With working remotely being the ’new normal’, holding meetings and conferences also requires adjustment for the foreseeable future. Due to the newly introduced social distancing measures, global online communication between businesses and employees is a necessity. Webcasts, meetings, conferencing, negotiations are only some of the face-to-face interactions that are now accommodated via multi-platform online technology, as video calling undoubtedly drives the adoption of the various conferencing platforms.

This sudden change in global circumstance requires linguistic support to convey messages swiftly and obstacle-free across a number of languages. Here is where telephone and video interpreting play a crucial role.

Interpreting is like translation, except that a translator renders written text from one language to another and an interpreter deals with the spoken word.

Consecutive interpreting vs Simultaneous interpretation

Interpreting can be performed consecutively or simultaneously depending on the type of e-meeting, subject matter and number of speakers.

Consecutive interpreting means that the interpreter listens to one person speaking until they have finished a sentence and then they relay it back to the listener in their language. Interpreters often take notes, especially when a longer message requires conveying. This interpreting style is recommended for smaller gatherings and meetings, as well as during public service engagements such as doctor consultations. Consecutive interpreters habitually communicate between two languages, their native tongue and the language required, as they carry out two-way communication between the parties.

Simultaneous interpreters speak at the same time as the main speaker. Simultaneous interpretation means that there is no delay in the speech and nothing is lost. Unlike consecutive interpreters, simultaneous interpreters usually interpret into their mother tongue. This mode of interpreting is much more taxing on the speakers, and usually at least two interpreters are required during an assignment. The interpreters are usually heard only by the speakers of their language.

Someone who is hard of hearing, or cannot hear at all, can use a Sign Language interpreter, or a professional lip reader. Interpreters can also learn to sign for blind people by making signals into their hands. This is called tactile signing.

An embarrassing misinterpretation

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter made an official visit to Poland. Instead of using a Polish interpreter, a Russian professional was used. Although he spoke Polish he was not used to interpreting in that language. As a result, he misinterpreted a number of words from Carter’s speech and the audience began to laugh at the President. Unbeknown to him a phrase like ‘for your desires for the future’ were interpreted as ‘your lusts for the future,’ which his audience found funny. Luckily it wasn’t an interpretation error that cost a life, or the loss of a contract, but it was of course highly embarrassing for the US president.

As our day-to-day business is being conducted remotely and teleconferencing services are soaring overnight, using a qualified, trusted interpreting service is imperative to ensure accurate and clear global communication in any language.

During social distancing, Sign Language video interpreting is also a primary form of communication for those with hearing impairments.

Language Insight’s interpreting services

If you would like to know more about our interpreting services, or if you are looking for a translator or transcriber, contact us at Language Insight and we’ll be happy to provide you with the information and assistance you need.