Business Language Services Do you know the difference between a translator and an interpreter?

Do you know the difference between a translator and an interpreter? Many people confuse both occupations, but, while some talented individuals are able to work as both, they are separate professions. Interpreting refers to the spoken word, translation to the written word. They involve different skills, aptitude and training.

Interpreting has a long and important history facilitating inter-cultural communication going back at least to the Ancient Egyptians who had a hieroglyph representing an interpreter. Throughout the ages, conquering armies were often accompanied by interpreters who would communicate with local populations. One of the most famous is “La Malinche” the Mexican native who interpreted for the Spanish explorer Cortés, often considered a traitor by her fellow Mexicans. Today, Afghan interpreters similarly fear for their safety as Western troops prepare to withdraw from their country.

The post-World War II Nuremburg trials were the first major events to use simultaneous interpreting on a large scale. Since then, the United Nations and other international organisations have made wide use of this form of interpreting in which the speakers’ words are rendered in the appropriate language with a delay of only a few seconds, displaying impressive speed of thought and powers of concentration in addition to excellent linguistic skills.

Cultural sensitivity is also important for interpreters as a lack of awareness of the target culture can lead to embarrassing errors – an industry magazine reported on the rendition of “Ce qu’il nous faut, c’est la sagesse des Normands” [what we need is the wisdom of the Normans] as “what we need is Norman Wisdom”. There are also anecdotal reports of interpreters’ reacting to difficult-to-explain jokes based on cultural norms or word plays with “the speaker has made a joke, please laugh”.

Business Language Services Ltd. (BLS) provides qualified and experienced simultaneous interpreters for international and European conferences, the most recent such event being a European conference hosted by the Welsh Assembly. Another event was the ARCOPOL conference in 2011 for which we provided interpreters in three European languages as well as equipment. After the conference the client informed us that one of the delegates, who had experience of European projects and multilingual conferences, said that our interpreters were  “…the best she ever encountered”.

Community interpreting forms a large part of our regular interpreting work. This takes the form of liaison interpreting to facilitate communication between public bodies and people from minority communities. Bengali, Urdu, Mandarin, Slovak, Punjabi, Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Persian and Polish are among the languages in demand for this type of interpreting.

We also provide consecutive interpreting by specially trained legal interpreters for courts, solicitors and prisons as well as business interpreters for corporate meetings.

BLS can arrange various forms of interpreting in many languages. We can provide a consecutive interpreter for a speech given in a foreign language, simultaneous interpreting for international conferences or a liaison interpreter to accompany a foreign visitor conducting an inspection or visit of your premises. Whatever interpreting, translating or teaching requirements you may have, do not hesitate to contact us.

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