Package Insert 35
Interesting facts and figures for customers and partners of mt-g.
October 2015
New service
Interpreting: listening in one language, speaking in another
In the thriller "The Interpreter", directed by Sydney Pollack, Nicole Kidman plays an interpreter at the United Nations in New York. She happens to overhear a conversation about a plot to assassinate the head of a fictitious African state. Admittedly, events such as those portrayed in the film are not exactly common occurrences in the life of an interpreter. Nevertheless, mt-g's extensive range of interpreting services is well worth a look.

There's interpreting and then there's interpreting: there is little general awareness of the various interpreting techniques and how they differ and yet this makes a crucial difference when it comes to project planning and to hiring an interpreter. Besides the right technique, other fundamental factors also have to be considered:

  • The source and target languages (language combinations)
  • The number and make-up of the participants
  • The theme of the event, including reference materials
  • The event type
  • The technical facilities
  • The interpreting technique
  • The venue, date, time and how long the interpreting assignment will last

Understandably, it is crucially important to decide on the language combinations. What language will the speaker be using, what languages do the listeners understand? What countries do the participants come from? Will those present be allowed to ask questions, is a discussion planned? Particularly when it comes to medical and pharmaceutical subjects, the choice of interpreter has to be made carefully – he must not only possess the desired language combination but also have perfect mastery of the technical vocabulary. He must also be capable of interpreting the small talk with charm during the breaks. Ideally, the interpreters whom mt-g vets and engages are provided with reference materials by the customer, so that they can prepare for the assignment. This means that they can familiarise themselves with the nuts and bolts of the theme and get acquainted with the customer's technical terminology.

The type of event determines the number of interpreters required, the technical facilities and the interpreting technique. Is it a large-scale conference, a small-group product presentation or a dinner followed by a fireside chat? Soundproof booths and transmission technology in perfect working order, with microphones, transmitters, receivers and headphones, are vital for a conference with several hundred delegates. Will the technology have to be hired separately or are the facilities available at the venue? At a celebratory dinner, a more appropriate interpreting method might be to whisper.

Simultaneous or consecutive

The most well-known interpreting technique is simultaneous interpreting, in which statements are conveyed almost in real time – the interpreter hears the source language and interprets directly into the target language. An incredible feat, demanding the utmost concentration. This is why simultaneous interpreters mostly work in a team and change over every 20 to 30 minutes. Typical assignments are multilingual conferences and negotiations. The technique known as whispered interpreting is a special type of simultaneous interpreting. Here, the interpreter sits immediately behind the listener and – as the name suggests – whispers the translation directly into the person's ear.

With consecutive interpreting, longish segments of speech are conveyed with a time delay. The interpreter takes notes and does not translate until the speaker stops. Depending on the length of the presentation, this might also require several interpreters. Typical events where this interpreting technique is employed are welcome addresses, commemorative speeches, as well as guided tours and bilateral negotiations. A special form of consecutive interpreting is conversation or negotiation interpreting. So that everyone around the table can follow the conversation without any problems, the interpreter translates in segments with a time delay.

As well as mastering one or more language combinations and fields of expertise, professional interpreters – also listed under the term ‘conference interpreters’ – can handle all interpreting techniques.

Are you planning an event on a topic relating to the medical and pharmaceutical industry and looking for qualified interpreters? Then look no further than mt-g. Our team will work with you to identify your individual requirements and make you a suitable quotation. We will help you choose the interpreter and, if you so wish, can assist you with the preparations for the interpreting assignment and with implementing it.

Your contact:
Bernd Mayer
Tel. +49 731 176397-30
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