Having the distinguished opportunity of being part of the language services industry for the past 15 years, I have had the pleasure of witnessing the industry outgrow the business service description of word-for-word language translation. In fact, the concept of language services rightfully matured to become a respected player in nearly every global industry, transcending the fundamentals of localization, internationalization, and ultimately, globalization.
Throughout my tenure, I've proudly contributed to the international success of many of the same products that I use in my own personal and professional life. Witnessing the complex development cycles of these products, I've noticed that even the most experienced and successful global companies still isolate international collaboration and correspondence to mostly written communications. Whether in the form of an e-mail, or even a product specification, they continue to spend millions to translate these documents with the fastest turnaround, the best quality, and the lowest price. In fact, some of the documents, by their very nature, would be entirely unnecessary if they were only able to pick up the phone and call each other! And why couldn't they simply call each other? They can — and that's why I would like to recognize language interpretation, our industry's secret weapon for expediting product development cycles.
By now, it's no secret that the accurate translation of any written communication requires the efforts of native language experts with specialized linguistic and subject-matter knowledge. In their scientific and artistic transformation of written communications, translators diligently reference dictionaries, custom terminology glossaries, and even previous translations of similar content. In fact, translators even have the safety of another linguist verifying their work. Interpreters, on the other hand, are language specialists that require an expanded arsenal of communication skills — and talents, that only begin with the translation of multiple languages. To be successful, interpreters must have a thorough knowledge and cultural fluency of both the source and target languages. They must also have an extensive background in their area of specialization and speak clearly with a high energy and responsiveness to changing situations.
For translation, linguists prefer to translate from foreign into native, while interpreters prefer going from native into foreign. Interpreters must thoroughly comprehend the original message. When interpreters hear an oral expression in the foreign language, they have neither the dictionaries at hand, nor time to consult them about a word or phrase that might be unknown. At the same time, that same oral expression in a mother tongue is almost always sure to be understood. Interpreters are exceptional performers who must have multilingual communication skills that are predicated on strong listening. Unlike translators, interpreters must be able to communicate not only the subject matter of their specialization, but also topics from current events to general areas of personal interest.
When requesting an interpreter, you will require either a simultaneous or consecutive interpreter. Both use unique language communication skill sets that should be recognized and understood before initiating any multilingual interaction.
Consecutive interpretation requires that the interpreter serves as a connection between two speakers. When the speaker pauses or finishes, the interpreter renders the speech in the first person, in the target language. Speech and interpretation generally occur in segments from a couple sentences up to 15 minutes in length, based on the type of content. Used for court hearings, legal depositions, business meetings, negotiations, medical appointments, tours, informal meetings and social occasions, consecutive interpretation has become an affordable and readily available language resource.
In Simultaneous interpretation, the speaker’s words are interpreted at the same time he or she is speaking. As an example, simultaneous interpretation is best demonstrated in the joint sessions of the United Nations where international leaders use earpieces that simultaneously feed interpretations. The real time interpretation is fed from an interpreter in another room. This form of interpretation can be more difficult, as the interpreter can fatigue due to the required levels of concentration and communication. Depending on budgets, it is recommended that at least two interpreters share any simultaneous interpretation assignment. In regards to the “hidden” audio requirements of simultaneous interpretation: the audio equipment, service providers generally defer the audio engineering and production to either the client or outsource to a partnering company. Simultaneous interpretation is more expensive; however, it facilitates a more effective flow of the speaker's presentation with half the required speaking time.
Communicating through interpreters becomes easier after you understand both the interpreter and the fundamentals of interpretation. For example, some of my favorite interpreters will request a break after an hour and will even correct themselves if they feel necessary. Before any interpretation is performed, it is advised that the interpreter and the speakers (both languages) discuss the objectives and process of the upcoming exchange; exploring any potential communication challenges that may stem from dialects and specific subject matter. Depending on the interpreter’s experience, they will inform the speakers of fundamental best practices, such as avoiding slang and technical jargon. As you begin to work with different interpreters, you will learn their individual styles and techniques. You may become much more in tune to the interpreter’s needs, such as when they require additional clarification, or even when they begin to fatigue. For example, the use of body gestures to convey meaning is a common sign of fatigue and stress.
A true sign that international communication has become affordably accessible is the expansion of language services companies providing one-to-one telephone-based interpretation services. People can now communicate in hundreds of languages, nearly 24-hours a day through a simple telephone service. In fact, telephone-based interpretation is making global communication as affordable as most international calls. As cost-effective as any price-per-minute service can be, telephone-based interpretation is an excellent way to test the possibilities of communicating directly — and immediately with anyone.
Until recently, interpretation was a language service that was used primarily in legal and political communications. The notion of simply picking up the phone and discussing an issue with a counterpart in another country — in another language, was simply a luxury that most considered extraneous to development budgets. Such a misconception has proven to the contrary as companies continue to internationalize and define faster and more effective global business development processes. Interpretation is a language tool that facilitates a quality of communication that can not be captured in an annual report, or a product spec, or a global memorandum. It is as accessible as an international call and as valuable as any two speakers are willing to understand and make it.
ENLASO's Interpretation Solutions
ENLASO provides interpreting support for many language combinations. After carefully analyzing your needs, we select professional interpreters to meet the required specifications. All interpreters are native speakers and are certified in their field of interpretation.
We also offer both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting for international business and government negotiations, meetings, technical discussions, conferences, seminars, onsite work and other events. Even on short notice, we will provide interpreting anywhere in the world.