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Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators

Interpreters

Conveying texts orally from a source language to a target language


Interpreting is the oral transfer of spoken or written texts. Graduate interpreters are professional linguists who have successfully attended courses of study at universities or comparable educational institutions to learn the techniques for the simultaneous or consecutive interpreting of speeches, public addresses, discussions and negotiations.  Interpreters have an excellent command of the languages in which they work, are familiar with several specialist fields, and prepare thoroughly for dealing with the subject matter of their assignments.


Typical fields of activity for interpreters:

Fields of activity of interpeters

Conference interpreters

Interpreters who have mastered all disciplines of interpreting – simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, conversation interpreting and whispered interpreting. Conference interpreters are also available to provide assistance in the organization of an event that must to be interpreted.

Court interpreters

also: sworn interpreters – interpreters who are sworn according to the legal provisions of the respective federal state by the  responsible authority in general and are used by courts, notaries public, the police and authorities (also see certification).

In the framework of their activity, interpreters apply the following interpreting techniques

Consecutive interpreting

In consecutive interpreting, after lengthy portions of the original text have been spoken, the interpreter then provides an oral rendering of that text in another language on the basis of notes he/she has taken during the original text by using a special note-taking technique. The number of consecutive interpreters required depends on the degree of difficulty of the subject matter and on the duration of the assignment.

Areas of use:

Generally used for speeches at dinners and the opening of public events, bilateral negotiations, ceremonial occasions (formal speeches), lectures, presentations, guided tours, etc. About twice the time needed for simultaneous interpreting should be scheduled for consecutive interpreting.

Simultaneous interpreting

In simultaneous interpreting, spoken words are interpreted into another language at almost the same time as they are spoken. This requires an extremely high level of attention and concentration. A simultaneous interpreting assignment therefore requires the presence of at least two duly qualified interpreters, working in a soundproof interpreting booth, alternating with one another and providing mutual support.

Areas of use:

multilingual events, conferences, symposia, negotiations, shows, galas, etc.


Liaison interpreting

In liaison interpreting (a special form of consecutive interpreting) relatively short passages of text are interpreted into another language after they have been spoken.

Areas of use:

“round table” negotiations, technical discussions (on-site presentations of machinery), conversations at meals, etc.

Chuchotage

also: Chuchotage – Whispered interpreting is a special form of simultaneous interpreting that can only be used in certain situations. The interpreter stands behind (or next to) the person requiring this service and whispers the interpreted version of the spoken text to him/her. As with simultaneous interpreting, whispered interpreting has to be performed by at least two fully qualified conference interpreters: for reasons of acoustics and in the interests of other persons present, this service can only be provided for one listener (or at most for two).

In special cases – such as guided tours of companies or cities – interpreting for fairly small groups can also be performed by means of tour guide systems specially designed for such situations. These systems, however, are not suitable for use as alternatives to interpreters’ booths at major events (because of possible background noise and the fact that the main speaker and the interpreter are speaking at the same time).

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