Translation, Interpreting – what’s the difference?
» Short (no more than 300-400 words)
This means that the interpreter will give a spoken rendering of the written text in the target language.
Some texts that might be suitable for sight translation:
» Instructions on medications
» Short non technical letters
» Brief extracts of witness statements in court
There are two basic forms of interpreting-simultaneous and consecutive.
What is the difference between a simultaneous interpreter and consecutive interpreter?
There are two kinds of simultaneous interpreting:
a. Conference interpreting is used in meetings for organizations like the United Nations or the European Union where interpreters listen through headphones to speeches in the source language and immediately interpret straight into the target language for the audience.
b. Individual interpreting is used at smaller meetings. It is often called a whispered interpreting, and the interpreter is located next to the target language individual – interpreting as the other person is speaking.
B. Consecutive interpreting is the most popular type of interpreting, as it does not require any specialist equipment or complex planning. It is also considerably cheaper than simultaneous interpreting. This involves the interpreter waiting for the speaker to pause allowing for translation into the target language. The interpreter repeats what has been said, but in the target language. This is often used at formal events such as court proceeding.
Interpreters specialise in either simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, although qualified interpreters may use both skills. They could work as:
Business interpreters – attending meetings with suppliers and foreign customers, attending presentations, training courses and seminars, trade fairs, etc.
Court interpreters – working within the court system
Public service interpreters – helping members of non-English language communities to communicate with public officials in local government, solicitors, social security, the NHS and the police.
I employ bilingual staff, why can’t they translate?
Bilinguals speak two languages fluently, but are not necessarily good at moving information between the two particularly in writing.
Professional translators are first and primary writers, capable of producing texts that read well in the target language. The most important factor is that they are effective bridges between the languages they work in . They possess the necessary skills to render the original text, with appropriate style and terminology, in their native language.