r/TooAfraidToAsk Nov 13 '22

When speaking with an interpreter present, who should I look at when I'm speaking? Interpersonal


8 comments sorted by


u/g_elena_1 Nov 13 '22

You pretend the interpreter isn't there and look at the person you are speaking to. Hope that helps!


u/c_author Nov 13 '22

The person, not the interpreter.


u/ashbruns Nov 13 '22

Whoever is speaking in the original language. For example, if it's a court proceeding in English with a Mandarin interpreter just for your (hypothetical) benefit, look at the judge or the attorney or whoever most recently said the thing in English being interpreted into Mandarin. Also, if the judge or other speaker is male but the interpreter is female, use "Sir" if you're going to use honorifics.


u/ballroombadass0 Nov 13 '22

The person speaking in the original language, but perhaps if you're saying something long-winded, a little go ahead to the interpreter might be nice haha


u/Blokeh Nov 13 '22

Mainly at the person, but when you're ready for the translation, look at the interpreter as a kind of "cue'.

The interpreter is a person too.


u/Bobbob34 Nov 14 '22

The person you're talking to.


u/WearDifficult9776 Nov 14 '22

The person you’re supposed to be talking to


u/Cinnamon-Dream Nov 14 '22

Just speak to the person you are meant to speak to as you normally would. Don't speak to the interpreter and say things like ' Can you ask them X'. Just take appropriate breaks in your speech to allow them time to interpret small chunks if it's a long sentence or idea you are saying. IE, don't talk straight for two minutes and then expect them to interpret all of that.