All You Need to Know About Interpreters and Interpreting

Interpreting has been an integral part of business for many years and never more has interpreting been needed as it has in the past two decades with mobility in the world and the need for communication. Interpreting is different from translation as it deals with the spoken word in the here and now, whilst translation deals more predominantly with the written word and takes place over a period of time.

Interpreting therefore has a more specific and crucial time dependency so that the translation of meaning may not always be accurate if the pace of the process is particularly fast. Whilst translation is generally the name used for the conversion of language to language in the written word, the use of translation is used to describe what happens during the course of interpreting i.e. that the interpreter is translating what is being said.

There are various forms of interpreting from telephone interpreting to face to face interpreting.

Telephone interpreting – this is not an ideal means of communication but telephone interpreting can be useful as a matter of urgency. A business link from one country to another may well use translators or travel to either country for important business meetings where they are likely to use a face to face interpreter. However, this costs money and it would not make economical sense for flights and hotel bills to be incurred for something which is a minor detail that can be dealt with on the telephone. The interpreter will be involved in a three way conversation and, certainly, the good listening skills all interpreters should possess will come into play.

Simultaneous interpreting – simultaneous interpreting is usually used for conference interpreting and is being widely used by most large business corporations and other disciplines such as government initiative that require involvement from other countries as in the EU for instance. Conference interpreting also covers medical, legal, environmental engineering fields to name just a few, and therefore, it is important for the interpreter to have a substantial knowledge of each discipline so that he/she will understand and translate the language that is unique to each discipline. It is usual for conference interpreters to work in pairs or in teams, particularly when there is a fast pace involving a fair amount of stress. The attendees of the conference will wear an earpiece or headphones and will listen to the interpreter. This is called simultaneous interpreting meaning exactly what it says, the interpreting is undertaken at the same time as the person speaking and goes along with the pace of the conference. The drawback of this kind of interpreting is that, due to the pace, some meaning may be lost. However, it allows the meeting to travel at pace and does not hinder that pace.

Consecutive interpreting – consecutive interpreting is mostly face to face and involves the interpreter listening to the speaker. He/she then relays what has been said to the listener who will then reply. The interpreter will then relay the answer to the speaker, and so on. It is easy to see that this type of interpreting is time consuming. The listening skills required for any interpreter are crucial, but in addition to this the interpreter must have patience and be prepared for the interview to take some time. Once the interview commences, the interpreter is there for the duration so must take into account the nature of the business to be undertaken. A preliminary discussion should take place to discuss the possible time limits of the interview.

Role of Translators and Interpreters in Global Business

Translators and interpreters play an important role in global business. They enhance communication by conveying information accurately from one language to another in different countries across the world. These translators and interpreters provide different services. Interpreters deal with verbal communication while translators deal with written communication.

Role of interpreters and translators in global business:
Interpreters and translators provide services in a number of business areas, and they specialise in specific fields. Some of the business areas in which translators and interpreters play a key role are:

o Medical interpreters and translators:
Medical interpreters help promote communication between hospital management and patients. Medical translators also help translate patients’ journals and hospital information brochures into patients’ languages. Medical interpreters and translators will have strong knowledge of medical and conversational terms in both languages, as well as the cultural aspect relating to how the patient receives the information.

o Localisation translators:
Localisation involves the complete adaptation of a product for use in a different language and culture. A translator possesses a high degree of knowledge regarding the local users of the product. The main goal of localisation translators is to adapt the product as if it had been originally manufactured in the country where it will be sold and supported.

o Specialised business translators:
Specialised business translation involves specialist translation in various fields such as, finance, economics, marketing etc. An interpreter or translator will have sound knowledge of the respective businesses and markets and current events. An example of this type of service is specialised business translation in financial markets. This involves the translation of documents such as financial statements, mutual funds reports, regulatory statements and reports etc. into the target language.

o Conference interpreters:
Conference interpreters work in international fora such as WTO, the World Bank etc. where the participants come from around the world. Some times, these interpreters are also used as mediators among international businesses that operate in foreign countries. Conference interpreters often have the ability to interpret from at least two passive languages to one active language, for example, from Spanish and French into English.

Translators and interpreters assist cross-cultural communication among businesses by converting written or verbal language into the target language. Thus, interpreters and translators play a vital role in global business.