Using A Translator For Foreign-Speaking Witnesses Doesn't Mean The Witness Is Deaf!

Huh?  Okay, I’ll explain.

I have a client, whom I love, whom shall remain nameless, who elevates his voice to 90 decibels whenever he’s taking a deposition using a translator.

Here is an example of decibel levels so you get the picture:

Example of decibels
75 Constant sound Busy restaurant around lunchtime
80 Unpleasant Alarm clock, freight traffic, doorbell
85 Loud Sawing, mixer
90 Extremely unpleasant Truck close by, screaming, yelling, shouting

Personally, I think most restaurants are too loud, so that may give you an indication of my sensitivity to noise.  But I found a helpful website that might shed light on my point.

From the website

The ear has the remarkable ability to handle an enormous range of sound levels. In order to express levels of sound meaningfully in numbers that are more manageable, a logarithmic scale is used, rather than a linear one. This scale is the decibel scale.

What is a decibel? Zero decibels (0 dB) is the quietest sound audible to a healthy human ear. From there, every increase of 3 dB represents a doubling of sound intensity, or acoustic power.

Translation (no pun intended and not worth shouting about):  An increase from restaurant-level noise, say the 75 db suggested above to 90 db (defined as “shouting”) is five times the decibel level that already stresses my eardrums.

Reporters are trained listeners.  We hear you.  We hear pretty much everything going on around us.  That is not to suggest that everyone can now start whispering, because, I think it’s safe to say, my peers wouldn’t appreciate that!  But, for the love of Pete, using a translator for a foreign-speaking witness does not require the questioning attorney to amplify his voice five times the legal limit!

So please — and I say this with all due respect — stop shouting and continue to speak clearly and audibly, because your witness is NOT deaf, he just speaks a different language!

Now, I will return to editing my translator deposition…with the audio off!

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