Simultaneous Interpreting Practice #5 – Bonsai Theft (Mandarin into English)


An English-speaking police officer is visiting the home of a Mandarin-speaking woman. You have been called to interpret for them. The officer has asked the woman to describe her experience with the police who recently investigated the theft of a bonsai in her garden. You will be interpreting for the Mandarin-speaking woman in real time.

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Simultaneous Interpreting Practice #5 – Bonsai Theft (Mandarin into English)

Transcript and reference translation

事情是这样子的,昨天晚上我的盆景园呢,经历了一场盗窃事件,因为小偷潜入了我的园子偷了我两颗黑松,然后今天呢,去做了笔录,也跟警方那边沟通了一下,然后警方说周围小偷呢也是承认错误很诚恳,态度很好,那我也是看到说周围大叔,他是拉那种瓜果水果出来,到各个地方去卖,日子过着也很艰巨很辛苦。So what happened was, last night my bonsai garden was stolen. The thief had snuck into my garden and stolen two black pines. Today I made a written statement and talked with the police. The police said that the thief had confessed to it and had a good and sincere attitude. I realized that he was a middle-aged man who sold fruit at many different places nearby, which is quite a tough job.

我说,不然的话,就从轻发落,给他放了吧。警察说,只要是盗窃事件一定是要拘留的,我说那拘留时间尽量给他将短一点,我也是帮他求情了。然后警方说,好吧,那就给他拘留最少要三天,不然的话,这种盗窃事件一般是5天半个月,甚至半年。 So I suggested to the police that they let him off with a light punishment and release him. The police said that theft offences must incur jail time. So I tried to plead his case by urging the place to give him the shortest jail time possible. The police agreed, and said they they would detain him for a minimum of three days. Otherwise, a theft case would attract a sentence of at least five days, or half a month, or even half a year.

警方还说,要看那个案情的轻重跟他的态度问题。很诚恳得道歉,态度也特别地好,而且警方查实呢,他也是第一次犯法那个,从来没偷过东西,他说是很对不起,老板那个,我真的是看你那个盆景太漂亮了,我没有控制住自己,然后就那个翻墙进去,拿了两盆,真的很对不起,我说,知错能改就可以,一定不能再做犯法的事情,这样子你也害了你自己,毕竟你这种有案底的话,以后做任何事情影响特别地特别地大。 The police also said that they would consider the severity of the case and the attitude of the offender. The offender had apologized sincerely and had a great attitude. And the police said that they had checked that this was his first offence, that he had never stolen anything before. The offender was very apologetic. He said he pinched my bonzai because he thought they were very beautiful and couldn’t control himself. He was very sorry for entering the garden by scaling the wall and taking two of them. I said it would be fine as long as he could admit his wrongdoing and promise never to break the law again. After all, breaking the law not only hurts yourself but also could give you a criminal record which would make doing anything later on in life very, very difficult.

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