Language Services Bureau was proud to be associated with the World Skill Contest 2017 organized in Pune, in the first week of November by a major Automobile Manufacturer of India - we provided 14 interpreters for the contest and translated the question papers into 9 foreign languages for the written tests .. along with languages like Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, Nepali, Bangla, were rare languages like Khmer and Philipino .. to name a few! The interpreters facilitated communication between the examiners and candidates and helped them win different award categories!
We have often come across clients who require interpreters for their important meetings, audits, conferences or seminars .. however instead of approaching professionals, they hire their friends, colleagues, or even students to do the job!
The result is disastrous, to say the least!
Just like one can’t become a mathematician since one knows maths, or a scientist as one has learned science in school and college, similarly, just because a language is your mother tongue or as you have learned a foreign language, you don’t become qualified to do interpretation in that language!
If such people are hired for interpretation – there is either over-translation or under-translation – that means, the message is not communicated completely – it is either communicated with the extra information from interpreters or with omissions. Such misinterpretation can build up into one big misunderstanding or issues which are unpredictable in nature!
No communication is surely better than miscommunication!
In fact, in most countries where Interpretation is required frequently and recognized as a profession, there exist specific Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct for the professionals who adhere to it.
Several specializations exist in interpretation – Every specialization requires knowledge of the domain in which work is to be done, along with sound and solid knowledge of the two languages concerned.
- technical interpretation,
- medical interpretation
- legal/court interpretation
- conference interpretation (simultaneous)
Imagine a technical interpreter who doesn’t know what a camshaft is or what it is called in the target language!
Or medical interpreters who can help communicate neither the doctors’ instructions to the patient nor the patients’ complaints to the doctor properly!!
In the US or Europe, the respective Government tries to rope in interpreters for different communities which lack basic amenities and are fighting for their rights like refugees, etc. One misinterpreted message, and it can add to the miseries of the suffering people.
Imagine an international conference where multi-lingual interpretation is required. Once the main interpreter communicates what is being said in Spanish into English, the others interpret the message from English into various other languages. They will have to pass on an incorrect message if that is what comes through from the main Spanish-English interpreter!
It is therefore of paramount importance that the interpreters hired in all these circumstances are experienced professionals with knowledge of the specific field!
An Unorganized sector in India
The Language Industry is still not a formally pronounced and recognized Industry in India. Most people work as freelancers. Formal education in interpretation does not exist in most Indian languages, and at very few universities for foreign languages. This leads to multiple problems for the end client:
- No shows – the interpreter doesn’t show up at the last minute, without any update nor replacement
- Timing issues – the interpreter shows up late, leaves early, takes leave without informing anybody
- Lack of language skills – the so-called “interpreter” doesn’t know the spoken language well or isn’t confident enough to speak it
- Lack of specialized knowledge – the interpreter doesn’t know the topic well or hasn’t researched well.
- Lack of specialization – since this is not a formal industry, specialized interpreters are hard to find. The interpreters, therefore, have to prepare for every assignment depending on the domain and the requirements by asking for specific documentation/plans/agendas/drawings, etc. so as to be abreast with the discussions that will take place
- Lack of professional conduct – Sometimes, wearing the right clothes or speaking clearly and professionally is a basic expectation but something that is not usually spoken and communicated. It could so happen that the interpreter doesn’t know his/her limits and tries to be over friendly with the people he is working with and either one of the two parties (client or his client) has to face embarrassing situations.
- Lack of (good quality) interpretation equipment – it is imperative to use good quality equipment for simultaneous interpretation - a separate interpreter booth, high-quality audio system, headsets, Microphones of all types, Sound desks, Speaker consoles, Receivers and headsets, Public address equipment, Mobile equipment, etc. is an absolute must .. and without it, however experienced the interpreter is, the entire exercise of interpretation is a total waste!
- Lack of fitness – apart from physical fitness since assignments can involve working 10 hours or more without many breaks, continuously moving around a factory or interpreting for meetings for even longer, talking continuously where mental fitness comes into the picture, sometimes the most crucial fitness can be hearing ability or ability to speak clearly!!
- Ignorance about team interpreting – in simultaneous interpretation, for a requirement of more than 1-2 hours, team interpreting is required, so as to provide much-needed breaks to the interpreters involved. It is also required since both interpreters can support each other so as to not miss important data related to numbers, names, dates, and quite simply to correct in case something is incorrectly interpreted. Most clients don’t know about this or want to cut costs and not hire more than 1 interpreter for the whole day. This however adversely affects the interpretation quality.
Experience matters! At LSB, we have provided professional interpretation services at
- audits (for quality, Six Sigma or pharma industries),
- technical training,
- technical meetings,
- technical repair and maintenance tasks on the shop floor,
- skill contests,
- new product development,
- at hospitals or courts,
- and more!!
Trust us for your next interpretation requirement and get in touch with us for all your language requirements on firstname.lastname@example.org!