Basic overview of Language Interpreting

Basic overview of Language Interpreting

Interpreting services are a resource for providing access to the spoken word and to aid in communication.  Interpreting services are used for amongst other things, essential services such as legal, medical, counseling, mental health, employment and business related matters. Most services usually billed on an hourly basis, with a two-hour or three-hour minimums.  Interpreting is also used quite a bit in hospitals, doctors, courts, police, employers, and for human service providers; private family functions also occasionally call for the use of a language specialist.  With the rapid growth of the internet and an increase in global travel, Interpreting and translation companies working for courts, conferences etc. means most language interpreting services are considered necessary now more than ever.

It is important to remember that language interpreting is a discipline different from translation and requires a linguist with good delivery and diction, the ability to articulate the same word or sentence in a different language quickly. As a definition language interpreting or interpretation is the cerebral activity of aiding in oral and sign-language communication, either concurrently or consecutively, between two, three or more, speakers who neither speak nor sign the same native language.

In settings such as the United Nations or other international forums or congresses Interpreters interpret what the speaker is saying as they are saying it into a microphone, and the delegates listen through headsets. Interpreters while working with microphones and headphones are as a rule inside a sound-proof booth to improve focus. Interpreters providing the services are professionally trained and are hired only to serve the role as a facilitator for communication and are extremely well qualified for the positions. They must interpret all information accurately and without bias.

Interpreters hold fast to a strict code of ethics, which promotes neutrality, confidentiality and objectivity.  They, unlike translators who normally work at home and with the ability to reference sources, have to work ‘in the field’, without time for reflection or reference.

Interpreters are in demand in a variety of medical, legal, social service, governmental and educational settings.  Interpreters normally interpret with a time interval of one or two sentences after the speaker because they must first process the information before relaying it; they study and practice for years to become certified. Interpreters always need to be aware of and sensitive to ethnic/cultural and linguistic concerns.

Interpreters work in settings as intimate as a private therapy session or as public as a televised address at a national political convention. Interpreters typically fall in one of three categories which include agency interpreter, meaning they are employed by an agency that provides the job assignment, freelance interpreters, who are responsible for finding and maintaining their own client base and contract interpreters that take on aspects of both the agency and the freelance interpreter. Interpreters are required to work in many unique settings and need to have a broad base of wide-ranging education including, if possible, math and science. Interpreters may interpret confidential and sensitive information which requires that they have integrity and be of good moral character.

Deaf individuals have their own language – American Sign Language (ASL).  Deafness and hearing loss have a significant impact on communication. Learning to talk or sign in any language or learning to read and write those languages and having access to the services and technology that make communication between deaf and hearing people possible is imperative to enable the afflicted.

Interpreting services, when needed, are used to ease communication between the hearing and those who are deaf or hard of hearing for example in a job interview or even ON the job. Persons who are paid for providing interpreting services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people must be licensed with the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Office of Licensing and Registration.

Good translation and interpreting services can support a host of language combinations that range from Spanish and Italian to Arabic and Japanese and ensure that only highly qualified interpreters are provided. Cultural competency and awareness among providers must be avoided at all costs. There is a shortage of available emergency interpreting services that is a serious and ongoing concern. Interpreting can be a well paid and satisfying career choice with a great future for the qualified candidate.

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