At the BGCenter we often see the same: the original documents
from the country of adoption are not complete, not translated or poorly
translated. In some cases it is not critical for a parent to find out
that there was something missing in a document translation that is clearly
a new detail in their child's early medical/developmental history: they
fall in love with the kid and decide on adoption regardless of the details.
But there are cases (and they unfortunately are not so
rare), when a new information discovered in the original records of
a child brought to the Center for an initial screening on arrival can
lead to shocking experience. One of the cases that stands out in memory,
is a five year old girl, adopted from Russia by a single parent from
a large Metropolitan area.
The child stepped into the room with her mom in tow. She
was tall and well nourished for her age and background, well groomed
and appropriately polite, quietly listening for the conversation among
adults without interruptions and demands for attention. But even at
the very first look there was something unusual about her: she did not
really move away from the same spot in the middle of the room while
we talked to the mother and did not attempt to play with the toys around
her despite of the invitations.
The screening appointment began as usual - with Dr. Gindis'
interview with the parent and looking through the documentation brought
by the mother. The translated documents appeared pretty normal, prompting
no major questions or concerns. The mother was very exited (just several
days after the completion of adoption process - who would not?!). She
brought the child for screening to decide on the proper school placement
and was thinking about a private school, music lessons and a lot more
she envisioned for her daughter. The next step - testing of the child.
According to mom, the girl was a great talker and a really sweet kid
with a great promise. What was she talking about? When tested in her
native Russian, she kept talking indeed, speaking out total gibberish
in response to the majority of the questions, not being able to even
repeat a complete short sentence, not being able to manipulate simple
objects correctly, and not being able to understand even a very simple
for her age level command. How could it be that there was no notation
about her low developmental level in her documentation? The look at
the original Russian copy of the documents from the orphanage explained
it all: the child was mentally retarded, and this notation in her medical
history was missing from the translation.
Foreign Language Document Translations Hinder Adoption Fraud
Foreign language document translation plays an important
role in international adoptions.
We can't repeat
Collect all information you possibly can,
double-check and cross-reference it;
do not take the translation for a face value - even innocent mistakes
of a translator who is not particularly familiar with medical terminology
Read more about documentation you need to
collect about the child in the International
Adoption Articles Directory and on the BGCenter
Online School site, section Presentation