Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hearing Tuesday - Mongongu, maybe this time

We're coming back from a long lunch, and hoping they've figured out how the interpreter can hear and translate for Cynthia Mongongu. Suh had been concerned about conversations between the witness and the interpreter that were not understandable to him. While Brunet and McLaren may understand French, it would not be understood by Campbell or the Landis side, putting them at a disadvantage.

Brunet: Please proceed.


Pursuing more personal job history. I'm not going to detail it.

Chair: just translate the words, in first person please.

Q: Were you in charge of the IRMS instruments?

A: Yes, in charge of the QA and operation of the IRMS instruments.

[ Brunet is advising the interpreter on translation of "analytical method". Directs Dunn to break his sentences to allow the interpreter to keep up. ]

Q: How many IRMS analyses have you done

a: about 400.

q: How were you trained on IRMS?

a: I was trained by the analyst who was there prior to me. I was also afterwards trained by the technicians who manufactured the equipment.

q: were you trained how to tell if the instrument is working correctly?

lost answer in translation fumbling.

q: Please look at exhibits 24 and 25, from Stage 17. What is ex 24?

a: It's the analytical file from the 295 sample.

q: please turn to page 24.

q: what is the sample number?

a: 995474

q: for now if you understand in english, please try; else wait for translation. We've now established that this is coresponds to sample A. Do you believe this to be the right one?

a: yes.

q: page 24. what is it?

a: receipt for sampling.

q: does it show who received it and when?

a: at the bottom of the page, received by jul 20 by 9:35 by Mr. Holly (sp?), an employee of LNDD.

q: take us through with respect to this A sample of Mr. Landis. i'd like you to start with what the trigger is for you do an IRMS confirmation.

a: She does a mass analysis and makes a report, and if it's more then 4.

q: let's try this in english. Someone else does a T/E screen?

a: yes.

q: and to do it needs to be over what value?

a: 4

q: do you know who did the screen?

[flips through the book]

q: page 54.

a: Esther Cerpolini

q: what did she report?

a: 4.9

q: because of that, you did the IRMS? At the same time you did the IRMS, did someone else do the T/E confirmation?

a: yes.

q: page 4 or 101; who did the confirmation and what value? Are those Esther Cerpolini's initials?

a: yes.

q: value?

a: 11.4

q: Please take me through your involvement in the IRMS analysis, from when you took the aliquot, to when you finished 2 days later.

[ Brunet: please speak loudly for the interpreter and so I can here you too. ]

q: Did someone serve as the verifying scientist for your A sample.

a: corinne

q: what does a verfying scientist do?

a: verifies the file made by the analyst.

q: did you server as the verifying scientist on Mr. Landis's B sample?

a: yes.

q: describe the 3 or 4 basic steps of an irms analysis, then we'll come back and talk about each.

a: first is preparation of the sample, an hour an a half, correction about a day and a half;

Suh objects to interpetation. 1-1/2 day is not 1-1/2 hour.
Brunet: Please make a suggestion.
Suh: can we try another interpreter?
Brunet: want to confer for 5 minutes?



The press room groans.


swimyouidiot said...

What are the potential weaknesses with these lab techs? Anything other than a Landaluze type error (where one person was overly involved in confirming his/her own work, thus invalidating the test)?

Will Suh/Jacobs try to allege tampering by people at this level, or will that come at some other stage with higher level input?

I wonder if Suh/Jacobs will ask them directly if they are the leak to L'Equipe?

Anonymous said...

So much for issues concerning the qualifications of the translator. From the post it appears that the Chair was explaining or directing the translator on technical language and then there is a major possible screw up. Can't tell if it was the witness who corrected herself or if it was the translator who did it. From the impact it sounds like the translator made an error.

I would think that the California trial courts have lists of approved translators. I wonder if they even thought to draw on that. Aside: saw an article on an Iraqi who was used by U.S. Forces as a translator and made it to the states. Found that the process of qualifying as a court translator was far more rigorous.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or are Suh/Jacobs going to make USADA regret not letting them depose these French witnesses? Imagine the amount of time that could've been saved if both sides knew more about what the answers were ahead of time.

As it is, the Landis team has to listen carefully and build their rebuttal on the fly, meaning they can't afford any ambiguity in translation. This is getting painful.


Anonymous said...

You would think USADA would want the intepreter to be very accurate. Otherwise, it will be easy for Jacobs/Suh to make her look completely imcomptent and unable to perform the test properly.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this seems to be very bad translating.. But on the other hand, its not an easy taskto translate these scientic things, but if you mix even simply things together then what can you ecpect when the very important science comes in??

tbv@trustbut.com said...

You assume USADA wants these witnesses to be able to give testimony, and be cross-examined. If the direct is hopeless, how good can the cross be? It's perfect -- you produce them to appear cooperative, then make it impossible to get anything out of them.


Anonymous said...

Yet another factor to consider - time is being eaten up and I very much doubt that the majority of the panel is going to want to modify the railroad schedule.

Ali said...

This is really fascinating, TBV. There are people all around the world hanging onto your every keystroke (hope that doesn't induce any anxiety related typos).

USADA don't appear to be as slick as I imagined they would. Conversely, the Landis camp is coming across as extremely professional and thorough. Hope things continue in this vein ...

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...


Gotta keep the trains running on time!


- Rant

Debby said...

Let's hope USADA runs as well as Amtrak northeast does. :)

Thanks TBV, Bill, strbk...we are hanging on every post here.

sara said...

Im having a lot of troble trying to watch this mornings hearing, it seems to be buffering all the time, so l hear or see only few seconds at a time? anyone else have problems with that?

And a HUGE thank you for TBV, and Rant, for keeping us posted, great!!

Ferren said...

It's working fine for me, Sara. Hopefully we'll have live video tomorrow. At least, with the abbreviated testimony today, it's easy to catch up with the video. Thanks to TBV for the transcriptions.

Anonymous said...

You3 said...

The obvious area of exploration is whether there were any activities with the B sample that crossed the line of the same operator for the A and B sample.

The second area of exploration is all of the non-SOP activities for the A sample. What really happened with the incomplete ion binding for the screening test? Why was the intial confirmation test in error on the quantification? Why was there a 2nd screening test? Were the errors corrected before proceeding to the next test? Why was there no check for unconjugated E and T in the 2nd confirmation test?

What communications and managerial direction occurred as the lab was racing to shut down for vacation?

Anonymous said...

I agree with DB. Perhaps a journalist will do some follow up with the initial Translator in order to verify their credentials. The pattern of obstruction if not outright deception is beginning to show itself. It might be interesting to know the qualifications of the Translator and if in fact that person was hired by USDA.