Interpretation for the Common Man

Our "Common Man" blog series is committed to bringing you the most easy-to-digest information on translation industry topics and technologies. Previously, we addressed CMS platforms, API, connectors, proxy solutions, SEO marketing, crowdsourcing, GeoFluent, global testing, sales skills, and DTP. What could be left to cover?

Rest assured, there are still plenty of topics left to broach. This week, we will be discussing another one of Lionbridge's varied services: interpretation.


What is Interpretation?

Interpretation is the facilitation of communication through two or more parties who do not speak the same language

Unlike translation, which is written, interpretation is most often verbal and takes place as people are actively conversing.

types of interpretation

Simultaneous: The interpreter renders the message in the target-language quickly as he /she formulates it from the source language, while the source-language speaker continues speaking. This type is typically used for conferences, business meetings, and media broadcasts.

Consecutive: The interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking. This type of interpretation is suited for interpretation of a single speaker in a small meeting as this tends to take longer than simultaneous interpretation.

Over the phone (OPI): What happens when a call center employee who only speaks English fields a call from a customer who only speaks Spanish? In this scenario, OPI interpretation is necessary.

Many companies with call centers will employ or contract interpreters who can be utilized if a caller has specific language needs. This type of interpretation is normally consecutive - the interpreter will wait for the caller to finish a statement before translating to the call center representative, and vice versa. 

In person: This simply means that the speaker, interpreter, and audience are in the same room, as opposed to OPI.

Sign language: Not all interpretation is verbal. Sign language interpreters, who interpret spoken language with their hands, also exist. I'm sure most of you have seen sign language interpretation in action at some point before.

When giving important press conferences that concern the general public, politicians will often employ sign language interpreters to communicate the message to the non-hearing population. Check out the below video of New York mayor Bill de Blasio's professional sign language interpreter in action.

why use interpretation?

Because of globalization, the world is becoming smaller with each passing year. We are no longer citizens of just one country - we are also global citizens. Business is conducted across borders and, with the help of professional interpreters, language is no longer considered an impediment. 

If you need to communicate with a potential client who does not speak your language, an interpreter helps to deliver your message and close the deal. If you are hosting a conference and the attendees cannot understand you, that's not good- but an interpreter bridges the gap between speaker and listener. 

Lionbridge offers simultaneous, consecutive, OPI, in person, and ASL interpretation. To learn more about our professional interpretation services, visit our website

See you next time!


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