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Common Challenges Professional Interpreters Face

Professional translation and interpretation services come with their challenges in order to bridge the communication barrier. While interpreting might sound similar to translation, the former is more complex due to the nature of it and the speed it should be done at, whether it’s for phone interpreting or reverse interpreting service, there are challenges that are met every day but accredited interpreters know how to overcomes these with as they acquire more experience with time.

  1. Hearing the Speaker

A very logical one, you basically can’t translate or interpret what you can’t heat, and unfortunately, it’s one of the most common challenges that interpreters face. This could be due to a malfunctioning audio equipment in case of phone interpreting (or phone translation as commonly used), or due to the actual individual who is talking in different cases including face-to-face interpreting while the speaker is talking too softly or too fast. The former reason is more common though as it could be caused by bad interpreting equipment, a deficient sound system, or other technical reasons. In case of consecutive interpreting such as in conferences or court interpreting, some speakers just forget to keep the microphone consistently close so that everyone could hear them, including the interpreter.

  1. Local Culture

Locals understand each other more than anyone else, they speak the same language and slang, use the same expressions, idioms, jargon and references and just have that thing that helps them communicate smoothly. This is somehow expected to be the same for a professional interpreter, but in 2 languages rather than one: the source and target languages. This could be valid for people within the same country who speak the same language but are local to a certain area.

Cultural awareness is and being a native language speaker distinguishes a professional interpreter from a cheap one, since there is a requirement to listen to the speaker, analyse the message in the right context and formulate it in the target language while taking into consideration the local cultural factors as well as the tone of voice that reflects how it normally sounds in the target language.

  1. Lack of Preparation

Professional conferences’ interpreters generally prefer to get access to conference materials prior to the conference so they can prepare themselves in case any technical terminology is used and eliminate any stresses that could come with the job. A brief is always beneficial so that the interpreter is prepared enough and know what the interpretation will be about to reduce any risks or challenges involved. Imagine being a doctor and you have to write a report about a case that you’ve never met before – it’s kind of challenging, hey?

The more the interpreter is brief and provided with prep materials, the more familiar he will get with the subjects to be discussed as well as the required jargon and terminology to be used.

  1. Humour Does Not Travel Well

Again, and again, humour is one of the hardest things you can give to an interpreter or professional translator to work on. It’s always challenging to interpret humour, sarcasm or jokes, and sometimes it becomes impossible to do that due to a non-existent synonym in the target language so it may lose its meaning or in some cases may prove offensive. This is especially true with movies interpreting or events’ speeches. This is also affected by how culturally versed the interpreter is.

If you require professional interpreting services anywhere in Australia, our team of professional translators and interprets have well-rounded NAATI translators and interpreters with years of experience behind them. Contact our team today, no task is too difficult for our professionals.