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Old 07-10-2019, 02:39 PM   #1
Kalzazz
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Default Translators and Social Skills

Is it possible to use Social Skills through a Translator?

Suppose Alice and Bob visit a French Island where the populace speak French. Alice knows Streetwise and Savoire Faire. Bob knows French. Is it possible for Alice to use her skills with Bob translating?
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:54 PM   #2
Refplace
 
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

Hmm doesnt seem to be in Social Engineering but I thought I saw it somewhere.
I'd go with the lower of the skill of the translator and the speaker in most cases.
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

I'd use the normal rules for social skills and a foreign language, but treat the acting character as having the language at one level lower than the translator lower level in the two languages - so effectively Accented if the translator is Fluent, and Broken if the translator is Accented. Even the best translator is going to miss some nuances and be somewhat disjoint to the acting character's body language, but it's better than nothing.

If you're using Cultural Familiarity, I wouldn't penalize the acting character for not having a Cultural Familiarity if the translator had it.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:16 PM   #4
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

I note that you've chosen social skills where what you say may be less important than what you do. You don't need to speak French to know how to bow or curtsey, how to use posh silverware and how precedence works between others and the person you are purporting to be. Having a translator with no social graces might be a slight handicap but it wouldn't be much more crippling than having any companion with no social graces.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 07-10-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:21 PM   #5
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

That puts the importance on Cultural Familiarity. It would likely be obvious if the PC has it while the translator doesn't.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:09 PM   #6
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

Those two skills were the ones under consideration when it first came up but interested in it also from a more generalized perspective
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:18 PM   #7
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
That puts the importance on Cultural Familiarity. It would likely be obvious if the PC has it while the translator doesn't.
Cultural familiarity is more basic than the specific knowledge of how break bread with aristocrats or identify a bent cop and pass him a bribe inobviously, that savoir faire or streetwise gives you.

Quote:
Those two skills were the ones under consideration when it first came up but interested in it also from a more generalized perspective
Diplomacy through a translator wouldn't be much handicapped. But Fast Talk would be just about impossible. Acting would depend on whether or not the translator knows she's passing on lies.
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Translators and Social Skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
Is it possible to use Social Skills through a Translator?

Suppose Alice and Bob visit a French Island where the populace speak French. Alice knows Streetwise and Savoire Faire. Bob knows French. Is it possible for Alice to use her skills with Bob translating?
Remember that scene in Patton where the Translator had the dilemma of telling the Russian General that Patton had called him an SOB? In that case it wasn't a matter of social skills for the translator (it probably means roughly the same in both languages after all). However there must be plenty of eventualities where an innocuous phrase in one language is fighting words when translated literally.

Take a look at some English words. Coward (why does being a bovine herdsman make you lacking in courage?), Welch (who says being from Wales makes you dishonest), or the above (aside from being biologically impossible, female canines are not subject to human sexual laws and in any event that does not prove that one's mother was not monogamous). Imagine oddities in other language. Other English words come to mind: villain (who cares if your ancestor was a sharecropper) and noble (equally who cares if a king gave your ancestor a land grant). A translator has to know them to be able to smooth troubled waters.
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