What are the Fields of Specialization for an Interpreter?
As communication between nations becomes more and more necessary, the need for highly qualified interpreters expands. If you are considering a career in interpreting, or are considering hiring an interpreter for a specific need, you should be aware of the various specializations in the field. There are various types of interpreting, each requiring a different skill set. The more focused your field of choice— the easier it will be for you to master that specific vocabulary. Likewise, selecting an interpreter with the appropriate specialization will ensure the greatest level of expertise for your interpretation needs. The six most common fields of interpreting include: conference, guide, media, public sector, medical, and legal. Below is a brief summary of each type of specialization for an interpreter and what it entails.
Conference, Media and Guide
Conference interpreters usually work for private or international institutions (EU and UN, for instance), or as freelancers. The top conference interpreters belong to the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). This is an elite organization with rigorous requirements, including sponsorship by existing members.
Interpreters in the media sector typically interpret live news, press conferences and interviews. Media interpreters may mimic the sound of the speaker they are interpreting to give an authentic feel.
A guide interpreter works as a liaison for a person or several people in a more intimate meeting or tour. The interpreter will be a partner in the conversation, and it flows back and forth via the interpreter.
Public Sector, Medical and Legal Fields
Public sector interpretation can involve some of each of the specific fields and interpreting is done within the community, in the sectors concerning welfare, education, housing, and environmental health. This field can involve the most emotionally charged interpreting.
Medical interpretation is one of the more challenging fields, as it requires fluency in two languages as well as thorough medical knowledge. A medical interpreter must be very well-versed in medical terminology and common conditions, in order to avoid life-altering miscommunications. Medical interpreters should have a primary background in a medical profession.
Legal interpreters are critically scrutinized and generally need some form of legal background or familiarity with law. Because the fate of a person is in the hands of the interpreter, it is crucial that the interpreter has a firm grasp on both languages as well as on legal nuances. There can be any number of consequences from poor interpretation in the legal field.
Whether you are looking to specialize in your career as an interpreter or making sure you have the right interpreter for your needs, knowing about the different options available can help you make the right choice. Look to Chang-Castillo and Associates to guide you in the right direction.