What Do You Mean by an Interpreter?
The word interpreter can be interpreted in many ways. However, the dictionary definition of an interpreter is “a person who translates spoken words from one language to another, on the spot”. The role of an interpreter demands an advanced grip on the other language, as he or she is expected to translate the vocal conversation while keeping in mind the rules of grammar and the dialect.
An interpreter is a linguist with a special command over two languages at least. Most interpreters are bilingual or multi-lingual. Interpreters are of great use to people or traders with no lingua franca i.e. common language.
For example, when a Chinese trader decides to make a deal with an Indian trader, he or she requires a translator or an interpreter. Yes, interpreter and translator are two different set of people. An interpreter can work as a translator; however, a translator may find it very difficult to work as an interpreter.
Let us first understand the difference between translators and interpreters.
Difference Between a Translator and an Interpreter:
The job description of a translator and an interpreter varies in two terms. The job description of a translator demands him or her to be expressive in his work. On the other hand, the job of an interpreter is to convey the required dialogues discussion across the table.
A translator deals with a written set of document or material. His or her job is to express the views of the writer (from another language) in the language required. Compared to the job description of an interpreter, a translator receives freedom to deal with his or her work.
A translator can freely approach anyone for an extra help when faces any difficulty. However, an interpreter is not given the same freedom. The duty and its performance may vary in both the closely related profession but the responsibility of the work falls equally on both the shoulder.
Qualifications of an Interpreter:
An interpreter is a person who requires a command over the target language. He or she needs to remember the important or quoted words, understand the grammatical aspect of the language (which is spoken) and interpret them with keeping in mind the quotes and grammar.
For such a demanding job description, an interpreter needs specific professional training. Let us look at the required qualifications of an interpreter to understand the importance of his or her roles.
1. Subject knowledge of the ongoing topic:
Interpreters are used widely in all kind of business around the world. Business people require someone with the knowledge of the economics terms or the business terms to work, whereas contract and terms related works require the knowledge of law and regulation. Therefore, the interpreter should be able to understand and interpret important terms. Thus, interpreter should have the subject knowledge.
2. Cultural knowledge of people of both languages:
To understand any language, you need a good vocab and a dictionary. However, to translate and or interpret the same needs a good knowledge, and understanding of not only the language but also the culture of the people. Culture makes a huge difference in the way of speaking.
The way people speak and communicate differs according to the culture. Moreover, this also helps in making culture specific references into other languages via analogues or statement. Thus, for an accurate understanding one needs to have a good knowledge of the culture also.
3. Highly upgraded and wide vocab:
In this world, computers run most of the human tasks. Thus, when you go out as a tourist, in another area, you take along a computerized vocabulary dictionary to help you communicate.
However, the work of an interpreter does not allow him or her to do so. They need the entire knowledge in their brain. Therefore, they require a grip on the language through the vast and wide vocab of both the languages. Time to time he or she needs to brush up the existing knowledge as well as learn and upgrade with new knowledge.
4. Public speaking skills and capability:
Public speaking requires good confidence and the ability to carry and maintain a confident body language. You might ask that an interpreter merely translate so why does he require public speaking skills. Well, the answer to that question is very simple. Public speaking skills make it possible to translate speech with confidence.
For example, imagine that you have to interpret a speech for a businessperson. Around more than 20 people, require you to interpret for them. Without self-confidence, you would not be able to interpret properly. Nervousness might ruin the interpreting.
5. Excellent multi-tasking personality with note taking along with interpreting:
Multi-tasking is another important requirement of an interpreter’s job. There may be times where you need to be very quick. Moreover, you need to take down all the points. Interpretation along with taking down adequate notes to continue requires multitasking. Without multitasking interpreter would not be able to keep a track of the entire conversation. Thus, it is another necessary requirement in the list.
6. Experience and passion for the work:
Experience is the very first thing that any employer looks for in the resume. More experience is inversely proportional to the intensity and occurrence of mistakes. Passion can always work where experience is limited, however, as an interpreter; you have a huge amount of responsibility on you.
Therefore, you need to have at least 2 or 3 years of experience. This should also include note-taking skills depending on words per second. Thus, right amount of experience with intense passion can make anyone (any interpreter) a good interpreter.
The above points are less of a qualification and more of a quality, which develops within time. However, training is of utmost importance. Non-certified or any bilingual person cannot settle down for the job of an interpreter. It requires dedication, hard work and appropriate training to be a successful and good interpreter. The scope of an interpreter has increased a lot in the recent years.
Looking at these skills does knock the curious part in your head. What importance does an interpreter have in any field? -Or- what kind of role does an interpreter play in any field? Both the questions will highlight the same thing i.e. Importance and benefits of hiring a professional interpreter in any firm.
Benefits of Using a Professional Interpreter (any firm):
The advantages of having a professional interpreter in different firms are as follows:
1. HD quality- efficient and perfect:
The quality of a translation matters a lot. Translation, when done in a written version can be thought over before compiling. However, an interpreter who is professionally trained provides work in HD quality. What do you mean by HD quality? Subjects like business deals and contracts require exact interpretation, without any mistake or fumble. Clearly communicating the concepts or technical term requires a good research and preparation.
A professional interpreter makes sure to polish all his skills to work well. Hence, when a person hires a professional interpreter for a job he can expect a good HD quality translation of the other party. Professional interpreters invest in dictionaries and or material they require, on their own. Thus, quality work in less trouble is one of the benefits.
2. Culturally accurate linguists in various dialects:
Bilingual must have faced this once in their life. For example, you remember an idiom or phrase that matches the situation perfectly. However, the language of the person you are talking to is different from the language of the idioms or phrases. As a result, you just laugh and end up doing an internal debate on whether you will explain the idiom or just forget about it.
Similarly, there are various such phrases and idioms in all the languages around the globe. While communicating, at times you need to give a reference of some cultural thing. Cultural reference, as well as some statements or saying requires proper interpretation. Hiring an interpreter will not be that bad if you are dealing with people from different region and culture.
3. Constant and trouble free work:
When you are a businessperson who regularly deals with overseas’ companies then you surely need someone to give you accurate meaning or interpretation in given time. This saves you from a lot of trouble. For example, imagine that you did not invest into interpreters.
As a result, you will have to Google or get some of your other employees to interpret with the help of dictionaries, etc. However, due to different skills and perception, the speed of your work as well as the quality suffers.
A little bit of here and there may ruin the entire deal. When you hire a professional interpreter, you can expect a quality work with required amount of professionalism in it. Therefore, there is a constant work done with less trouble under the supervision of an interpreter.
4. Apt with technical as well as mechanical term:
The job of a translator or an interpreter revolves around various fields. If you ask your employees, who are bilingual, to interpret or translate any given project, they will struggle hard with the technicality on the hand. It is more like a square peg in a round hole.
To sum up, it will be the most unsuitable thing. This is because; other employees might themselves understand the meaning but might be unable to find a substitute word for the same.
Therefore, hiring a professional to do his work is righteous thing to do. As long as technical things are concerned, it is the interpreter’s duty to search and research about the topic beforehand.
5. Time to think and time to proceed (look before you leap moment):
Look before you leap is by far the best way to explain the following. Interpreters do interpret and tell you what the other party is offering. They listen to the other party carefully, meanwhile you can think upon the way you would like to put forth the deal.
By the time your interpreter tells you something, you already get some time to think through before uttering something for negotiation.
Last moment compiling and thinking in the head is the most beneficial way to go with the things. This increases the success rate of the deal by a good few percent.
6. Overstating and / or understating is neither accurate nor correct:
Asking friends or employees to translate certain things may work at times. However, once you read this you might not be as sure about doing so. Someone who is not qualified for something is a total misfit or mismatch with the work. There is no guarantee of your friend or employee to give you the exact translation or interpretation.
They might end up overstating the abilities of the opposite party or understating of the weaknesses. This will be a real time loss for the company on a whole as you might somewhere be misguided by the interpretation. You might be having a strong belief in the statement, something is better than nothing.
However, some translation is better than no translation; this ideology does not really work. A poor or unethical interpretation can totally ruin the deal and the friendly business relation between two people.
Interpretation career is in a full boom in today’s time. With an advanced network of industries and trading in international market, interpreters have been in huge demand. Starting from the business industry up until the medical fields, interpreters are in demand. People from different countries go out to different places for medical help.
In this condition, where language is an obstacle or the patient has less proficiency in the language to explain his or her problems, an interpreter is an ideal person to approach. Thus, keeping in mind all the benefits of hiring an interpreter, one must consider hiring a professional interpreter for the business work. It is the most safest and accurate choice to consider for your business.