is a term used to describe the oral translation of the
spoken word from one language into another. While translators
work on the translation of a text in the comfort of
their home office, can think about the best translation
for each term as long as necessary and use a wide variety
of dictionaries and on-line resources to come up with
the best translation, interpreters have neither the
luxury of time nor generally that of dictionaries to
lend them any help. Interpreters have to be very skilled,
fully bilingual individuals that can very quickly and
correctly render what is being said into the other language.
They have to have the intelligence and mental agility
to be able to deal with whatever is thrown at them –
as far as terminology, speed or accent is concerned.
Not every translator is a good interpreter and certainly
not every bilingual person is good at or even capable
of interpreting between two parties. Ideally the two
parties talking to each other should be able to forget
that they are even speaking different languages since
the interpreter is the link that provides instantaneous
understanding of what is just being said in a foreign
language. There are different types of interpreting
styles – each best suited for different situations:
is usually provided for larger meetings or groups with
participants from various countries. The equipment needed
for simultaneous interpretation varies from portable
equipment used, for example, for factory tours, to sound-proof
booths for big international conferences on subjects,
that often are of a highly technical nature. The interpreter
speaks at the same time as the original speaker –
faithfully transferring what is being said into the
other language in the most idiomatically correct way.
Normally two interpreters are required for such an assignment,
since it is a mentally tiring activity and interpreters
will switch every 20 minutes or so. If the subject matter
is very technical the interpreters will require material
or, if possible, copies of the presentations beforehand,
to familiarize themselves with the subject and the vocabulary
in both languages. Given the fact that simultaneous
interpretation is usually done for bigger groups and
involves quite sophisticated equipment, you will find
it a relatively costly proposition.
is usually used for short presentations, tours, visits,
receptions, negotiations, interviews and legal depositions.
Such a job can generally be taken on by just one interpreter
– if it does not last too long. Typically the
interpreter will take notes on what is being said. After
a few sentences or minutes the speaker pauses and gives
the interpreter an opportunity to translate what has
been said. This can be awkward, if there are only a
few foreign speakers in a large group, since the whole
group usually has to listen to the interpretation.
denotes any kind of interpreting situation where the
interpreter offers his or her linguistic skills to help
you communicate without using any kind of equipment.
The interpreter might accompany you on a trade show
visit or on a tour of some factory and even help you
with reservations and other organizational tasks.
makes use of three-way-calling to get you, your English-speaking
business contact and the interpreter on the line at
the same time to facilitate an otherwise tedious conversation.
It saves you having to travel to speak to your contact
in person and it is much more direct and immediate than
having to write a letter, have it translated and wait
for the answer.