Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Real Spanish-Translation Confusion in the RBI

My last post was about translating “worry” and “change”: A bit of a nonissue, really. It turns out that wasn’t’ really the issue. The real issue was indeed a thorny one—the difference between “concerns” and “worry.” In Spanish, preocupación would typically be the word for both. You will see in a minute why the same word for both could be a problem.

When conducting the RBI with fidelity, the interviewer keeps track of concerns, usually by starring them (i.e., drawing a star or asterisk in the margin). We train interviewers to notice concerns, indicate them, and then refer to them during the recap. The recap is the quick reminder of the main points—or “concerns”—that came up during the interview. Therefore, the interviewer or note taker goes through the starred items (i.e., concerns) to help the family remember them when they decide on outcomes/goals. We don’t actually use the word “concerns” with families, which might be part of the answer to the question about translation. But first, let’s review when “worry” crops up in the RBI.

Immediately preceding the recap, in fact right after discussion of the last routine of the day, the interviewer asks the “worry and change” questions. The worry question is, “When you lie awake at night, what do you worry about?” You can see that, if the interviewer has just asked the parent what she worried about (¿Qué te preocupa?) and then the interviewer or note taker says he or she is going to review her preocupaciónes, the parent might well think, “I just told you what it was.” If the interviewers use the same word for worry and concern, it could be confusing for the parent.

The answer is don’t use preocupación to refer to the starred items. Even in English, as I mentioned earlier, it’s best not to use “concerns”: It sounds too heavy. In English, it’s better to say, “Now I’m going to go through the things that came up at each time of the day.” (Notice the avoidance of both “concerns” and “routines,” another potentially confusing word.) Therefore, in Spanish, it would be something like, “Ahora voy a enumerar las cosas que usted mencionó en cada momento del día.” 


jill said...

Great post.Just a quick note it is important that Spanish translation being accurate and efficient can indeed not be overstated. Especially in the ever faster moving world of globalized business, successful information and technology transfer within multinational businesses can make the difference between win or lose.

China tours said...

Thanks. I always enjoy reading your posts - they are always humorous and intelligent.I am a china tour lover,You can learn more: China tour operator | China tour packages | China city travel