In the age of advanced technology and globalization of business, we are communicating more often with individuals of different cultures and languages. On special occasions, these interactions require the service of an interpreter. Interpreters get the satisfaction of knowing that their contributions have helped others understand and make decisions that are important to them.
The basic objective of an interpreter is to orally “convert a message uttered in a source language into an equivalent message in the target language” (IMIA: International Medical Interpreters Association). Interpreting is carried out in real time, simultaneously or consecutively between speakers of different languages. There are some important elements to take into consideration for an interpreter to deliver good service and to properly serve both clients.
Neutrality: Interpreters must be careful to set aside preconceived notions, emotions and biases as they deliver. This is the ethical way to deliver interpretations.
Maintaining ethical behavior: An interpreter must have both client’s trust that he/she is delivering both parties’ messages exactly the way they intended, rather than how the interpreter thinks they should be intended. The interpreter must also protect the privacy and confidentiality of both parties and be absolutely sure of the information passed.
Cultural interface: Being an interpreter involves not just understanding the languages, but also the underlying assumptions and beliefs based on each party’s culture. The interpreter must understand how each culture’s assumptions and beliefs may affect the perception that each party has on the messages being conveyed.
Managing the flow of communication: an interpreter must encourage both parties to communicate directly with each other, rather than mostly or exclusively to the interpreter. This will help both parties to maintain the importance of their individual roles, rather than treating the interpreter as the most knowledgeable and important presence in the room.
For those who are interested in becoming an interpreter, there are several wonderful educational institutions that provide strong programs. They include programs offered at the Monterey Institute, Miami Dade College, Kent University, and Gallaudet University.
For anyone who’s in one way or the other involved in the translation industry and especially for those who speak Arabic, December 18th is a day to celebrate. In 2010, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established this day as the UN Arabic Language Day. The goal: “to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization”. They chose this date to commemorate when Arabic was incorporated, in 1973, as one of the six official languages. The other five official UN languages are: Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian and English.
At JR Language, we celebrate with the world this Arabic Language Day and, we want to take this moment to thank all of our hard-working, professional Arabic translators and interpreters throughout the U.S. and the world, who always deliver reliable and timely translations and, interpretation services, in a wide variety of subject matters ranging from marketing, legal, medical, to governmental material. Their professionalism and expertise are a great asset to our translation agency.
We hope we will continue working together for many years to come!
We have already discussed in this translation blog the importance of interpretation services, the difference with translation services and the abilities, qualification, and training that an interpreter needs to have to accomplish their job. The idea of this post is to point out the importance of medical and legal interpretation services and the seriousness of an inaccurate rendering.
Medical Interpreters and Legal interpreters are the facilitators that bridge the language gap during a Medical Interpretation and Judicial Interpretation session. Due to the nature of the matters involved, medical and legal interpreters have a responsibility and ethical duty to complete the task successfully. One deals with the health and well being of a person and the other might even determine the freedom of an individual or maybe the loss of assets. Needless is to say there are many moral elements involved in the selection of the appropriate trained individual for the duty and that there are many components to consider, including budget and planning, to facilitate the interpretation service.
In addition to the ethical and training issues regarding interpretation, there are important rules to execute the job appropriately. Nonetheless during the activity the primary goal of an interpreter should be delivering an accurate and complete interpretation. With that in mind the following conditions should be met:
Setting the stage-set clear expectations of their role. Interpreting activity is mainly about transmit information.
Managing the flow of communication- so that important information is not lost or miscommunicated.
Managing the triadic relationship – the interpreter’s role is not to take sides or take control over the message, rather to achieve the communication process.
Assisting in closure activities – prepare communication for follow ups and aid the connection with other services required particularly in the medical setting.
All of these conditions do not need to be covered in every interpretation setting but are vital in Medical and Legal interpretations.
Recently we stumbled upon 2 articles that show how important medical and legal interpretation is. One article is a success story about how medical interpretation has helped a local hospital in Rochester, New York bridge the language barrier and shorten hospital stays and readmission rates.
The other article we found is a story about Nevada’s court system. There, insufficient resources to aid the Spanish speaking defendants waiting for trials and the controversy surrounding budget cuts, which resulted in a bigger shortage of legal interpreters, created conflicts that arise both moral and justice issues.
With the 2012 Olympic Games just around the corner, London will become a true paradise for translators and interpreters. Yes, the city already hosts Wimbledon annually, which brings a considerable amount of players and fans from all over the world but, this is an entirely different playing field (and we are not talking just about the surface!). For almost three weeks, over 350,000 athletes and tourists speaking more than 300 languages will transform London into a true, modern Babel.
This is where the job of a translator and an interpreter truly shines: they need to help athletes and delegates communicate with each other; write press releases so news reporters can inform their countries about the performance of their respective athletes; usher tourist, athletes and families throughout the entire event into the correct site where a specific event will be held; along with several other tasks. But, even when juggling hectic schedules and feeling slightly overburdened, there will be joy. Sports always bring out the best in people!
Not only will the athletes feel proud about representing their countries but, the translators and interpreters working will too for being the bridge that allows people communicate effectively. These are our unsung champions—the all-around winners in our hearts and we, at JR Language, will be cheering for these behind-the-scene Olympians.
Common Sensor Advisory’s article “Clearing up the Top 10 Myths about Translation”, published on The Huffington Post, points out some facts that may be surprising to the laymen, and may help answer some of the questions we receive related to myths in the translation industry.
The article leads to the conclusion that translation is an ever-evolving profession, expanding and reaching new horizons through advances in technological. Technological elements, like machine translation and crowdsourcing, will not eliminate the professional human translator but rather enable translation providers to reach higher levels of service.
Among the myths of translation the author listed, we would like to highlight 3 important points that we have covered in previous posts:
Myth #2. A bilingual person is a translator. In the Spanish version of our translation blog we posted an article explaining that speaking and having proficiency in a language does not qualify a person as a translator.
As mentioned on the post The Interpreter: the writer or the talker?, there are 6 ways in which an interpretation can be performed that are officially called types. Knowing each of these subdivisions will help clients have a clearer idea of what they need, resulting in a better communication between the client and the language service provider.
These types are:
Simultaneous interpretation- the interpreter is inside a soundproof booth (unless doing a sign language interpretation) and with the help of headphones translates the message of the speaker as fast as possible, almost at the same time as the speaker. If the event is too long, he/she may work in pair.
Consecutive interpretation- the interpreter starts the translation after the speaker pauses. There is short and long consecutive interpretation. In the former the interpreter only relies on his memory to perform the interpretation and in the latter, he takes notes.
Whispered interpretation- a type of simultaneous interpretation. The interpreter sits near the audience and almost whispers the message of the speaker. It is often used with groups of people where very few do not speak the language of the speaker.
Liaison interpretation- in a type of consecutive interpretation but, instead of conveying the message of one speaker it involves conversations among many speakers.
Relay interpretation- it is done when there is no interpreter than can work into different languages at the same time, but there are interpreter with different language pairs that can be combined. Check the following diagram:
Sight translation- in reality it is an interpretation but, instead of working from an oral text, it starts with a written one. This type of interpretation is more frequently used in hospitals and courts.
Last week we started with what will be a series of three posts about interpretation.The Interpreter: a writer or a talker?was the first one of the series. Now we will explore what been an interpreter entails by first explaining what is a mode.
By mode we understand, the setting in which the interpretation is performed.
These are the modes:
Conference- it takes place in a conference such as, UN congresses. It can be simultaneous or consecutive.
Juridical- simultaneous or consecutive. It comes with a high level of responsibility; a mediocre interpreter or one that has not been sworn could overrule a trial. This mode is more notorious since the 9/11 trials.
Escort- is a type of liaison interpretation. The interpreter accompanies a person or group to an interview or tour.
Marketing- the interpreter sits inside a soundproof booth and, with the help of headphones to hear the speaker; delivers the message in the target language. There is a mirror that lets the interpreter see the audience. He has to also imitate the tone, laughs and emotions of the speaker.
Public Sector- or community interpretation. There are several elements that can affect the outcome if this interpretation, such as: the emotional content; a hostile environment; stress or; the hierarchy levels of the subjects involved.
Medical- a subdivision of the Public Sector Interpretation. A thorough knowledge of medical terminology and practices is a must. They are usually formally instructed and certified. Medical interpreters allow the communication between the medical staff and their patients.
Media- The interpreter watches the speaker from a screen. Due to the nature of this kind of interpretation, it is done simultaneously and, can be very stressful because of many external elements such as: background noise, and technical difficulties in live broadcasts. We can see this kind of interpretation in the Olympics or interviews to politicians.
Sing Language- an interpreter with no hearing problems conveys the message to a non- hearing person through sing language, and vice-versa.
Now you have the necessary tools to ask for what you really need. Remember: the more you know, the more you save, in terms of time and money.
When I went to see the movie The Interpreter starring Nicole Kidman in 2005 I thought that for sure, the role of interpreter versus translatorwould be clarified. After-all, Nicole Kidman was the main character and lots of people were going to watch the movie, right? The movie had a large attendance indeed, but, I believe, there is still a general misunderstanding about an interpreter’s job.
Wikipedia defines language interpretation as “the facilitation of oral or sign-language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between users of different languages.” Oral is the keyword here! The main difference is that interpreters talk and translators write.
Interpretation is not limited to changing-over a message from a source language; rather it is executing the act of interpretation in different ways. These methods can vary greatly according to the job requirements including:
8 interpretation modes/classifications depending on the setting (ex. conference, court, medical settings etc.)
6 interpretation types/techniques used to perform the interpretation (ex. simultaneous, consecutive, etc.) Interpretation can also take place on-site, by phone, or video.
Team approach to interpretation
Interpreters sometimes work in pairs due to the extreme demands of the interpretation process. While one interpreter speaks the other may take notes, and they take turns performing the interpretation. This approach works best during an extended meeting where interpretation is required.
More than words
Interpretation is not a word-for-word translation. Interpreters have a short window to perform their task, and there is usually no time for research. They have to rely on their experience and skills for speed and accuracy. The interpreter must convey the most important aspects of a speech in the shortest amount of time.
The right interpreter can make all the difference in reaching your intended audience. Preparation, training, experience, and areas of expertise are all things to consider when choosing your interpretation services to ensure you have the right outcome.