Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Ground & Other Ops Forums > Questions
Reload this Page >

interpreter in cockpits

Questions If you are a professional pilot or your work involves professional aviation please use this forum for questions. Enthusiasts, please use the 'Spectators Balcony' forum.

interpreter in cockpits

Old 14th Jan 2008, 11:37
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: munich/frg
Posts: 46
interpreter in cockpits

hi, i was told by a friend of mine who´s working at muc airport that there are still major airlines flying in and out germany with pilots whose english is so bad that they are accompanied by an interpreter/translator. actually he was talking about star alliance member air china.
can that be?
sf25 is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2008, 14:05
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: fort sheridan, il
Posts: 1,656
it happens at KSFO.
sevenstrokeroll is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2008, 14:17
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Blighty - On secondment
Posts: 329
Listen to this and you may understand why they may need someone with good English on board. It is always unfortunate to hear anyone lost at an airport but at least when we are all using the same language then at least others are more situationally aware and can raise their guard accordingly.
When I listened to this recording I recall thinking the controller could have been more helpful with his instructions. The Air China crewmember was obviously struggling but the controllers use of non standard terms would not have any impact on someone whose English was already weak.

Global Pilot is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2008, 14:24
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Shanghai, China
Posts: 32
I fly around China with a translator because my Chinese is so bad and their English is questionable! It all seems to work out.
VRSCSE2 is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2008, 15:50
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Castlegar
Posts: 251
1970s&80's Chi-Comm's were a BIG CUSTOMER !

Picture this: small B737-200 cockpit, full cockpit, only their translator knows a few key words of English (eg, Cleared for ..., takeoff, landing, maybe a few more words).

With the extra men in the cockpit, all equally regarded as equally part of the "people", we get a group-run cockpit. For T/O, they delegate one or two call-outs to the Translator (eg, on takeoff roll "WEE-WON!", later "Mee-too!"); on landing without auto-spoilers, they get the Translator to manually Deploy SpdBrks, another non-pilot makes a speed call-out .

The pilots from CAAC (then six regional airlines) were the only customer who's pilots were permitted to NOT understand English.

Fear among managers at the manufacturer motivates them to send a few North Americans to sit in a CAAC F/O's seat: These poor guys are unable to communicate with their co-worker in the left-seat, near DH, never sure what he might do.
IGh is offline  
Old 14th Jan 2008, 15:55
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Central London
Posts: 460
Any chance of getting a few English translators in the tower at JFK.
Be nice to slow them down as well from US ATC 'jive talk'
Phil Space is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 04:24
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Middle Kingdom
Posts: 33
98% of the flights I do here in the middle kingdom, have an interpreter as part of the crew. The interpreters do not talk to ATC, they just translate between me and the FO. This is due to my lack of Mandarin and the FOs lack of Aviation English. The CAAC has made exceptions (my company) for a couple of FOs whose English is excellent and not because of my improved mandarin:

Colocolo is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 05:15
  #8 (permalink)  
Psychophysiological entity
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Tweet Rob_Benham Famous author. Well, slightly famous.
Age: 82
Posts: 0
I could tell it was a question, but I could forgive it being missed.

Frankly, by the time Ground had stopped concealing his questions in a slur--that only the people from his village would have recognized, his irascibility was becoming obvious, which would not have helped to calm the situation.
Loose rivets is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 05:37
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: London
Posts: 31
I thought you had to speak english!? Obviously not!

I think I would get annoyed if I was the guy in ATC as it was obvious they didn't understand the perfectly english question. Just like certain Ryanair cabin crew
A330Ryan is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 06:00
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: AEP
Age: 78
Posts: 1,420
Well, long ago...

(This "old fart" always has a "long time ago" story)
With PanAm 707s, we made flights to Moscow... pronounces Moss-kvah...
And the Aeroflot "provided" us with a "navigator-radio operator/interpreter".
We seated him behind the captain... They boarded the flight in CPH...
These guys were always dressed with a long coat, and all looked like Brezhnev.
So we made friends with them, always same guys, 4 or 5 of them.
SOP for us was simple. After passing Kaliningrad, they handled the radio.
And told us, "left one zero degrees, descent 4,350 feet" (yes they converted to feet for us).
Our best looking flight attendant was instructed to be provide friendly cockpit service.
She was instructed to wear her skirt as short as possible.
Never forget to serve Ivan Ivanovitch Ivanov with "tshaii" (tea) and cookies.
And to bring him a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka (Kapitalist Vodka) compliment of the captain.
And a carton of papirossa (cigarettes) "Marlboro" (compliment of PanAm)...
Then we had our cockpit manuals (latest Playboy magazines) he could roll into his coat.
These gentlemen were flabbergasted by our 2 LTN-51 INS with 9 waypoints.
They were (almost) as accurate as his vectors.
Sometimes he would admit their IL-62s had better "INS" than ours...
But of course, that was privileged information. We agreed their technology more advanced, yes...!
Our pledge was not to inform the CIA about the fact.
And, of course, these good people were not KGB employees... never...!
And after landing, was the big "bear hug" - American captain and Rusky navigator.
Otcheenn spassibo Ivan... y dosveedanya, tovaritchi...
Next week will get the new Hustler magazine for you...
I miss these good old days of "MOCKBA" flights, in a sense.
The lady (KGB) "floor supervisor" always appreciated 1/2 tube of Colgate and used toothbrushes.
The maid cleaning the room always asked for some shoe polish.
For her, no Playboy, but a Vogue fashion magazine.
I remember a wonderful gift I once gave, a Berlitz Russian/English conversation book for toutists.
She hugged me when she left the room - never saw her again...
Door always wide open, in case of suspicion of making some little Vladimirs or Natashas together.

Happy contrails
BelArgUSA is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 06:01
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Down south, USA.
Posts: 1,589


You are right-and not only about JFK/LGA/EWR etc.

We are just too good to need things to be done the ICAO way. We are just too big, powerful and respected everywhere.

Our industry has grown over the decades by cutting almost every regulatory and safety corner imaginable (...and how about those airlines outside the limelight? Have you flown with guys who flew Lears, Falcons and DC6s for some of the freight operators here?), as the FAA closed its eyes to much of it.

That is the crude foundation which has created the artificially lower costs. To do things right all of sudden would upset the entire airline corporate apple cart-and the FAA Traffic Flow Control Program.
Ignition Override is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 09:34
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Office
Posts: 160
Genuine question to those who have flown with interpreters. How good are those interpreters' aviation knowledge? Do they understand the intricacies of it?
Oh that's super! is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 12:38
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: MNL ex CCR ex CLE
Age: 62
Posts: 201
What happened to the rapidly approaching ICAO level 4 English requirements?
PA-28-180 is offline  
Old 15th Jan 2008, 18:09
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The No Transgression Zone
Posts: 2,457
BelArgUSA as always ---wonderful and funny flying stories keep'em coming
Pugilistic Animus is offline  
Old 16th Jan 2008, 12:33
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: China
Posts: 100
The interpreters at my airline in China all went to an aviation university and have to do 4 week ground school for the 737. Exactly the same course as any pilots doing a 737 type rating in China. They do have aviation knowledge although obviously not the same as a pilot, however some of them think they are the same level as the pilots. In my company the translators actually wear the same uniform as the first officer including the 3 gold bars!!! Causes a bit of resentment sometimes, especially from the cabin crew as the cabin crew get paid more, but the interpreters get the same crew meal as pilots etc. Also our interpreters only fly about 40 hours a month; the rest of the time is spent doing office based work. All in all it works out, and as said earlier they don’t talk on the radio, just translate if the crew can’t understand each other.
purple head is offline  
Old 16th Jan 2008, 12:37
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: China
Posts: 100
Also no need for ICAO English if just fly domestically in China.
purple head is offline  
Old 16th Jan 2008, 13:04
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Bloody Hell
Age: 62
Posts: 429
I always carry Nicole as the interpreter on my flights:

FLCH is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.