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by Abigail Van Buren

Etiquette of Conversation Is Muddled by Translation

DEAR ABBY: I am a teacher who occasionally must conduct parent-teacher conferences through a translator. My colleague and I are wondering, what is the proper protocol for these conversations? We are not sure whether to make eye contact with the translator or the parent when talking and listening. Thank you for your help. -- AN INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

DEAR EDUCATOR: It is important to make eye contact with the person with whom you are communicating. When you are being given a translation, it's all right to make eye contact with the translator. However, when asking a question or directing a comment to the parent, you should look the parent in the eye.

Read more in: Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics