Interpreting and Translation – are they different?

In a nutshell, the difference is that interpreting is spoken and translation is written. Unlike translation, interpreting requires speed and immediacy. Interpreters are on the move. Translators stay at home.

Whoever can speak the language can interpret, can’t they?

Interpreting requires more than the ability to speak a couple of languages. It involves a number of skills and processes that are not necessarily purely linguistic: one that is often forgotten is retention – the ability to retain spoken information in the short-term memory. Interpreting neither starts here nor ends here: there are other skills required which are not involved in simply speaking a foreign language.

What is interpreting?

An interpreter works with spoken words, conveying a message from one language into another. An interpreter bridges the gap when two or more people wish to communicate with each other, but are unable to do so as their languages differ. Interpreters require many skills; they need not only to be bilingual but also to be good listeners! They need a high level of intelligence, a good memory and the ability to speak in public with confidence. All qualified interpreters follow a professional code of conduct, code of practice and/or code of ethics, and maintain confidentiality, impartiality, accuracy and integrity.

What is simultaneous interpreting?

Simultaneous interpreting is when the interpreter speaks, whilst at the same time listening and comprehending the next sentence to be interpreted. This type of interpretation is usually carried out at conferences, during live broadcasts etc. The interpreter will work in a soundproof booth. When the speaker talks into the microphone, the interpreter will hear this through a headset and then will convey what has been said over a microphone almost simultaneously. The delegates or attendees can select the language in which they wish to listen to the speech.

What is whispering?

A variation of simultaneous interpreting. It is called whispering, or chuchotage, from French ‘chuchoter’, and requires no equipment at all. Quite simply, the interpreter will sit next to the person or small group, and translate by whispering to the person exactly what the speaker is saying. This is ideal for small events or business meetings when there are only a very small number of participants or attendees.

What is consecutive interpreting?

Consecutive interpreting can be short or long in form. In the latter case, the interpreter will listen to a lengthy speech, taking notes throughout, and then, when the speaker has finished, will reproduce the entire speech into the target language. The interpreter will stand on stage with the delegates or sit amongst them.

What is liaison interpreting?

Also called ‘ad-hoc’ interpreting, it is basically short consecutive interpreting. The interpreter will interpret after just a few short sentences whilst the speaker pauses, and this process will be repeated throughout. This two-way interpreting is usually used in business meetings and discussions, but also for telephone interpreting, as well as in various other areas including the fields of legal and health.

What is relay interpreting?

For example, speeches in Japanese are first interpreted into English to a group of interpreters, who then interpret the message into their respective target languages.

Do you provide relay interpreting into English for multilingual events?

Yes, I do. My language combination is Japanese (A) – English (B); usually a Japanese mother-tongue interpreter carries out relay into a pivot language such as English. Relay should be clear with minimal foreign accent. Ensuring this reduces the risk of mistakes.

Why do I need to provide documents prior to the assignment?

To interpret well an interpreter needs as much information as possible, just as a lawyer does if he is to represent a client in court. An interpreter is not a mere conduit of words. In order to ensure effective communication, the interpreter needs to understand the nature and business of the client they are representing. Interpreting is much more complex than translating word for word; it requires skill and knowledge. The interpreter needs to be prepared and to have an awareness of any relevant terminology, as well as having an overall concept of the business.

What kind of documents do I need to provide beforehand?

For meetings and conferences, the agenda and any specific information that is relevant on to the speakers or presenters should be provided, as well as any speech scripts or slide decks with any accompanying notes. You will need to supply copies of the same handouts and materials that will be available to the participants and interlocutors on the day. Provision of any other materials involved would also be extremely helpful.

Why do I need to provide scripts of speeches?

If there is a script written for the actual speech, then a copy of this needs to be provided. Written language is usually much denser and without redundancies compared to natural utterance. Speech that is read out can be extremely challenging to interpret in the ad-hoc manner.

What’s your cancellation policy?

If a client cancels or withdraws any portion of the item(s) described in the Service Agreement or Job Contract(s), prior to the Interpreter/Translator’s completion of the service(s), then, in consideration of the Interpreter/Translator’s scheduling and/or performing said service(s) the Client shall pay the Interpreter/Translator the portion of the agreed fee represented by the percentage of total service(s) performed, but in any event not less than 25% of said fee.
For more details and cancellation policy of other services please see Terms of Service.

Why aren’t there any client names listed on your website?

Due to confidentiality, I cannot list the names of my clients, but if you require my CV, I will certainly send it to you – please contact by email. For reference, you can find my Voice and Video Reels on SEE ME SPEAK page to see some of the work I have engaged with.