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Everything You Should Know About Political Interpretation

  • Categories: Interpreting
  • Written By: Torjoman
  • Date: May 7, 2020

Interpretation is, lexically, rendering a spoken message into another spoken language, keeping the meaning and register of the source language content.

Yet, on the ground, interpreting is viewed as the spoken language communication between users of different languages. Therefore, the interpreter is the translator (so he or she still is a translator!) who interprets not only the meaning, but also the tone and intent of the original message into the target language. 

 

Types of Interpretation

Whatever the source and target languages, interpretation services generally fall under a number of categories, including:

 

Simultaneous Interpretation

Also known as conference translation, simultaneous interpretation is usually used in international events, meetings and, mostly, in environments where two or more languages are required.

The simultaneous interpretation service usually takes the form of an interpreter or interpreters sitting in a booth, listening to speakers via a headset, and then translating into a microphone, which is wirelessly transmitted to headsets worn by audience members.

 

Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is usually used in press conferences, interviews, meetings, welcome speeches, negotiations, presentations, and working breakfasts/lunches.

It usually takes the form of a person making a speech or conducting a presentation in a language, and then an interpreter, sitting at his or her side, reproduces the same speech in the language of the listeners. The speaker usually stops in his or her speech now and then so that the interpreter can have the opportunity to reproduce his or her speech in the target language.

 

Liaison Interpreting

This type of service usually takes place on business trips and in dealings with foreign people in such environments as sightseeing, international agencies and others ─ where the interpreter works as a liaison between people who speak different languages, interpreting the speech content in both directions.

 

However, we still have an important question: what is the difference between translators and interpreters ─ if any?!

 

Interpreter Versus Translator

A translator is definitely different from an interpreter ─ in terms of skills, experience and work scope. To take only one difference, the translator has the luxury to spend as long as it is required to ensure a translation is accurate, whereas the interpreter cannot study the words that need interpreting before an event. So, to do their job, interpreters should work hard to gain the right skills which would enable them to deliver efficient, accurate interpretation on the spot and under pressure.

Therefore, given that the interpreter is not the same as the translator, we still need to know what political interpreting is.

 

The “What” and the “Where” of Political Interpretation

In this strategic sphere, it’s the job of an interpreter to make understanding easier among political figures, diplomats and government officials who speak different languages, ensuring that everyone who is listening will understand what is being said. Therefore, he or she helps to keep political exchanges more transparent and straightforward.

Political interpreting services are required for the meetings of such organizations as North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Parliamentary sessions of the European Parliament, World Trade Organization (WTO), global leaders at overseas venues, the European Union and official state visits for foreign leaders. This type of service is also needed for business, diplomatic and political press conferences, speeches related to international issues, as well as the live broadcast of political events.

When it comes to any of the United Nations conferences, based on where it is held, one of the organization’ s six official languages ─ English, French, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Russian ─  will be the main conference language, and it will be simultaneously interpreted into the other five languages by experts at political interpreting.

 

So, the question remains with us: Do we have any set of competencies that is characteristic of political interpreters?

 

The Skills Needed for Political Interpreters

Big yes! This is the answer to the question of the last paragraph.

First of all, since the domain of politics normally covers a wide spectrum of topics that are related to many regions of the world, a political interpreter should be highly knowledgeable about almost all current events and affairs. 

Particularly, a political interpreter should be rich in all “organizational skills”, must be able to stay focused on different tasks, and should be gifted with an aptitude for scanning as many documents related to the events as he or she can beforehand.

Also, a good political interpreter should stay updated on new political expressions and terms, must follow newsworthy events and look at news reports and political reviews ─ so that he or she can interpret with clarity, accuracy, and speed.

 

 

Interpretation challenges

As in all important professions, an interpreter, whether new or professional, usually faces many challenges in his or her effort to promote communication and facilitate understanding. Some of these challenges are:

1-Stress:

interpreters are always under stress as their output is continuously scrutinized by others, especially when they do their work in diplomatic settings. Worse, interpreters are often used as scapegoats especially when frictions occur between parties – with misunderstandings normally attributed to misinterpretation. The only solution we know to this issue consists in time and experience. With them, these problems are easily mitigated.

2- Language Variations:

Take the example of Arabic, in which words could have different meanings in Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Morocco. This also happens with English, Spanish, German and other languages. Again, if the interpreter wants to bridge lexical or conceptual gaps, it’s his or her job to stay updated with language trends and should always pay attention to all language variations, including those of pronunciation.

3- Humor, Cynicism, Jokes, etc.:

Interpreters usually face these situations, which are part and parcel of their job. They have a duty to keep the message’s integrity intact while interpreting any humorous comment within the speech they are translating.  The only solution is for the interpreter to keep an eye on any cultural aspects involved, and be ready to convey the message across linguistic and cultural barriers.

 

Why Torjoman’s Interpreting Services Superior?

At Torjoman, we take pride in having a professional team of certified interpreters in major areas and all regions of the Gulf and the Middle East available for your business at any time. Our certified interpreters have full command of the languages they work with, excellent cultural knowledge, and extensive international experience ─ which enables them to provide your business with the most accurate and highest-quality interpretation services on the market.

Besides, our expert interpreters are specialized in various industries and we’re committed to only assign to you a certified interpreter who fits your business’ specific interpreting needs.

As for data security, we are second to none in this ethical area, as all our interpreters have signed confidentiality agreements and conduct their work according to a solid, professional code of ethics.

 

For further information, contact us promptly for a free quote.

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