Onsite Interpretation


According to the latest market research, the market for translation and interpretation services was estimated to be around 39.61 billion dollars in 2019. Due to multiculturalism and globalization, the world is changing dynamically. Companies are expanding their growth overseas, opening multinational branches all over the world. Communication between nations is increasing, and every year, numerous summits and international events take place.

Hence in this article, we are going to discuss the importance of a special kind of interpretation namely, “Onsite Interpretation”.

Interpretation and Onsite Interpretation:

Interpretation is the verbal translation of messages from the source language to the target language, while accurately retaining the meaning and context of the text. Interpretation and Translation Services are vital as they allow everyone to share their views, ideas and thoughts, essentially breaking the language barrier. It enables people to participate in International and/or multilingual meetings across the world without having to learn multiple languages and makes it possible for the corporates to conduct business internationally. There are various types of interpreters, such as onsite interpreters, over-the-phone interpreters, on-video interpreters, etc. handling different functions, as their names suggest.

Onsite interpretation is classic and practical because an onsite interpreter conducts face to face interpretations. The physical presence of the interpreter can boost the confidence of the parties involved, and direct communication is made more accessible. An onsite interpreter can convey the messages in two ways, either through ‘simultaneous interpretation’ or through ‘consecutive interpretation’.

Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpretation:

In Simultaneous Interpretation, the interpreter translates and conveys the message from the spoken language into the target language in real-time. Generally, the interpreter has to translate as the speaker is speaking with a delay of no more than thirty seconds; there is no waiting time. There are short pauses to process spoken words. If the interpreter starts too soon or too late, it might stop the conversation altogether; hence he/she has to keep up with the pace of the conversation.

As you can figure out, simultaneous interpretation is a hectic task and requires great skill and mastery. The needed chief ability is to be proficient in both the source and target languages. The interpreter also must know how to work under stressful situations and be prepared for long meetings. They should have a good memory, high concentration, listening skill, and should know how to sort the requisite information. It is essential that he/she remains alert and understands the context of the message so that the interpretation does not suffer. It is tiring work; hence, during long conferences, two interpreters are involved. Each interpreter translates for 20–30 minutes and then takes a 10-minute break.

Simultaneous interpretation is of two types: Whispered and Interpreting booth.

Whispered interpretation, as the name suggests, is when the interpreter stands close to the delegate and conveys the message then and there. This form of interpretation is apt for a one-on-one conversation.

In Interpreting booths, the interpreters are given their private booths and headsets; in this way, multilingual interpretation can happen in real-time. International conferences tend to favour Interpreting Booths over Whispered Interpretation.

Simultaneous interpretation is used in international meetings, events, or conferences. A classic example is the United Nations conference, the world leaders wear headsets, and the interpreters simultaneously translate dialogue and material from the source language into the target language.

In Consecutive Interpretation, the interpreter waits for the speaker to say a few sentences and then translates the conversation from the source language to the target language. It is not considered to be real-time interpretation as long pauses are given for the interpretation to take place in between dialogues. Although it is not as fluid as a simultaneous interpretation, as the message gets divided into segments, it also increases the time of the meeting.

Similar to the simultaneous interpreter, a consecutive interpreter needs to be fluent in both the source and the target languages. The interpreter should have the qualities mentioned above as well as note-taking skills. Sometimes, the interpreters use shorthand or invent their own short language. The interpreter must have listening skills and a high level of concentration since the speaker can go on for a longer time, and the interpreter has to convey a large piece of information in one go.

Consecutive interpretation is used in conventions, interviews, or in court. For instance, it is favoured during contract agreements, legal counselling, or immigration proceedings.

Need for onsite interpretation:

1. International conventions, summits, and events: Everyone must have heard of the UN Council and how the delegates and world leaders from various countries participate in these meetings. Since it is a multinational and multilingual event, multiple interpreters are working at the same time, translating messages on-the-go.

2. Medicine: Nowadays, people opt for international healthcare; for instance, a lot of people from all around the world go to Korea for plastic surgery. The doctors must understand how the patient feels, and similarly, the patient should be able to describe their opinions for proper treatment. Here the onsite interpreters translate crucial information between the medical staff and the patient.

3. Legal: Legal proceedings can get complicated if there is a language barrier. The client must understand the language of the court. An interpreter helps the client by conveying accurate information.

4. Multinational Companies: The multinational expansion of corporates has become necessary, owing to the extremely globalised world that we live in. Interpreters come in handy, interpreting need-of-the-hour messages for the various stakeholders of the organisations, as and when required. A company can gain the trust of the native consumer by reaching out to them in their language or by tailoring their campaigns accordingly.

5. Social Work: Onsite Interpreters also help asylum seekers feel at home in their Host country by helping them adapt to the local language and culture.

Interpreters and translators play an essential role in society. They are required in almost every field such as international trade, international politics, arts, various STEM fields, tourism, law, healthcare, etc. There are approximately 6,500 languages spoken today. Due to globalization and technology, the world is coming closer. If not for interpreters, people would not be able to exchange ideas as lucidly as they are, breaking through the language barrier easily!

By Pooja
Team Loc-N-Apps

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