An interpreter is an individual fluent in two or more languages capable of providing a verbal link to facilitate communication between two parties without a common language. An interpreter is a crucial element to effective communication when dealing with people different languages and cultures backgrounds, and/or limited English proficiency.
WHAT IS AN INTERPRETER? An “interpreter” is not the same as a “translator.” Though the job titles are often mixed up or used interchangeably, the two professionals have uniquely different skill sets.
WHAT IS AN INTERPRETER? Differences between interpreters and translators Translators take written words and translate them into another language Interpreters take spoken words and interpret them into another language Translators typically translate only into their native language, with notable exceptions Most interpreters must interpret in both directions Not all interpreters translate and vice versa
There are two main types of interpretation: Simultaneous Interpretation Consecutive Interpretation A language service provider can help you determine which type of interpretation is right for your needs.
TYPES OF INTERPRETERS Simultaneous Interpretation The interpreter repeats the message while the speaker is talking. There is no pause to allow for interpretation. Requires at least two interpreters (so that one each may rest) Used for: Large conferences Multi-language requirements American Sign Language
TYPES OF INTERPRETERS Consecutive Interpretation The interpreter repeats the message after the speaker has finished. Used for: Small group conferences Telephonic interpreting Court cases A note about time: Meetings with consecutive interpretation generally last twice as long as a meeting without interpretation. It is important to plan accordingly, to make sure there is adequate time to cover all necessary topics.
TYPES OF INTERPRETERS A language service provider can help you determine which type of interpretation is right for your needs.
Accuracy Confidentiality Impartiality Acting in a professional and ethical manner National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, 2004 www.ncihc.org
K EY ETHICAL PRINCIPLES FOR INTERPRETERS Using a qualified interpreter, such as those who work with your language service provider, ensures that you will be working with a professional who follows these ethical guidelines.
To protect yourself and your institution against liability. The client has a right to ethical, professional, accurate and confidential interpretation. Being bilingual does not mean that a person is able to interpret or translate information.
W HY U SE A Q UALIFIED I NTERPRETER ? What is a qualified interpreter? The federal regulations define “qualified interpreter” as “… an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.” A qualified interpreter is a person who is linguistically and culturally competent in at least two languages and knowledgeable about the topic to be interpreted A qualified interpreter may hold various accreditations/certifications. There is currently no national certification.
W HY U SE A Q UALIFIED I NTERPRETER ? It’s not just about the language In addition to speaking the languages fluently, qualified interpreter must also be fluent in the culture of both parties involved in the interpretation. This allows them to overcome and accommodate cultural differences between speakers.
W HY U SE A Q UALIFIED I NTERPRETER ? Some common cultural differences: Personal space This varies from country to county. Arabs and Latinos stand much closer during conversation than Americans. Japanese keep a greater distance that Americans. Understanding this helps the interpreter to accommodate both parties and create a comfortable environment. Nodding and shaking the head Some people may nod or shake their head while listening, even though this does not indicate any understanding of or disagreement with the topic at hand. Understanding this allows the interpreter to make sure both the company and their client completely understand the conversation.
W HY U SE A Q UALIFIED I NTERPRETER ? Some common cultural differences: Disclosing personal information Some cultures are reluctant to offer personal information. Understanding this allows the interpreter to phrase questions appropriately to stress the importance of the required information. Handshakes Handshakes may last much longer in some cultures. In others, they are omitted altogether or replaced by a different form of greeting. Understanding this allows the interpreter to make sure the comfort levels of everyone involved are satisfied.
W HY U SE A Q UALIFIED I NTERPRETER ? What is a qualified interpreter? A qualified interpreter : Repeats the original message accurately and completely in another language without adding, omitting or changing key information or intended meaning Is knowledgeable about the culture of the speaker Understands that the purpose of the interpreter is to be a voice for the client Follows the industry’s professional Code of Ethics, HIPAA regulations, etc.
Tips for Working with Interpreters Always face and speak directly to the client in a normal tone of voice. Do not direct your questions or statements to the interpreter. Make eye contact with the client and speak in the first person, using “I.” Professional interpreters will also respond in “I”, not “he/she says.” Remember to speak slowly and in a normal tone of voice, pausing after each complete thought and/or when the interpreter signals. This will ensure that the interpreter can repeat your message within its stated context.
U SING AN I NTERPRETER E FFECTIVELY Tips for Working with Interpreters Speak in short, clear phrases. Try to avoid slang or jargon. Avoid acronyms. If common acronyms are used, clarify each one the first time you say it to ensure the other person understands. At times an interpreter may need clarification of a term. If this is the case, he or she will address you directly. Ask only one question at a time. Wait for the interpreter to finish giving the answer before you ask the next question.
U SING AN I NTERPRETER E FFECTIVELY Tips for Working with Interpreters Confirm understanding by asking for important information to be repeated back. Be aware that a smile or nod may not indicate total agreement or understanding. Many clients will understand some English, so some answers may be partially or completely in English. Don’t say anything you don’t want interpreted. Remember that the interpreter is required to interpret everything that is said. This includes curse words, side conversations and “irrelevant” chat.
U SING AN I NTERPRETER E FFECTIVELY Tips for Working with Interpreters Avoid using bilingual family members, friends or co- workers. They are not “qualified interpreters.” They are not bound by ethical constraints such as impartiality and confidentiality. Furthermore, they are personally invested in the outcome of the interpretation, and may not convey the message as clearly as possible. Never use children to interpret for legal and ethical reasons.
U SING AN I NTERPRETER E FFECTIVELY Following these tips will help make the interpretation process run more smoothly and make communication easier.
U SING AN I NTERPRETER E FFECTIVELY Remember that a qualified interpreter: Is an impartial professional who is there for the benefit of both parties. Will not offer his/her own opinion. Will not enter into private discussion with either the client or the service provider and will interpret every word that is spoken.
U SING AN I NTERPRETER E FFECTIVELY If you have further questions on using professional interpretation services, or would like to schedule an interpreter for your meeting, please contact us: www.indytranslations.com (317) 566.8200 or (800) 695.8772 Business Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Afterhours interpretation: (317) 775-2867