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Language is a funny thing.  Certain words or phrases have no direct translation to other languages.  The ever-growing library of slang can be next to impossible to convey from one language to another.  Homonyms and common words used as names in other contexts, for example, can present problems if you are in a foreign country and trying to articulate yourself.  When taking depositions abroad, having a qualified interpreter is a must to avoid misunderstandings and to keep from repeating and re-interpreting questions (as well as the witness’ answers).  The right interpreter saves precious time and money in your depositions.  You don’t want anything to be lost in translation.

There is the famous example of Clark Gable ordering a drink at the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, circa 1954.  The King of Hollywood was in the country filming Soldier of Fortune, and walked into the hotel’s lobby bar to unwind.  The bar was deserted except for the busboy Johnny.  Gable ordered a screwdriver, a simple drink popular in America.  Johnny was confused, never having heard of the cocktail, and finally presented the film star with a toolbox, much to Gable’s amusement.  Although Johnny understood and spoke English, he didn’t understand what the movie star was ordering.  Gable then taught Johnny how to make the drink, and introduced Hong Kong to the screwdriver.

Clark Gable giving mixology training to a young boy in Hong Kong makes for an amusing anecdote.  Certainly, a funny mistranslate during your deposition can ease some tension and make for your own amusing story.  But you want an accurate record of your deposition.  This requires accurate interpretation of what is said and intended in the deposition, so both sides understand each other and can respond accordingly.  It isn’t enough to have a translator who speaks both the witness’ language and the attorneys’ language.  A proper interpreter knows and understands the nuances of each language, and specializes in a relevant field or fields (e.g., technology or tax codes), making him/her perfect for depositions involving related topics.

Working with a court reporting firm which has built a vast network of deposition-experienced interpreters in your deposition’s locale saves time and trouble.   The interpreters have already been vetted, and you receive resumes for only the best-qualified contenders to make your selection.  Need an interpreter with experience in highly technical patent cases?  Taking depositions involving pharmaceutical companies and need an interpreter well-versed in pharmaceutical terminology?  Planet Depos can have resumes to you for top-rated interpreters with the experience you require to ensure a smooth deposition.  Planet Depos works with the finest interpreters all over the world and will have the candidate best suited to your needs.

For more information on interpreters for your depositions overseas or even here in the U.S., or to reserve an interpreter for an upcoming deposition, please contact Planet Depos – American Realtime at 888.433.3767, or

Author Profile
Suzanne Quinson
Case Manager at

Suzanne Quinson is a Case Manager with Planet Depos. She lives in Frederick, MD, with her jaunty Jack Russell Bocephus, spending much of her free time touring the area in his company.  She loves her hometown Philly, Penn State, P.G. Wodehouse, history, baking and eating, among other things.

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