Conference interpretation is the translation of a spoken message from one language to another.
Different Types of Interpreting
Conference interpreters work in a formal setting such as:
- an international conference,
- a trade negotiation,
- a meeting between heads of government,
- legal proceedings.
They usually work simultaneously, meaning that they translate in real time.
Professional interpreters do not simply translate words, they also convey meaning, intention and tone, and they do so in a few short seconds.
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YOUR SECRETS ARE SAFE
Professional interpreters are bound by an unbreakable duty of confidentiality.
INTERPRETERS vs TRANSLATOR
Interpreters work with spoken language and translators from written texts. The skills required for each profession have some overlap and some differences.
DOVETAILING language SKILLS
These allied professions call for complementary skills and both require major intellectual effort. There are however considerable differences between the approach required for conference interpreting and for translating.
Different Modes of Interpreting
Conference interpreters work in the heat of debate. They need rapid reactions, nerves of steel and an ability to think on their feet. Conference interpreters usually work into their mother tongue. They do so from one or several foreign languages.
Three different types of interpreting exist. Depending on the type of meeting the interpreters use one of the following modes of interpreting:
INTERPRETERS ARE ACCOMPLISHED PROFESSIONALS
Conference interpretation is a highly skilled profession, calling for a thorough knowledge of languages, powers of synthesis, articulacy and a certain stage presence. Such skills are developed in demanding post-graduate training.
FAQs on Conference Interpretation
Conference interpreting is translation in real time from one language to another. It is called conference interpreting because it is generally done within the formal setting of a meeting, although not always. A more modern term might be simultaneous interpretation, as the message is rendered in another language just after the speaker.
Superb language skills, including fluency and facility in their mother tongue. Strong nerves, quick reactions, intellectual curiosity about the world we live in. A genuine drive to communicate.
All interpreters undergo post-graduate training to acquire the required skills. A thorough knowledge of languages is just the starting point to becoming an interpreter.
The best quality seal is membership of a professional association such as AIIC or TAALS. Another badge of good professional quality is being an accredited interpreter at the European Union or United Nations. The best way is put a team together is to work with a consultant interpreter who will walk you through the options.
There is no doubt that English has become the world’s vehicular language. It is very useful for basic communication but often not suitable for complex discussions and negotiations. Interpreters still fulfill a useful function.
Traditionally interpreters have worked at the place of the meeting. Modern technology makes remote interpreting a practical solution in some cases, and it has come into wide use during the Covid-19 crisis because of travel restrictions. The interpreters and delegates may be in different rooms of the same building, in different buildings or even in different countries.
Interpreters work wherever there is a demand for their specialized services. Many work for the international organizations (EU, UN) where some are on the staff and others work as freelancers who are called in as needed. There is also a high demand for interpreters at business meetings, for product launches and for international associations. Interpreters may also work pro bono for non-governmental organizations.
Nearly all interpreting work is now done simultaneously, that is to say the interpreter is just a couple of seconds behind the speaker. Consecutive interpreting is done in certain settings such as a visit. As the speaker gives his speech the interpreter takes notes and then reproduces the speech in the required language. Whispered interpreting is done at very small meetings (one or two people) and it involves the interpreter whispering into the ear of the participant.