks through the hall ringing the bell at the end of each hour.

Today it was very cloudy when we got up and warmer than it has been. Later this morning I looked out the window in the classroom and there were snow showers. This afternoon the sun came out and on the way home it began to rain. Sounds like changes in Texas weather, doesn't it?

Glad the Lady Bears pulled out a win last night! Sounds like it could have easily gone the other way! I tried to look up the score on the Trib webpage this morning before we left for class and it wasn't there. Then I realized it was only midnight there and yesterday's paper was what I was reading. It is nice to be able to go to that web page and read Waco news. The family here have no TV, don't listen to the radio, and don't get a newspaper. Of course we wouldn't be able to understand them if they did but at least they could tell us if anything was gong on in the world that we would want to know about.

Again, thanks for all your messages! We love having e-mails from you! Keeping them coming!

1 comment:

Julia Howard said...

I have been serving as an interpreter in many situations and still find it very difficult to use one when i work with my clients. That said, i think you guys are doing an incredible job!!! It's hard enough using an interpreter in a regular dialogue. Using one in a classroom setting is a whole different ball game. I think a while ago, i identified "use of interpreter" as an addition to the list of Shulman skills:). I think what helps me in making sure that i get the full attention of the audience (when i use an interpreter) is to make sure that i never (or rarely) make eye contact with the interpreter-just ignore them:) This helps to set the precedent for the audience (i.e. They will hopefully know that i expects them to look at me when they are talking). Anyhow, good luck!