Interpreters and Translators: Different Skills, Same High Standards
Interpretation and translation are two separate specialties and like speaking and writing, involve an entirely different set of skills and expertise. Both skills imply a fluency in and a love of language, an ear and eye for detail and for discerning meaning rapidly and most of all accurately. Arguably, both skills are more similar than they are different, however most people do not do both in a professional setting.
Translators are Driven to Find the Exact, Right Word
Translators must be able to write accurately and expressively in the target language. They need to understand the source language in its cultural complexity as well as any technical jargon or vocabulary necessary to translate a document. Translators have a kind of love affair with the process of finding the exact and most accurate word possible in translation. Nothing less will suffice. While they are able to draw on their own deep familiarity and knowledge of a language an able translator will also make good use of dictionaries and reference materials, knowing when to look and where to look to render material in a way that is technically proficient and accurate to the original intention. A good translator is also able to read accurately and understand the significance and importance of stylistic devices and tone in a document, rendering it with a full range of meaning.
At Chang-Castillo and Associates we make sure that our translators are mother tongue speakers who have a deep knowledge of the target language, that they have the target language in their bones so to speak. deeply embedded and available in all its complexity.
Interpreters Think on their Feet
Interpreters must think on their feet. Often they will interpret a speech while the speaker is talking, a form of interpretation called “simultaneous interpreting”. This necessitates that the interpreter also possess excellent public speaking skills since they must render a speech nimbly and with the original tone. Obviously, this type of interpreter cannot access dictionaries and technical resources while working and instead must rely on their deep knowledge of the target language’s colloquialisms and idiomatic phrases so that the speech is rendered as a whole, without a feeling of being fragmented or stilted. However, while an interpreter cannot access a dictionary or a technical glossary, it should be noted that professional simultaneous interpreters never work alone. They are part of a team usually consisting of at least two interpreters — and sometimes even three. So in lieu of being able to check a dictionary or a glossary, their colleagues may assist so that words flow and meaning is not lost.
Interpreters have to memorize quickly in short bursts the speaker’s words and render them with agile fluency to the audience. Like a good translator these skills are built up over time with experience and also drawn from natural language abilities and innate talent. The goal of a simultaneous interpretation is for listeners to feel that they are being spoken to in their own language. Interpreters who are able to synthesize these elements rapidly and skillfully are in demand.
Here at Chang-Castillo and Associates we work hard to make sure your projects are served with the right interpreters and translators for the job. Our years of experience enable us to choose the best person for the job, the one who understands nuance, context and who has the tools to get the work done. Contact us today to find out more!