a. Prepare, in advance, the questions that you intend to ask. The questions
should be clear, brief, and of the type that will get brief, factual answers.
b. The interpreter should stand or sit to the side and slightly ahead you so
that he can converse with both you and the subject by merely turning head.
should not be permitted to move about or do anything that will distract the
c. As the SA, you should address the subject directly. Look him in the eye
in order to hold his attention. The questions should be asked slowly and clearly
in concise, simple English.
If the subject and interpreter begin an extensive conversation or
argument, you should put an immediate stop to it.
d. The interpreter translates your questions into the language
subject. He should do this promptly in a clear, well-modulated voice.
e. The subject should answer your answers in his native language.
f. The interpreter should repeat the subject's answer in English, word for
word, without the use of such expressions as "he says" or "I believe he is lying."
If you want an explanation of an answer that concerns the use of or meaning of a
word, you should request it from the interpreter at a later time. If you need to
clear up a fact, you may do so by asking more questions.
g. Never tell the interpreter to ask the subject a question.
By the same
token, you should insist that he translate the answers directly and literally. In
other words, you should never say, "Ask him if he knows John Doe," or permit the
interpreter to reply, "He says he does." instead, the question should be put
directly to the subject in English, "Do you know John Doe?" and you receive the
answer through the interpreter, as though it were answered in English by the
subject, "Yes, I know him."
h. In some cases you may use a stenographer or a recorder. If he speaks both
languages, he should record all the statements made in both languages.
recorder is available, it should be used wherever possible.
This will be a
permanent record in both languages, and a means of cross-checking the translation.
i. The interpreter should make his translation of long statements at regular
and convenient pauses during the subject's utterances. The interruptions must come
at the end of complete thoughts. This procedure may be difficult if the subject is
allowed to give extensive narrative versions of his information.
questions that require long answers and those that may invite side issues should be