By Samantha Chaulklin, a member of the SkillCorps® Uganda July 2018 team
I’m a bilingual clinician. I am entirely comfortable switching between languages and adding extra time to meetings to account for translations. While presenting to our partners, we tend to use English. It’s easy as clinicians to slip into our clinical language filled with jargon and abbreviations. It’s not as easy to translate from jargon to everyday language. It’s harder still when you consider the delicate phrasing that is necessary when you have partners translating to their staff. Translations take quite a bit of finesse. There are not always direct translations for the message we are trying to convey. In order to really find a way to be successful in consulting, there’s a subtle mastery of human understanding that takes place. While not all body language is universal, there is much to be said by way of using gestures to add to conversation. By simply acting out what you are saying, you can bridge many of the gaps that come up in the translating process. It’s remarkable to see how people from entirely different cultures with a few very different languages manage not only to succeed in communicating, but also manage to find a way to teach the science of behavior analysis. I am truly blessed to be a part of this process and humbled by the humans I have been able to interact with.