Recognizing that interpreting is needed is pretty obvious. When language barriers stand in the way of effective communication, it's no secret that a solution needs to be found. But finding the right solution for your particular problem can quickly become overwhelming. It isn't enough to find a bilingual person and move ahead with hopes that a quick switch from language A into language B is going to resolve a language difficulty. It is important to know what interpreting involves, and how to most easily find the services that you need.
Often, when a language barrier inhibits communication, the nearest bilingual person is pulled into the situation to mediate. The average person described as bilingual speaks two languages and that is also true of interpreters, but that's where the similarities end. Professional interpreters can not only speak two languages, they are also intimately familiar with the cultures associated with those languages, trained in transferring information from one language to the other without changing the meaning or intent of the words, able to remain impartial, and unflappable in the face of translating demands. Interpreters are specialists in their field.
Modes of Language Interpretation
Interpreting doesn't take a single form. There are actually three common ways that information can be interpreted; although, other forms are used as well.
In consecutive interpreting (CI), the interpreter takes turns with the other speakers. This affords a more accurate, more accessible interpretation than simultaneous interpretation can offer. Speaker A will speak and stop. The interpreter will speak and stop. Person B will speak and stop and so on. If a long statement is made, the interpreter will likely take notes to guarantee the information conveyed is accurate; this is called "long CI." Consecutive interpreting is the form used by remote interpreting, for many meetings, for some medical consultations and for certain court proceedings.
In simultaneous interpreting (SI) the message is interpreted into the target-language as quickly as the interpreter can translate it from the source language. This is done while the source-language speaker continuously converses. Simultaneous interpreting is common in court rooms, at conferences, on tours, and at the UN.
In sight translation, a source language document is orally translated, often with little or no preparation. Sight translation is useful in medical, legal, and business scenarios where the course of an interpreted conversation relies upon mutual understanding of a document.
Hiring a Service
The best possible use of time and money is to work through a professional interpretation service or agency, which provides smooth, bi-directional interpreting via a remote live interpreter, on-demand, 24/7. If cost is a concern, know that an agency only charges for the time taken with the actual interpreting and that the cost of the language services will undeniably be less than the cost of miscommunication. In healthcare, lack of communication leads to unnecessary testing, repeat visits because of faulty aftercare, lack of comprehensive preventative care, and a host of other expenses. In the business sector, time is money. Meetings are arranged to increase profits and having a mutual understanding of the meeting is the very foundation of its success. It must happen.
When finding an interpreter through an agency, be prepared: know which languages (including dialects) are needed and the setting of the interaction. Companies like Ablio who have built a strong community of interpreters, list its interpreters' languages and the areas of their expertise. Look for language services that are appropriate to your needs and situation.
There are certainly times where you need language services and you don't know it until the matter is at hand. Agencies are definitely the way to go in this scenario. An interpreter will be on the phone and working to facilitate communication immediately. If, however, you have some time to prepare, contact an interpreter ahead of time and help them to understand the nature of the interpreting, the topics under discussion, and any important documentation that will be dealt with. Building that rapport will make the interpretation more successful and will develop a connection with the interpreter, who you can choose to use regularly.
Whether an interpreter has been prepped ahead of time or is called upon to instantly leap into the language services task at hand, using a professional agency makes sure that the interpreter you access will be a trained professional with all the necessary skills and expertise to guarantee every advantage.