When it comes to the art of interpretation and becoming an interpreter, you must be fluent in at least two languages before you are able to take it on. And while fluency in multiple languages is a requirement, it is certainly not the only thing you need. Becoming an interpreter is not a skill you are born with; it is a set of skills you must develop over years of training. There are a lot of qualities you need to have to become a great interpreter. The job outlook for interpreters is excellent right now. If you are thinking about a career change, speak multiple languages, enjoy working with people, and are willing to develop the right skills then this could be the career for you.
Here are three things you never knew about interpretation:
It takes Knowledge
Just because you know more than one language, it doesn’t mean you would make a great language interpreter. There is a lot to know before you step out and start interpreting for someone. When you interpret for someone, you need to have complete mastery of your source and target languages. You need to be familiar with the various modes of interpretation (consecutive, simultaneous & sight) and understand when to employ which mode. Additionally, you need to have an intimate knowledge of the terminology associated with the industry you are interpreting in. By practicing with the industry material ahead of time, you get better acquainted with the vocabulary and can understand more of how the terms are used. Additionally, you must learn interpreter ethics and scope for the type of industry you are interpreting in (community, legal, healthcare, or workers compensation are just a few of the types of industry interpreters out there) as your scope and protocol can vary depending on the industry.
There are Training Programs Available
If you have ever thought about becoming an interpreter, there are many programs available that can teach you everything from basic ethics and protocol to the more advanced skills such as memorization techniques and accent adjustment. You can choose to do volunteer work for different non-profit organizations as a community interpreter, or you can choose to pursue a career in legal interpretation. There are a number of different types of avenues you can go down with great interpretation skills. Deciding on what you want to do with your language skills is important when choosing what type of program to join. You can choose from a continuing education program that is both affordable and quick, to advanced training for federal certification to work as a federal interpreter for the US government.
It’s More than Just Words
Most people believe that interpretation is all about speaking. This couldn’t be further than the truth. A lot more goes into proper interpreting than just communicating from one language into another. Body language is a big part of getting the message across clearly. It is important that interpreter look at the audience to make sure they have the person or audience’s attention. Tone and inflection also play a big role in getting the message across. Just as if you were having a conversation with a friend, your voice would change in pitch depending on what you were saying. This same tone should also be portrayed during the interpretation. All of these things are necessary to render a true and accurate interpretation that encompasses both the words themselves and the contextual meaning of those words.