Many people confuse interpretation with translation, although they’re different linguistic disciplines. While translation means the conversion of mainly textual content from one language to another or multiple targets, interpretation refers to the conversion of speech or verbal information from one language to another.
Interpretation is particularly useful in settings such as a business meeting with delegates or executives from other countries speaking a different language. Of course, you’ll need an interpreter that understands both languages perfectly to make communication possible. For instance, a meeting between an English-speaking executive and a Mandarin-speaking executive will require an interpreter with an excellent language command of English and Mandarin to break the language barrier.
Interpreting services come in several varieties, and you can’t use all of them for a single purpose. So, “How do you know what’s the right type o interpretation service for you?” Let’s find out.
The Different Types of Interpretation Services
Simultaneous interpreting is when an interpreter translates the verbal message from the speaker’s language to the listener’s language in real time. In simple terms, simultaneous interpretation is translating a speech while it’s being given or spoken with a delay of 10-30 seconds or thereabouts. In this case, both the speaker and interpreter are communicating at the same time.
This type of interpretation is ideal for longer events, such as conferences and large meetings, where interpreting is needed continuously. It’s a very difficult skill to master because it places huge pressure on the interpreter.
Consecutive interpreting is done by the interpreter when the speaker finishes their message. It involves a break in the speech of about 10–30 seconds, giving the interpreter extra time to translate what has been said.
In this type of interpreting service, memory or note-taking abilities play a crucial role because a lot of information can be delivered in just a few seconds. Consecutive interpreting works best for small gatherings or one-on-one meetings where the conversation allows for pauses to interpret.
Liaison or Bilateral Interpreting
Bilateral interpreting is a type of interpreting that includes an interpreter between two parties. This service is typically hired when an individual or a group pays a visit to a country that speaks a foreign language.
For instance, a business delegate from Ghana visits Japan. On arrival, the delegate is assigned a liaison interpreter, making communication with the Japanese people easier in various settings. Often there is an informal side to bilateral interpreting, including assisting at functions, and weddings or acting as a chaperone for the person visiting the new country.
Whispered Interpreting or Chuchogate
Chucogate is a form of interpreting in which the interpreter whispers what the speaker is saying to the client in their native language. This service can also be delivered by making use of whisper sound technology. It’s ideal in small group settings. It compensates for the absence of a headset-based interpretative service.
Relay or Indirect Interpreting
Relay interpreting is a form of interpreting service that involves two or more interpreters. One of the interpreters is in charge of listening to the speaker and then translating the message into a language that’s common for all the interpreters.
It is mostly used at events where the audience speaks multiple languages, or when no interpreter can be found for a specific language combination.
For instance, you may need a Russian-Portuguese translator, which will be very hard to find, but finding a Russian-English or Portuguese-English translator will be much easier, so you get both. To make the Russian-Portuguese translation work, the speech will first be translated into English by the other interpreter, who then translates it into Portuguese for the listener.
On-Site or In-Person Interpreting
On-site interpreting basically means that the interpreting is with the client on-site. It is a type of interpreting modality that’s convenient when the client has speaking or hearing difficulties, as it allows language interpreters to use body language and other nonverbal cues to provide meaning and context that might be lost over the phone.
Onsite interpretation allows for more personal interaction between the interpreter and non-English speaker which makes it ideal for face-to-face interactions, such as meetings, conferences, and client visits.
Over the Phone Interpreting
Over the Phone Interpreting (OPI) is used as an on-demand where interpreters are on standby to interpret your conversations. This can be because you are connected on a 3-way call (you, client, interpreter) or your client is in your office and you share the phone or put it on speaker. No matter the need, OPI is as simple as dialing a 1-800 number and putting in your access code. This means that there is no need to schedule an interpreter in advance because there will always be one available.
Remote interpreting helps to facilitate a communication exchange between the participants, no matter where they are located. It is particularly useful when there is a lack of funding or if the location of the event is tricky. This type of interpreting service requires the use of cloud-based platforms (Zoom, Teams, WebEx, etc.) to guarantee there is no lag in communication and comes in two varieties: video remote interpreting or remote simultaneous interpreting.
Video Remote Interpreting
Video remote interpreting helps provides communication between staff, business partners, or clients with limited English proficiency or who are deaf or hard of hearing. Like remote interpreting, it connects multiple parties together without the need for the interpreter to be physically present. VRI is an effective language barrier solution because it is instant, mobile, and more economical than other types of interpreting services.