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Professional interpreting services for all situations

Our interpreting services allow you to communicate verbally with your customers. Any language, any setting. You want your interactions to be smooth and successful — and our interpreters do that for you.

What does “interpret” mean?

 
While “translation” converts a written text to another language, “interpreting” is strictly verbal. An interpreter listens to the speaker and then repeats the message to the listener in the needed language. This “on demand” translation poses its own difficulties. A translator can step back and reread passages. Where needed, it is possible to research the best translation for a given word or phrase. An interpreter does not have this luxury. And simply being bilingual does not cut it.

Skills needed for interpreting

 

Near-native fluency in both languages.

An interpreter simply needs to have very high language skills. Understanding the full meaning of the speaker’s utterances, including jokes and allusions. And then the interpreter needs to repeat that same utterance in a different language. Right away. Accurately. When bilinguals speak, they usually use either one language or the other. Interpreters need to have both languages present in their mind. Because this is a somewhat unnatural way of using language, it takes training and experience.

Subject-matter expertise.

Interpreters cannot look up unfamiliar words. The best and – for a professional – the only way to deal with this problem is to know all relevant words in advance. That is why interpreters typically specialize on e.g. legal, medical, or business situations. We always ask for reference material beforehand. Or at least for a detailed description of the topic to be discussed. Because interpreters use such information to prepare.

Professional demeanor.

Interpreters cannot show up in their sweats. Business casual grooming and attire is the minimum standard. And interpreters also need to know how to behave. They need to be personable and exude trustworthiness.

Ethics.

Interpreters often participate in very delicate and private situations. All participants must be able to rely on the interpreter to uphold full confidentiality and neutrality. Thus, interpreters must adhere to a Code of Ethics, as spelled out here:

Our interpreting team includes only professionals who adhere to these standards. They are skilled bilinguals who deliver your message in a business-friendly or otherwise appropriate manner. In full confidentiality.

Four types of interpreting

We offer four basic scenarios that require special skills or setups.

Consecutive Interpreting

In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter waits for the speaker to finish a short chunk of speech. Then the interpreter relays that message to the listener. When the listener responds, the interpreter turns around and repeats this answer back to the initial speaker. Thus, consecutive interpreting is characterized by a stop-and-go, bidirectional information flow. In high-level meetings, the interpreter may sit behind two participants and would quietly interject the translations to be minimally intrusive. In less formal meetings, the interpreter may take a more active or central role and assume a consultative role. This often happens in medical situations where the interpreter not only provides language translation but also “translates” doctor speak into lay terms or culturally foreign concepts. After all, the desired end result is that the patient fully understands what the doctor wants to communicate – and vice versa.

Consecutive Interpreting Audio Clip

Telephone Interpreting

Telephone interpreting is a form of consecutive interpreting. With the added difficulty that the participants do not see each other. This requires more concentration from the interpreter, as crucial visual cues from the participants are missing. The minimum technical requirement here is that all participants need to be on a conference call.

Telephone Interpreting Audio Clip

Escort Interpreting

“Normal” interpreting situations take place in specific locations (e.g. a court room, a medical clinic, a business office). The interpreter has a very clearly defined role and function. We speak of “escort interpreting” when the interpreter accompanies someone to a social setting, for example a business dinner, a location tour, or some sort of event. Here, the interpreter quickly become a personal assistant who helps the client navigate an unfamiliar culture.

Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting (or “U.N. style interpretation”) is the most complex type of interpreter services. The interpreter is expected to relay the speaker’s message **while the speaker is speaking**. This requires some technical setup: the interpreter may sit in a sound-proof booth, hears the speakers over a headset and then speaks into a microphone. Anyone in the audience who wants to listen to the interpreter can do so via earphones. Simultaneous interpreting is very taxing on the interpreter – usually, interpreters work in teams and may switch off about every twenty minutes. Given the complexities in setup and scheduling, such events require ample planning time.

Simultaneous Interpreting Audio Clip

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