What is the difference between interpreting and translating?

Interpretation is the conversion of verbal speech from one language to another, while translation is the conversion of text from one language into another. Despite their different meanings, the words “interpret” and “translate” are often used interchangeably.

What is sight translation?

Sight translation is an oral translation of a written text, typically performed on the spot, in which the interpreter reads a document and then provides an immediate oral translation.

What is the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting?

Simultaneous interpreting, also sometimes referred to as UN-style interpreting, is a continuous flow of speaking and interpreting.  The initial speaker continues as he or she normally would, without pause, as the interpreter listens to one language and speaks in another simultaneously. The speaker’s voice is dominant, while the interpreter whispers into a microphone.

Consecutive interpreting requires a waiting period that simultaneous interpreting does not. First, the speaker talks, and the interpreter listens to the entire original phrase before interpreting it into the other language.  Consecutive interpreting is typically used in client meetings and depositions.

Why do interpreters work in teams of two during simultaneous interpreting assignments?

According to a study conducted by the Administrative Office of the US Courts, simultaneous interpreting requires extreme concentration, including listening, understanding, problem-solving, and speaking, all at the same time.  As a result, after 30 to 45 minutes of simultaneous interpretation, errors are more likely to occur. Working in teams of two allows for regular rest breaks and reduces the potential for error.

The interpreter’s role is an exacting role, both physically and mentally, and therefore requires an awareness of the proper working environment. It is imperative that an interpreter be able to be mentally alert at all times. Studies have presented unassailable evidence that a simultaneous interpreter’s performance deteriorates markedly after a surprisingly short time.

Why do interpreters need remote equipment?

Interpreters use remote equipment to allow them to work more comfortably and efficiently.  Rather than whispering into one person’s ear for a long period of time, the interpreter using remote equipment can set up in a space where he or she can easily view the speaker, talk at a comfortable volume, and provide interpretation to a large number of participants.  Participants can adjust the volume individually on their ear piece, and the interpreter can focus more intently on his or her work.

Why do I need a professional interpreter with proven abilities?

Regardless of ability to speak two languages, few people can interpret simultaneously at a high level of accuracy—typically considered to be 80 percent or better.  Interpreters must retain subtle nuances in speaking, context, and vocabulary, requiring an exceptional fluency with the languages in question.  A professional interpreter with proven abilities can preserve the meaning of the speaker’s statement, not simply translating words or phrases into another language, but conveying the essence of the person speaking. This can preserve accuracy and clarity in high-stakes legal proceedings and depositions, and help ensure the success of a conference, meeting, or other event by allowing for the active involvement of international participants.

Where and by whom is the Portuguese language spoken?

It is estimated that around 200 million people speak Portuguese worldwide.  Portuguese is either an official language, or is spoken by a significant portion of the population in:

  • Angola
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • East Timor
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Mozambique
  • Portugal
  • Sao Tome and Principe

Additionally, significant populations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America speak languages known as Portuguese Creoles that have been heavily influenced by Portuguese.