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How Does An Interpreter Juggle With Two Languages

Elite AsiaInterpretationHow Does An Interpreter Juggle With Two Languages
7 December 2017 Posted by eliteasia Interpretation No Comments

Have you tried interpreting between two different languages for others? If you haven’t, what do you think of becoming an interpreter?

What Does An Interpreter Do

The interpreter’s job is to convert messages from one language into another language. A vocation like this is known to be a challenging job as it requires an extreme level of concentration and responsiveness.

Being able to speak multiple languages does not qualify someone to be an interpreter. It can take years of experience to be able to adapt to a stressful fast-paced environment and yet do a remarkable job.

(Educator: Ewandro Magalhaes, By TED-Ed)

How Simultaneous Interpretation Works

Simultaneous interpreting requires one who has extraordinary listening capabilities – to be able to process and memorise the words that the source speaker is saying. Finally, an experienced interpreter usually translates the words into the target language in 5-10 seconds after the speaker says them.

Challenges of an Interpreter

One key skill of an interpreter lies in the ability to translate on the spot, sometimes without using dictionaries or other supplemental reference materials. Due to cultural differences, one has to know when the speaker uses local slang and idioms. Jokes and sarcasm are also challenges when a speaker uses them throughout a conversation. In order to keep the integrity of the message intact, the statement has to be accurately interpreted and transformed instantly for the target audience to understand.

In the above TED-Ed video, the statement was inaccurately translated from the source language into English, heightening the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. It could have led to a catastrophic conflict.

The role of a good interpreter is paramount to many conversations and discussions happening in our globalised world. The challenges of being a good one go beyond just knowing the language. They include an acute appreciation of cultural differences, proficiency with lingos and idioms, and sensitivity to the political climate.

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