Interpretation is different from simple translation. Interpreters are expected to conduct a translation, with no room for edits or redactions, based on a one-time exposure to the source material. They are used to translate speeches, conduct meetings in multiple languages, represent people in interviews, and in many other contexts where immediate communication is needed. Professional interpreters are highly trained in specific techniques that enable them to do so, techniques that a bilingual person – someone who speaks fluently in two languages – does not usually possess.
Reasons not to use a bilingual person as an interpreter
- Bilingual people usually acquire one or both of their two languages in a general life environment. Often, this is at home with parents, meaning that many specific, technical topics might never be discussed. As such, their vocabulary and syntax understanding often lacks specificity.
- Vocal control. Because bilingual people often learn one of their languages at home, it can be difficult for them to transmute their use of language to a form that is professionally appropriate. Interpreters are trained when to take pauses, how to control pitch and volume, and they practice rigorously the correct pacing to facilitate maximum understanding.
- Professional touch. Bilingual people usually go through their educational and professional journeys in one language. This means that in the other language, often they’re not used to using the various pleasantries, signposts and norms that make up professional lingual etiquette.
- Connecting the two languages. Bilingual people can flip from one language to another without thinking about it. This is a strength and a weakness. Mother-tongue speakers of any language usually don’t know why elements of their language are the way they are – take grammar and etymology as examples.That is, they don’t have a structural understanding of their language. In most circumstances this doesn’t matter, however it means that the speaker is usually unaware of the ways in which their vernacular is misaligned with that which is formally correct. In professional situations, it is vital that colloquialisms be understood and then mitigated, across the two languages; something bilingual people are not in the habit of doing.
Discover with HI-COM the differences between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting!
Reasons to hire a professional interpreter
- Ensured quality. Interpreters often devote their whole lives to making sure that their work is of a high quality. They go through many years of study, usually at university-level, and then go on to build years of experience through a dedicated career. Practice makes perfect.
- They’re culturally appropriate. Part of learning to be a professional interpreter is deep-dive research on the cultures surrounding the languages they interpret between. Most will have spent time living in the places the languages they use originate from, and so the chances of accidental faux-pas are lowered significantly.
- Interpreters are not simply trained in the use of language. They are trained in a series of techniques and skills, such as note taking, memory recall, composition and etiquette that ensure a steady, reliable level of performance.
- Many interpreters will choose to specialize in one field or another, be it manufacturing, policy, law, or otherwise. These are the absolute best port of call for those seeking interpretation on highly consequential actions. They far outstrip the average speaker of their languages in these specific domains.
Through a combination of years of study and professional experience, professional interpreters learn techniques and skills, as well as cultural nuances, that facilitate quick translation in a reliable way. Through an in-depth dedication to building a structural understanding of two or more languages, they are able to cover the blind spots that are natural to bilingual speakers. Moreover, professional interpreters can provide specialized assistance in fields that speakers of naturally acquired languages might be completely unaware of.
HI-COM provides reliable and cost-effective Interpreting services, with a network of highly skilled, qualified and experienced linguists.