The interpretation of languages (unlike the acting interpretation) is a profession that until recently was a great unknown and today, despite the large number of schools where they taught and the great need for interpreters in English, French, German..., duly trained, qualified and true professionals, the truth is that the general public still does not know very well what this profession consists of.
Anyone who has had to organize an international congress or meeting, of whatever scale, will have faced the difficulty of hiring these language professionals. Moreover, they have a significant impact on the medical field. There are medical interpreters and translators that help to convey or read the correct information. Also, people frequently hire or get help from a medical ASL translator /interpreter in many conditions.
Translators and interpreters?
In many cases, translation professionals are also great interpreters and vice versa, but not always.
The first difference is that translation requires much more "intimate" work, with little contact with the client or the public. Interpretation, by contrast, requires certain social skills that not everyone handles.
Expectations and reality
When a student chooses to be an interpreting professional, he usually thinks of business meetings, round tables, conferences...
Thus, one of the "natural" settings for interpreters is international conferences, where professionals often work in booths, in pairs.
Another context where interpreters can be found is in internal meetings of multinational companies or in meetings of several companies from different countries, for example.
Although a priori many people may be surprised, interpreting in court is a very frequent practice, even for local trials where for some reason people of other nationalities intervene who do not speak or speak little Spanish.
In fact, interpreters are involved in many legal acts, including weddings and divorces!
However, the truth is that interpreters can end up stained with mud, machine oil or flying in a helicopter because the need for communication goes far beyond heated offices or large congress centers.
It is obvious that you cannot go in a suit or high heels to visit a factory and on more than one occasion the interpreter will have to spend many hours standing in cold places with a high level of noise, translating the explanations on the operation of a machine to visitors to a plant, for example.
Without technology, we work worse
Interpreters have a great ally in technology.
Today, in addition, we can move while listening to a speaker in a language and translating through a microphone and headphones system to the public, with equipment similar to that used by tour guides.
This, of course, has saved many pharyngitides over the years and has dramatically improved the quality of service provided by interpreters.
The interpreter does not fall from the sky
It is common to hear a complaint about the interpretation fees. Clients often believe that the interpreter charges for the service they provide on the day or days in question.
The reality, however, is very different.
In any case, the interpreter will always prepare the material. It will do internet searches; It will try to listen to presentations by the same speaker, if it is a conference with guests with international repercussions, for example; will seek the most up-to-date information on the subject of the congress, meeting or trial; if it is a technical question, the machines or devices to be discussed will be detailed; You will prepare one or more glossaries and you will always have online dictionaries at hand in case a term comes up that you are unfamiliar with at work.
This work can take several days and, of course, many hours. The goal is for there to be no question about what is being communicated on the day that really matters.
Therefore, it is incorrect to assume that the client pays only for a few hours of work: actually, he is hiring a professional who starts working for him many days before they meet, and who, on the day in question, will always be a partner that will help everything to go well, dialoguing with the technicians, helping to find solutions to any unforeseen technical issue, for example, and making themselves available to the client to adapt to the circumstances of the work and ensure that the people who have to receive the information they do as they wish, with clarity and precision.