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Interpretation Versus Translation

Despite being used interchangeably, interpretation and translation are not synonymous, yet both refer, respectively, to the spoken and written transference of equivalent meaning between two languages. Interpreting occurs in real time, in the physical, televised, or telephonic presence of the parties for whom the interpreter renders an interpretation. Translation is the transference of meaning from text to text (written, recorded, sign), with the translator having time and access to resources (dictionaries, glossaries, etc.) to produce a faithful, true, and accurate document or vebal artefact.

A very common, layman's misconception of interpretation is that it is rendered verbatim, that is, as a word-for-word syntactic translation of an utterance. That is impractical, because a literal, verbatim interpretation of a source-language message would be unintelligible to the target-language listener. For example, the Spanish phrase: Está de viaje, rendered verbatim to English translates as: Is of voyage (senseless in English), yet its faithful, true, and accurate denotational and connotational interpretations in context are: ‘He/She/You is/are travelling’ or ‘He/She/You is/are out of town’. That is, the overall meaning, tone, and style in the target language are what matter, rather than the source-language syntax.

Types of interpreting

Conference interpreting
Conference interpreting is the interpretation of a conference, either simultaneously or consecutively, although the advent of multi-lingual meetings has consequently reduced the consecutive interpretation in the last 20 years.

Conference interpretation is divided between two markets: the institutional and private. International institutions (EU, UN, EPO, et cetera), holding multi-lingual meetings, often favour interpreting several foreign languages to the interpreters' mother tongues. Local private markets tend to bi-lingual meetings (the local language plus another) and the interpreters work both into and out of their mother tongues; the markets are not mutually exclusive. The International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) is the only world-wide association of conference interpreters. Founded in 1953, it assembles more than 2,800 professional conference interpreters in more than 90 countries.

Legal and court interpreting
Legal, court, or judicial interpreting, occurs in courts of justice, administrative tribunals, and wherever a legal proceeding is held (i.e. a conference room for a deposition or the locale for taking a sworn statement). Legal interpreting can be the consecutive interpretation of witnesses' testimony for example, or the simultaneous interpretation of entire proceedings, by electronic means, for one person, or all of the people attending.

Depending upon the regulations and standards adhered to per state and venue, court interpreters usually work alone when interpreting consecutively, or as a team, when interpreting simultaneously. In addition to practical mastery of the source and target languages, thorough knowledge of law and legal and court procedures is required of court interpreters. They often are required to have formal authorisation from the State to work in the Courts—and then are called sworn interpreters.

Focus group (marketing) interpreting
In focus group interpreting, an interpreter sits in a sound proof booth or in an observer's room with the clients. There is usually a one-way mirror between the interpreter and the focus group participants, wherein the interpreter can observe the participants, but they only see their own reflection. The interpreter hears the conversation in the original language through headphones and simultaneously interprets into the target language for the clients. Since there are usually anywhere between 2 to 12 (or more) participants in any given focus group, experienced interpreters will not only interpret the phrases and meanings but will also mimic intonation, speech patterns, tone, laughs, and emotions.

Escort interpreting
In escort interpreting, an interpreter accompanies a person or a delegation on a tour, on a visit, or to a meeting or interview. An interpreter in this role is called an escort interpreter or an escorting interpreter. This is liaison interpreting.

Public service interpreting
Also known as community interpreting, is the type of interpreting occurring in fields such as legal, health, and local government, social, housing, environmental health, education, and welfare services. In community interpreting, factors exist which determine and affect language and communication production, such as speech's emotional content, hostile or polarized social surroundings, its created stress, the power relationships among participants, and the interpreter's degree of responsibility—in many cases more than extreme; in some cases, even the life of the other person depends upon the interpreter's work.

Medical interpreting
Medical interpreting is a subset of public service interpreting, consisting of communication, among medical personnel and the patient and his or her family, facilitated by an interpreter, usually formally certified and qualified to provide such interpretation services. The medical interpreter must have a strong knowledge of medicine, common medical procedures, the patient interview, the medical examination processes, and the daily workings of the hospital or clinic were he or she works, in order to effectively serve both the patient and the medical personnel. Moreover, and very important, medical interpreters often are cultural liaisons for people (regardless of language) who are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable in hospital, clinical, or medical settings.

Sign language interpreting
When a hearing person speaks, an interpreter will render the speaker's meaning into the sign language used by the deaf party. When a deaf person signs, an interpreter will render the meaning expressed in the signs into the spoken language for the hearing party, which is sometimes referred to as voice interpreting or voicing. This may be performed either as simultaneous or consecutive interpreting. Skilled sign language interpreters will position themselves in a room or space that allows them both to be seen by deaf participants and heard by hearing participants clearly and to see and hear participants clearly. In some circumstances, an interpreter may interpret from one sign language into an alternate sign language.

Deaf people also work as interpreters. They team with hearing counterparts to provide interpretation for deaf individuals who may not share the standard sign language used in that country. They also relay information from one form of language to another - for example, when a person is signing visually, the deaf interpreter could be hired to copy those signs into a deaf-blind person's hand plus include visual information.

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Interpreting Services :: Consecutive Interpreting :: Interpreting Equipment :: Phone Interpreting :: Simultaneous Interpreting :: Interpreting vs. Translation

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