What Does An Interpreter Do? – Speak Your Language

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What Does An Interpreter Do?

Posted on: October 19, 2021 by admin

What Is Interpreting?

Interpreting is the process of converting oral communication between multiple parties who are speaking different languages by rending it from the source to the target language to establish clear communication between the different parties.

Before converting the conversation from the source to the target language, a professional interpreter has to analyse the context of the conversation and preserve the same meaning without altering it. For example, a legal interpreter would be required in a court hearing to convert the message as accurately as possible while understanding that there is no room for error, mistakes or biased behaviour.

Other settings where an interpreter is commonly required is during conversations involving medical decisions or while giving consent. A medical interpreter must understand the medical jargon in both languages. There are many other situations where a professional interpreter would be required including conferences that have an audience with different language backgrounds or multi-national business meetings.


The Role Of Interpreter

Interpreters are not expected to translate word-to-word as this could alter or completely change the context of the message. Instead, they need to render the communication in its entirety and as accurately as possible without any addition, distortion, or alternation of the original meaning.

These are signs of a poor-quality interpreter:

  • Not a native or well-trained in the source and target language
  • Doesn’t understand commonly used expressions, slang or idioms
  • Unable to interpret the conversation promptly (e.g. simultaneous interpreting)
  • Unaware of cultural differences and how they impact the message meaning
  • Biased to opinions or beliefs and unable to faithfully render communication


Interpreter Qualifications

To become a NAATI certified interpreter in Australia, the interpreter must be fluent in at least 2 languages and have an educational qualification (diploma or degree in translation) before they are eligible to take the NAATI interpreter test. In addition to the following qualifications criteria, these are some personal requirements are desirable:

  • Initiative and research skills
  • Good attention to details
  • Long attention span
  • Good memory
  • Trustworthy and faithful
  • Belief in inclusivity
  • Understanding of different cultures and beliefs


How Does Interpreting Work?

Interpreting can be performed in various ways, forms and mediums. Some of the most common types of interpretation are:

Simultaneous Interpreting

One of the most common ways of onsite interpreting when holding a larger event. An interpreter renders the speech in their head and delivers it in the source language instantly.


Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is when the speaker pauses between statements and allows the interpreter to render the conversation.


Whispered Interpreting

Whispered interpreting is when the interpreter renders the message in their head and ‘whispers’ the message in the source language to the client.

Relay Interpreting

In the case of rare language-to-language interpreting (e.g. Nepalese to Danish) and no interpreter is available to speak both languages fluently. A ‘medium’ language is used (commonly English) as an intermediate language, where both parties can relay their message.


Telephone Interpreting

Telephone Interpreting is a commonly used interpreting service that many people and businesses use as it costs less than having a physical interpreter present.


At Speak Your Language, we have a professional interpreting team that are all NAATI certified. We can provide over 120 different languages and can assist in different situations. Book an interpreter today or talk to our team if you have any questions.