Word Ways


John McClellan


The old-time interpreters were concerned with the meaning of dreams, as demonstrated by the biblical story of Joseph at Pharaoh's court, or the interpretation of the flights of birds preceding an important battle. Nowadays it is questionable whether 'interpreter' is the proper word for the intermediary between two persons speaking different tongues. Certainly, a VIP experiencing linguistic difficulties wants, primarily, a translator -- he prefers to interpret the verbal exchange himself. If this term is unsatisfactory, 'word-man' is equally so. There would be an immediate outcry from the distaff side, pointing out the great number of female interpreters, and that the correct term should be 'word-person'. So we bow to common usage and shall use 'interpreter' and 'interpretation' in their accepted way.