The 5 Main Types of Professional Interpretation Services

What is Interpretation?

Interpreting services function as a verbal form of translation that is facilitated by a professional interpreter, or a team of interpreters. Interpretation services are used to translate speeches, presentations, conversations and other spoken language into the native or preferred language of a given audience.

By providing interpreting services to your audience, you can communicate across language barriers essentially in real-time, expediting the speed at which information can be delivered while allowing them to benefit from the context in which the speech is provided. Members of a presentation audience, for example, can view visual aids or slideshows as an interpreter provides insights and explanations for those slides.

Here are the five major types of interpreting that businesses should be aware of.

The 5 Types of Interpretation

Most interpreting projects fall into one of the following major categories:

  1. Consecutive Interpreting

With consecutive interpretation, speakers will talk for up to five minutes or longer before taking a break to allow interpretation to occur. Consecutive interpreting allows for a back-and-forth between multiple parties, which is why it’s a popular approach used in legal proceedings and business meetings.

Interpreters taking on a consecutive interpretation project must have strong memory and note-taking skills to keep information organized over minutes-long stretches of speech. Accuracy in interpreting is critical even when the interpreter must convey the contents of a long speech, which is why it’s crucial to enlist the help of a certified, experienced interpreting expert.


  1. Simultaneous Interpreting

Unlike consecutive interpretation, simultaneous interpretation does not wait for a break in speech to translate into the target language. Instead, simultaneous interpreting takes place over the speech as it’s taking place, usually with a delay of 30 seconds or less.

This type of interpretation places a lot of pressure on the interpreter, who must be able to translate from one language into the next, and convey that content to an audience, while also listening to a real time speech as it progresses and comprehending how it should be interpreted.

Simultaneous interpretation is also intended to provide an exact conversion of speech from one language into another, rather than paraphrasing. In some cases, the audience receiving this interpretation will wear headphones so they can hear the interpretation without interference from surrounding noise, while also paying attention to any presentation taking place.

Simultaneous interpreting is popular at big meetings or gatherings where a large audience must be engaged in multiple languages. The United Nations is a popular example of this type of interpreting, since many members of the assembly wear headphones to hear interpretations into the language of their choice.

Due to the workload of simultaneous interpreting, interpreters will sometimes work in teams of two or more to facilitate a smooth performance. These teams can also function at the live event itself or from a remote location.


  1. Whisper Interpreting

This type of interpreting is similar to simultaneous interpretation, with one key difference: Instead of using microphones and headsets to communicate with intended audience members, the interpreter will sit with an individual or group of people needing interpretive services, and the interpreter will whisper in their preferred language to facilitate communication across language barriers. Protranslating also uses whisper sound technology to speak to an audience within close range of the speaker.

Whisper interpreting is best used with a small group of people who need interpretation, especially when the facility lacks the technology required to provide headset-based interpretive services. Whisper interpreting can also be used in business or diplomatic meetings where individuals require the help of an interpreter.


  1. Escort/Travel Interpreting

For individuals or select groups requiring dedicated interpretation throughout a foreign visit or other event, escort/travel interpretation can provide custom, personal interpreting services in any location.

These interpreters travel with individuals or small groups wherever they go on a business or diplomatic trip, providing interpretive services in a range of settings. In addition to business meetings and presentations, these interpreters can also assist clients at restaurants, retail shops, or any other location these individuals might travel. In this way, escort interpreters can also function as cultural guides that help clients navigate the complexities and cultural considerations of traveling in another country.


  1. Over-the-Phone Interpreting

Phone-based interpreting can actually take multiple forms. With interpreting services facilitated over the telephone, clients can receive either consecutive or simultaneous interpretation, depending on the project and their preferences. Simultaneous interpretations can be less accurate when the interpreter doesn’t have a live view of the speakers and presentations, which is why consecutive interpreting tends to be the more common method of phone interpreting, but both are available to interpreting clients.

In addition to scheduled interpretation conducted over the phone, businesses sometimes require on-demand interpreting to facilitate business deals, or when companies are trying to assist clients in need of interpretation. If you lose your wallet in a foreign country and are trying to get connected to help, for example, your bank or another business might seek an on-demand interpreter to connect with you over the phone and help you explain your circumstances and your need for help.

On-demand interpreting is also common in the medical and legal fields, especially when these organizations are dealing with foreign clients or patients with limited proficiency in the native language. On-demand interpreting can be arranged within minutes of the request, and because it’s facilitated over the phone, it can be provided quickly virtually anywhere in the world.

With such a wide range of interpretation services to choose from, clients can pick the service and professionals that best serve their circumstances and their needs. Contact us today to learn more about these services and how we can help.


What is court interpreting

What is Court Interpreting?

Court interpretation is a service provided by a court certified interpreter who is trained to interpret between English and one or more foreign languages. Interpreters work with a number of different individuals in the court system and are able to communicate directly with the individual they’re working with, providing a necessary line of communication between that individual and other representatives of the court.

A certified court interpreter carries a lot of responsibility in their role. Anything they interpret from a given individual is taken as fact, which puts pressure on the interpreter to make sure these communications are as accurate as possible. In addition to the words used, appropriate context, tone and connotation also need to be used to provide the court with the closest approximation as possible of what has been said.

Court interpretation can feature both simultaneous and consecutive services, depending on the circumstances and the preferences of the court. While consecutive interpretation is often preferred for a courtroom setting and one-on-one interviews, it’s possible that simultaneous interpretation would be used to facilitate more informal conversations.

In the United States, the most common type of court interpreter needed is one who can communicate between English and Spanish. But other language specialties are commonly required across the United States, serving non-native English speakers such as immigrants, refugees, tourists, and other individuals.

Depending on the setting for these interpretive services, the hours and nature of court interpreting can vary widely from one job to the next. While courtroom interpreters are only required when court is in session, depositions and other projects can demand long hours, including evenings and weekends, and the hours for this profession can be unpredictable, with new projects and job demands forcing interpreters to work overtime on some weeks while enjoying a lighter load at other times of the year.

Becoming a Court Certified Interpreter

Court interpreters must go through rigorous education and training before they’re able to work as certified court interpreters. Most court certified interpreters have earned a bachelor’s degree, with the most helpful majors focusing on a foreign language that could be useful in their interpreting work. Depending on the college or university, interpreting and translation-specific course loads may also be available.

After a college degree is earned, aspiring interpreters must complete a certificate program from a reputable organization such as the American Translators Association (ATA) or the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT). Specialized court interpreter certificate programs are designed to provide professionals with essential interpreting skills as well as an understanding of the U.S. legal system.

These certifications are key to helping clients hire credible interpreters for various projects. Protranslating’s also has ISO 17100 certifications, providing peace of mind when you’re seeking  a linguist who knows what they’re doing.

Once interpreters have completed their court interpreter training, they’re able to enter the workforce as professional interpreters, entering a high-demand field where their specialized skills can support the mission of the U.S. court system.

Courts seeking a professional interpreter should contact us today to learn more about our interpreter services and how we’re able to connect you with an experience court interpreter. If you’re still in your pursuit of a court interpreter certificate, seek out the right program that will help you meet your goals and prepare you for an exciting, important career providing interpreting services within the court system.

Business Translations – The Ultimate Guide

As international trade becomes more prevalent, desirable and complex, businesses need reliable, expert translation services more than ever.

Here are some reasons why finding a trusted resource for accurate business translations is top of mind for savvy business leaders:

  • Appealing new markets are opening every day.
  • Companies need to expand their multinational, multicultural footprint as efficiently as possible.
  • The world marketplace is competitive, highly regulated, multi-layered and constantly evolving.
  • Doing business internationally requires being able to communicate seamlessly with local employees, business partners and customers.


The goals of business translation

Multinational businesses depend on well-written, accurate and culturally relevant translations of a wide range of documents in order to:

  • Communicate effectively with audiences around the world
  • Penetrate new markets
  • Boost sales
  • Manage daily operations

Just think of all the aspects involved in opening a new market. There’s due diligence, distributor and supplier recruiting and auditing, regulatory compliance and customs documentation. Preparing accurate financial and legal documents requires familiarity with local and international government and regulatory agencies and standards.

Both internal and external documents need to be accurately translated. A single business must ensure that consistent content exists worldwide across a range of documents, from annual reports and user manuals to employee handbooks and learning materials.

Sample business documents that need to be translated include patents; handbooks; contracts; RFPs; sales and marketing materials; training materials; and corporate videos. The list goes on.


Cultural relevance

In addition to accommodating a company’s preferred terminology and brand, effective business translation includes incorporating culturally relevant images, graphics and words. Here are a couple of specific examples gleaned from our own experience at Protranslating:

  • A newsletter that worked well in the United States for a major airline featured the image of an American football goalpost, which was not meaningful in Asia or South America.
  • While American retail businesses make extensive use of superlatives in their communications, using such language is against the law in China. Hence, in that country, a company could not claim in advertisements to have the “best ….”


Finding a qualified business translator

No one can argue that choosing the right language services provider is vital. Some traits to look for include:

  • Translators vetted through a rigorous process
  • Many loyal, longstanding customers
  • Track record of success in countries where you operate or wish to
  • Flexibility – quick turnaround
  • Availability – business translation services should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
  • Proven expertise in your field and access to industry-specific language
  • Wide range of languages represented
  • Appropriate business translation software
  • ISO certified


Business translation best practices

Here are some tips for managing the business translation process:

  • Translators should sign commercial confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.
  • Translators should have native speaker-level fluency and be versed in local customs and practices, as well as popular and traditional cultural references.
  • Localized translations should match both the technical content and the “look and feel” of the source documents.
  • Translations should be suitable and useful for the chosen audience for each individual document.


What Protranslating offers

  • Our seasoned project managers lead a team of linguistic specialists and subject matter experts drawn from a credentialed pool of more than 5,000 business translators worldwide.
  • We create a glossary and style guide unique to each business, which specifies such things as how measurements are to be treated, and how different currencies should be converted and expressed.
  • Our translations are thoroughly reviewed for content, completeness and tone.


In summary

Business translation services are a critical component in the daily operations and business plans of international players.

Selecting a language services provider with the skills, experience and depth of industry knowledge required can boost your competitive position on an ever-expanding world stage.

Click here to learn more about why we’ve been in the translation business for more than 45 years.