Don’t mix it up. It is different from translation. A lot.
Yes, at least two languages are involved in interpreting as there are in translation.
And this is where all the similarities end.
Interpreters face a range of challenges that translators never need to worry about…
Interpreters have only a fraction of a second to translate the meaning of the words from one language to another. In real life situations it will feel pretty unnatural, if the interpreter makes you wait more than 1-2 seconds. You will lose the topic and they will lose your attention. So, the interpreter should be working really fast.
When mοre interpreters work together, forming the team properly can play crucial role in the overall performance. Achieving the best results in the interpreting service for your meeting, seminar, congress can depend on the right choice, preparation and smooth cooperation within the interpreting team.
“Walk by the meaning and you will be free from sentences” could be the Golden Rule of the interpreters. Why? The main purpose of interpreting is to transfer the meaning of the speech and to reconstruct the style as close as possible to the original phrase. Good interpreters use the “principle of economy” which is the smart way to say the interpreter has to exclude any parasite or unfinished phrases said by the original speaker, to know exactly what and how to summarise or to expand using additional explanations.
When do we use interpreting?
Imagine you’re a foreigner in a country and you feel compelled to buy a car or a tempting piece of property from a local. You have the purchase contract, but you won’t be able to sign it, unless a local interpreter accompanies you and makes sure you understand the contents of what’s being signed.
Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
…let’s see what else interpreting has to offer!
Official interpreting (performed by a sworn translator)
A sworn translator is needed for official interpreting. Official interpreting can be performed only by a highly qualified interpreter who has fulfilled the country-specific educational and administrative requirements for a sworn translator. He/she is sworn to accurately perform the interpreting, hence why this specialist is liable to the state and may be indicted for incorrect sworn interpretation.
When do we use it? Official interpreting is needed for verbal translation of public or private acts, contracts and other documents at the notary public’s office. Sworn interpreter’s services are also needed in court cases and during investigation procedures (also called “judicial interpreting”).
The interpreting happens after the speaker finishes his/her phrase. The interpreter and the speaker alternate. One of them is always waiting for the other to finish their talk.
When do we use it? Consecutive interpreting is largely used in public speeches of all types. It’s best to use consecutive interpreting when you are translating the speech in one foreign language only. You’ll encounter such interpreters working for corporate meetings, negotiations, public presentations or any other gathering where the auditory needs interpreting to one language only.
Simultaneous interpreting is performed while the speaker is talking, without any interruptions of the speech. This type of interpreting comes in handy when the speech has to be translated into multiple languages. Interpreters work in special booths for better acoustic insulation and the audience gets the result in the chosen language via headphones or other audio equipment (3D consoles, for example). Multiple channels for multiple languages are often used in case of multilingual audiences.
When do we use it? Due to the multilingual possibility of simultaneous interpreting, it is used in various public events like meetings, seminars, congresses, official national and international forums.
Whispering, a.k.a. chuchotage
Chuchotage is probably the least known and most peculiar type of interpreting. It is widely called whispering, as the interpreter literally whispers in the ear of the person requesting the interpretation.
When do we use it? It might sound intimate, but whispering is mostly used in very formal settings, such as trade negotiations, interviews, political and business meetings. All participants have their own interpreter whispering in a given language. The whispering gives full assurance to the parties’ that the meaning is interpreted correctly, as usually the interpreter works for only one of the parties in the meeting.
Liaison interpreting, a.k.a. Dialogue interpreting
The liaison interpreting is another challenge for the interpreter. He/she has to interpret back and forth the speech of two or more people having dialogue/conversation in different languages (hence the term dialogue interpreting). Knowing how to handle tricky situations, such as emotional or at times confrontational dialogues, is crucial. It requires experience and a great deal of emotional and situational control.
When do we use it? This type of interpreting is most widely used in civil services such as police investigations, legal meetings, prison visits, school meetings… It’s best used in a conversation between two persons.