The interpreting profession always attracts many people: it allows you to get in touch with different languages and cultures. But, what does an interpreter do?
The word interpreter is derived from the Latin interpres, interpretis: the prefix inter is known to mean “between”, so no doubts on that, but for the word’s root there is still an ongoing debate: there is probably a connection with the Greek verb pernemi, “to sell” (from the root –pra / -par-): interpreter would then mean “someone who negotiates a deal; mediator, go between”. In fact, interpreters facilitate effective communication between clients in different settings, such as conferences (which can include large political summits), business and commercial interactions, public sector (e. g. judicial system).
A (conference) interpreter is a professional language and communication expert who, at multilingual meetings, conveys the meaning of a speaker’s message orally and in another language to listeners who would not otherwise understand.
So, interpreter’s bridge language barriers, helping people understand each other every day.
There are two primary modes of interpretation: simultaneous and consecutive.
So, what’s the difference and how do you know which to use when?
Simultaneous interpreting (SI) involves interpreting in “real time”: simultaneous interpretation occurs at the same time as the speaker is talking and it is usually used at large congresses, conferences or similar public events.
Simultaneous interpreter sits in a soundproof booth (there are separate booths for each conference language) wearing a pair of headphone. The speaker speaks into a microphone; speaker’s message is broadcast directly to the interpreter who listens through the headset and the interpreter simultaneously speaks into a microphone in the target language which is broadcast to the audience trough headsets.
A variation of this is whispering, or chuchotage (from French chuchoter, “whispering”), where the interpreter sits near one person or a small group and whispers the translation as the speaker carries on.
In consecutive interpreting (CI), the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking. The speech is divided into segments, and the interpreter sits or stands beside the source-language speaker, listening and taking notes as the speaker progresses through the message.
Consecutive interpretation occurs after the speaker paused, usually sentence by sentence.
This is ideal for small business meetings, interviews, press conferences or any face to face meetings.
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