If you are looking for an interpreter, or a company providing an interpreter, then you need to keep a few things in mind. Find some detailed information in the article below and ask questions while trying to find interpreters qualified for the type of project you are requesting help for.
- the location
- the type of interpretation
- any qualifications, or certifications, necessary to get the project completed
When is comes to the location of where you will need the interpreting performed, check to see if you will need to cover the travel expenses involved in getting an interpreter to your location of choice. For some basic languages, for example Spanish, you will find that there is a high supply of interpreters available. You should not need to provide travel expenses for such a highly requested and supplied language. For a language like Hindi, however, you might need to bring in an interpreter from several hundred miles away and therefore pay for travel and lodging.
Type of Interpretation: Simultaneous vs Consecutive
Typically, while performing Simultaneous Interpreting, the interpreter sits in a booth wearing a pair of headphones and speaks into a microphone. Do realize that this interpretation is in fact, not quite simultaneous. This might be a bit too much information, but depending on how far apart in the sentence to be interpreted the subject and the verb are located, the interpreter may not be able to utter even a single word until he or she has heard the entire sentence!
This fact should make it evident how difficult the task of the interpreter really is: he/she must translate the sentence into the target language while simultaneously listening to and comprehending the next sentence. You can experience the difficulty of the task even if you only speak one language: try paraphrasing someone’s speech with a half-sentence delay while making sure you understand the next sentence and paraphrasing the previous one.
Helpful Point: If you are in need of simultaneous interpretation, provide the interpreter with as much information prior to the project such as key words, words that are unique to your project and made up words and acronyms. Think about it this way, any delay and a few words (and possibly a complete thought) that the speaker uttered could be lost, and since the speaker may be far away (teleconference) , or even in a different room than the interpreter, the loss may be permanent.
During Consecutive Interpreting the speaker stops every few moments (usually at the end of every “paragraph” or complete thought) and the interpreter then steps in to render what was said into the target language. A key skill involved in consecutive interpreting is note-taking, since few people can memorize a full paragraph in one hearing without loss of detail. Consecutive interpretation can be very exact or paraphrasing may be all that is necessary.
For more information about interpreting and how it differs from translating, check out our upcoming article, which we will post tomorrow.
Qualifications: Certified Interpreters
Special thanks to the United States Courts Website for this up-to-date information:
Court Certified interpreters have passed the Administrative Office certification examination. To date, certification programs have been developed for Spanish, Navajo and Haitian Creole. In these languages, the courts will select interpreters who have met the Administrative Office’s criteria for certification if the judge determines that certified interpreters are reasonably available.
The Administrative Office’s Spanish-English Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination is administered in two phases. Candidates must pass the written exam in order to qualify to take an oral examination. The oral examination measures a candidate’s ability to accurately perform simultaneous as well as consecutive interpretation and sight translations as encountered in the federal courts. The certification programs for Navajo and Haitian Creole are no longer offered.
For other languages, individuals may contact local federal courts to determine if that court has a need for the language of expertise. The local federal court will determine on a case-by-case basis whether the prospective interpreter is either professionally qualified or language skilled. In languages other than Spanish, Navajo and Haitian-Creole, interpreters are designated as:
- professionally qualified
- language skilled
Professionally Qualified Interpreters
The category of professionally qualified (P.Q.) interpreters applies to all languages, except those for which the AO has certified interpreters (Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole). Credentials for professionally qualified interpreters require sufficient documentation and authentication, and must meet the criteria in one of the following:
(a) Passed the U.S. Department of State conference or seminar interpreter test in a language pair that includes English and the target language. The U.S. Department of State’s escort interpreter test is not accepted as qualifying.
(b) Passed the interpreter test of the United Nations in a language pair that includes English and the target language.
(c) Is a current member in good standing of:
(1) the Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence (AIIC); or (2) The American Association of Language Specialists (TAALS). The language pair of the membership qualification must be English and the target language.
(d) For sign language interpreters, someone who holds the Specialist Certificate: Legal (SC:L) of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).
Language Skilled/Ad Hoc Interpreters
An Interpreter who does not qualify as a professionally qualified interpreter, but who can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court the ability to interpret court proceedings from English to a designated language and from that language into English, will be classified as a language skilled/ad hoc interpreter. Certified and professionally qualified interpreters are paid at a higher rate than language skilled/ad hoc interpreter