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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between translation and interpretation?

Glad you are wondering. This is a question that often needs clarification. In the industry, Translation is used referring to work in the written form, while Interpretation is used for work in the oral form.  I.e. we translate a website and interpret a seminar. The skills required are quite different.

What are the most common modes of interpretation?

Commercially, Consecutive and Simultaneous are the most used types or modes of interpretation.

  • Consecutive interpretation is when the speaker and the interpreter take turns speaking. It takes longer, but in classroom settings for example, where complex ideas are shared or where hands-on activities are used, it is a common mode of interpreting.

  • Simultaneous interpretation is when the speaker does not stop, rather the interpretation happens at the same time with a separate audio channel or device. It is a more efficient use of time and generally used in conferences and large events where time is at a premium.


In both cases, interpretation is a mental job and requires focus, concentration, and familiarity/preparation on the subject which the presenter is elaborating on.


Other modes of interpretation include sight interpretation, sign interpretation used for the deaf and hard of hearing community, and summary interpretation used in conversation, informal settings.


What is machine translation?

Computer technologies have been working for years on translating content semi and automatically, to different degrees of success and quality. Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others have developed free online translating Apps. Using them will get you a rough idea, that definitely needs human, professional translation attention. On average the quality is at 80%, which may be ok for an idea, but the issues that are addressed in the 20% left are generally the critical and key issues in the communication. The more specialized your subject matter is, the more impactful it is to have a professional serving your interests.

What is Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) software?

In the business of translating, many details and processes are needed to ensure efficiency and quality.  CAT software helps manage many logistical, repetitive, and analytical aspects of translation. Even in the content translation itself, CAT platforms help eliminate repeat words, and translation memories make the job more efficient (i.e. once a word or a group of words is translated, it will be leveraged again when translating the whole material). 

A professional translation provider should be able to help you select an appropriate CAT platform according to your environment and long-term goals. Every day we grow to become a more and more global community where language and culture play a key role in communicating with one another and with our markets.


What is localization?

Localization accounts for the slang, jargon, idioms and uniqueness of a country, a region, or a community. Think for a second on the differences between how a baby boomer, a GenX or a millennial individual might speak, or the differences between an Englishmen or an American, or a New Englander vs. a Southerner.  Every language and country in the world have similar groupings or characteristics. Localized translation helps ensure your content resonates with the market you are trying to reach.

Quality in a world of too many details?

Yes, this is the reality for linguists and all individuals involved in this industry: tons of details that matter and make a difference. QUALITY TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION matters, it makes a difference.

Your cousin’s friend who is bilingual will do a great job at the family party, but they may not be the one you want to interpret your presentation at the board meeting, at the vendor award ceremony or virtually addressing the new online visitor when they arrive at your company’s website.

When do we need to use interpretation equipment? What are its implications?

Equipment is used for simultaneous interpretation. The interpreter uses a transmitter, the speaker uses a microphone, and the listener uses a headset to hear what is being interpreted. If you are planning to use this modality often, purchasing equipment would be a good idea, otherwise it can be rented easily. Conferences and large events require more sophisticated equipment to handle multi-lingual, simultaneous interpretation for large audiences.


When are two interpreters needed?

The job of the interpreter is one of focus and highly attuned concentration. Every interpreter’s level of mental agility is different but in general, after 25-40 minutes, the brain starts showing signs of fatigue (i.e. your quickness to reach for meaning or understand intent slows down, your reaction time or processing time to the flow of thought is not as quick as before). For the sake of clarity and accuracy, this requires that a second interpreter jump in and work in tandem, providing a fresh and sharp mind for the job at these intervals.

Not being sensitive to this lessens the quality of the interpretation.


What is the difference between In-person Vs. Remote interpretation?

In-person interpretation happens at the event, where the interpreter is in attendance. Remote means the interpreter may be at a different location such as with an online event. The work is similar in skill-set; however, remote interpretation includes handling of different level of technology. This technology and audience management can be accomplished on the client side or by the language provider. Depending on the type of event you are hosting, the number of attendees and their level of comfort with internet technologies, you may require the assistance of a “moderator” or facilitator role.

What is Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI)?

It is the modality where simultaneous interpretation and multi-lingual interpretation can happen live and virtually (online). It is a must and an ideal solution during the current COVID-19 crisis because it allows everybody to be physically separate and still continue to interact and work together. The central technology is around voice quality and management since they are key to hearing, understanding, and managing the flow of different language/voice channels. This technology also accommodates separate visual components to be seen in different languages.

Remote Simultaneous Interpretation is a great option for the COVID-19 crisis time and has proven to be a great option for effective time and cost management of regional, national, and international audiences coming together.

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