A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Man
I’ve been fortune in my life in many ways. One is not just the extent to which I’ve travelled but the amazing places I’ve been to. As a youngster my parents took us on various adventures including just packing up the car and driving through the UK and then Europe until we ran out of time and had to come home. As an adult I’ve trecked up (and down) mountains in Borneo, coped with violence in Honduras (where our hotel doorman carried a machine gun!) and even managed to find a decent restaurant in New York.
What has been the same the world over is the extent to which we can make ourselves understood with basic sign language. In a suburb in China we ordered an entire meal by a series of gestures in a restaurant that was so unused to western travellers that they didn’t understand the word Beer! We found out the following day that what we thought was chicken, was actually duck tongue! Which just goes to show that no matter how good your hand gestures are (!) you don’t always know exactly what you’re going to get.
Which makes me wonder whether when people stumble in to my world, do they sometimes feel equally lost at our strange customs such as people in weird clothing like wigs and gowns. Is our language hard to understand, with heretofore and thereafter, not to mention inter alia and understanding the difference between filing and serving, and why you sometimes brief counsel and at other times instruct them. And why do we call barristers “Counsel” in the first place. And what do you call the Judge – well that depends on who the judge is and what court he’s sitting in – and also whether it’s a female judge (we’re a sufficiently advanced nation that we have a few of those!)
Whilst the translation guides you can get on line can be very useful, some of them aren’t strictly speaking accurate and you can find yourself in hot water with the natives if you get it wrong. As a seasoned traveller myself, there is really no substitute to speaking to one of the locals if you want the genuine experience.
I’m currently running a guided series for all those new to the law. The starting price is a gin and tonic and places can be booked at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Your professional guide to trekking through the legal world.