Tips To Improve Interpreting Skills

Last Updated On: November 20, 2023

inGeneral, Translation Tips

The Unique Role of an Interpreter

Interpreters have a unique role in international or interlinguistic communication. They must not only know their two or more languages extremely well, but they must also develop an ability to deal with a specific set of linguistic demands. Interpreters who work as business interpreters have a different set of challenges than those who work in a hospital setting or a courtroom. Interpreting is not a static career. There is always room to improve one’s interpreting capability.

Developing Interpreting Skills

Developing interpreting skills is an ongoing process that requires dedication. Interpreters must stay updated on language variations, specialize in specific fields, and be aware of cultural nuances. Continuous learning and practice are essential to excel in this profession and provide accurate interpretations in various contexts. Here are some tips intended to help improve interpreting skills.

#1 The Importance of Fluency in Interpreting

Interpreters do not have the luxury of time that translators do. They have to listen carefully to those whom they are interpreting for and provide an interpretation of what they hear on the spot. Interpreters may think they are reasonably fluent in their language of choice, but may not be used to all the regional variations of that language. For example, an English / Spanish interpreter may encounter Spanish speakers with Castillian or Andalucian accents. South American and Central American Spanish are different again. The first tip then is to become familiar with some of the dialects and variations in a language. One way to do that without spending years traveling around a country listening to how people speak is to watch films and listen to the audio content in the language.


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    #2 Training and Specialization for Interpreters

    Many interpreting services are quite specialized and the interpreter whose job it is to interpret in a specialized field should become familiar with the environment and vocabulary of that field. Many interpreters come to interpret later in life and have spent time in another profession or career beforehand. For example, time spent in the medical field is extremely useful if that person later takes up interpreting as a career as there are opportunities to specialize in medical interpreting, for example in a large urban hospital where there are many different ethnic groups

    #3 Maintaining Neutrality in Interpretation

    When interpreting there will probably be many times when you come across someone you are employed to interpret for whose ideas and opinions you do not agree with. It is not your job to off your own ‘interpretation’ of what the person is saying, i.e. introduce your slant on that person’s viewpoint. You just have to bite your tongue and concentrate on the job at hand which is to provide as accurate and literal interpretation as possible.

    #4 Keep up to date with current affairs

    Keep up to date with current affairs in the country whose language you interpret. Being aware of what’s going on in a country together with its history, political and economic situation is all useful background information that makes it easier to tune into what is being said in an interpreting context.

    #5 Navigating Cultural Nuances in Interpreting

    What one person says in one language doesn’t necessarily go down well in someone else’s. Because as an interpreter you will likely come across a lot of colloquial speech and idiomatic language depending on the context, it is important to know what might offend if you convert what you have heard very literally into the other language. There may be culturally more sensitive ways of saying something that someone has said yet still convey the same meaning.

    In conclusion, professional interpreter services play a crucial role in bridging language gaps and facilitating effective communication. Interpreters, with their language expertise and cultural awareness, ensure accurate and meaningful interactions in diverse settings. Whether in business, healthcare, or legal contexts, hiring qualified interpreters is essential for clarity and understanding. So, when language barriers arise, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of professional interpreter services to ensure successful communication and mutual understanding.

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