Mandarin-English Dialogue #30 – Neighbourhood Dispute


You have been called to interpret for Mrs Lai, a Mandarin-speaking woman, who has come into the office of Mr Wilkinson, a mediator. Mrs Lai is currently involved in a dispute with her neighbour and is seeking to resolve it by means of mediation.


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Mandarin-English Dialogue #30 – Neighbourhood Dispute



Transcript and reference translation

Wilkinson: Good afternoon Mrs Lai. My name is Timothy Wilkinson and I’ll be looking after your case. Please take a seat and we can get started. (下午好,赖太太。我叫蒂莫西.威尔金森,将由我来负责您的案子。请坐,我们开始吧。)

Lai: 威尔金森先生,谢谢你来见我。我1980年那个时候从中国来到墨尔本做钳工。我在同一条街住了30年了,从来没有跟我的邻居发生过任何问题。这真是一个很头痛的问题。[Thank you for seeing me Mr Wilkinson. I moved to Melbourne from China in 1980 to work as a fitter. I’ve lived on the same street for 30 years and not once have I had a problem with my neighbours. This whole situation has been such a headache.]

Wilkinson: Yes, I’ve read through your file. You said your neighbour, Boris Suvorov, used a chainsaw to cut down the eucalyptus tree on the boundary between your house and your neighbour’s house, but he didn’t get your permission first. Is that correct? (是的,我读了您的文件了。据您所说,您的邻居,伯里斯.苏沃洛夫,在没有获得您的同意的情况下,用电锯砍倒了您的房子和他的房子之间的树,是这样吗?)

Lai: 还远远不止这些,我20年前种下了那棵树,庆祝我获得澳大利亚公民的身份。上周四,他连一个电话都不打就把给树砍倒了。他也没有清理所有的树枝和树干,弄得满地都是。然后他把根也拔了出来,结果把下水管道给损坏了[It’s much worse than that. I planted it there 20 years ago to celebrate my Australian citizenship, and he just cut it down last Thursday without so much as a phone call. And he didn’t clean up all the twigs and branches either – he just left them all over the ground. Then he pulled the roots out as well, causing damage to the sewerage pipes.]


他是一个残酷的,没心没肺的人。他一搬到附近我就知道他不是一个好东西。我曾经试过跟他谈,但是他有很重的俄罗斯口音,我的英文也不是很好所以没法跟他进行协商。[He’s a cruel, heartless man. I knew he was bad news the minute he moved into the neighbourhood. I tried talking to him but he has a thick Russian accent and my English is not good enough to negotiate with him.]

Wilkinson: I see. So do you have any idea why would do such a thing? (我知道了。您知道他为什么会这么做吗?)

Lai: 他跟我说他想在我们的房子之间修个栅栏。他是按摩师,在家工作。他说我们的孩子在院子里玩的时候太吵了,会影响他的生意。我可以理解这一点,可是他做的事情真的…… 他太过分了。[He told me he wants to build a fence between our properties. He’s a masseur and works from home. He says our children are too noisy when they play in the yard and that it disrupts his business. I understand that, but what he did… he went too far.]

Wilkinson: And, tell me, what kind of solution are hoping to get out of this? (请问您想通过怎样的方法来解决这个问题?)

Lai: 我希望他能付钱请人来修理下水管道,而且如果他真的很想修栏杆的话,我希望他在修之前和我商量。我们家不想让他建一个太高的栏杆,那样太碍眼了。[I’d like him to pay for someone to fix the sewerage pipes and, if he really wants to go ahead with the fence, I want him to talk to me first before he puts it up. Our family don’t want him to construct a fence that’s too high. It’d be an eyesore.]

Wilkinson: OK, OK. Well, let me tell you a bit about the mediation process, all right? We can set up a meeting between the two of you, along with a mediator who is trained and nationally accredited to help parties discuss their issues. (好的,好的。我先向您介绍一下调停程序,好吗?我们可以为你们双方安排一次会面,同时会有受过训练得到国家认可的调解人在场,来帮助你们讨论你们的问题。)


Now, mediators are required by law to keep all discussions confidential. They remain neutral and do not take sides either. The mediators will give both of you a chance to be heard and guide you through a discussion about the issues you’re facing. (根据法律要求,调解人对谈话内容会保密。他们会保持中立,不偏袒任何一方。你们双方都会有发言的机会,同时他还会引导你们进行这次谈话,解决问题。)


In the last stage of the mediation, the mediator will help you two explore a variety of options to resolve your dispute and then help you write down the details of any agreement you may reach. Does all of that make sense? (在调解的最后阶段,调停人会帮助你们双方找出各种解决方案,并帮助你们记录下双方达成的共识的细节。)

Lai: 我担心伯瑞斯可能不会参加我们的调解会议。有什么办法可以确保他参加呢?[I’m worried that Boris may not attend our mediation session. Is there a way to make sure he comes?]

Wilkinson: Mediation is a voluntary process and no one can be forced to attend I’m afraid. But we’ll try our best to negotiate with him for you to convince him of why it would be in his best interests to attend. (调解是自愿参加的,无法强迫别人参加。但是我们会竭尽全力和他协商,说服他来参加是对他最有利的。)

2 Comments to "Mandarin-English Dialogue #30 – Neighbourhood Dispute"

  1. Jason's Gravatar Jason
    26/03/2014 - 6:22 am | Permalink

    eucalyptus = 桉树。

  2. Sherry's Gravatar Sherry
    21/02/2019 - 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Wilkinson: And, tell me, what kind of solution are hoping to get out of this? (请问您想通过怎样的方法来解决这个问题?) I think the Chinese translation is not entirely accurate – it should be 你想从(这次调解中)得到什么样的解决办法呢?
    The focus is on “what kind of solution”, not “through what kind of way to solve”

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