Classifications of interpreters based on the job's characteristics.

Classifications of interpreters based on the job's characteristics.

Many people often assume that the work of an interpreter is simply translating what one party says for another to understand. However, upon closer inspection, intricate details reveal various classifications based on work formats. Understanding the various categories within this profession would be more beneficial for those aspiring to become interpreters. This helps in determining which type of interpreter is most suitable for you.

1. Consecutive Interpreter

Consecutive Interpreter

This type of interpreter waits for the speaker to explain or deliver several sentences, typically ranging from 3 to 7 sentences, before pausing to allow the interpreter to translate into another language for other listeners to understand. However, if the speaker delivers a longer explanation, the interpreter must take notes on key points and strive to understand the speaker's intended communication as much as possible before providing the interpretation after the speaker finishes. This type of interpretation is commonly seen in events like seminar opening speeches, greetings from international company executives, or explanations of foreign-origin products/services.

2. Whispered Interpreter

Whispered Interpreter

The role of this type of interpreter involves whispering or providing immediate translations simultaneously as the speaker talks, without waiting for the originating party to stop speaking. The interpreter whispers to enable listeners to understand the translated language swiftly and communicate back promptly. The interpreter must control their voice to be audible enough for the listener to hear clearly but soft enough not to disturb others who do not need the interpreter's services. Whispered interpreters are suitable for conversational settings, negotiations, or meetings requiring swift communication while maintaining the integrity and completeness of the content.

3. Simultaneous Interpreter

Simultaneous Interpreter

This type of interpretation is akin to whispered interpreting, where the interpreter translates immediately without pauses from the speaker. However, the key difference lies in the interpreter speaking simultaneously through a microphone and the listeners wearing headsets to hear the interpreter's voice. This allows listeners to comprehend the content in another language almost simultaneously, without the need for the interpreter and listeners to be physically close. Simultaneous interpretation is commonly employed in meetings, training sessions, and seminars.

4. Specialized Content Interpreter

Specialized Content Interpreter

The role of this type of interpreter can encompass both consecutive and simultaneous interpretation, depending on the suitability for the specific task. However, the significant highlight is the interpreter's specialized expertise. For instance, a medical interpreter must be proficient in medical terminology, an engineering interpreter in engineering-related terms, a science interpreter in scientific jargon, or a sports interpreter in various types of sports-related vocabulary. This expertise is crucial in accurately translating specialized content within these specific domains.

The four main types of translators and interpreters discussed should give you a clearer understanding of the various working formats. Understanding these differences is crucial for companies to select the most appropriate type of interpreter. For individuals aspiring to pursue a career in interpreting, this comprehension helps them identify which type of interpreting they are most skilled in.