What exactly does an interpreter do?
Interpreters deal with the spoken word; they hear information in one language and translate it into a second language.
Conference interpreters usually hold a qualification such as an MA in Conference Interpreting. They are best known for simultaneous interpreting, where they are located in a booth and the audience can hear their rendition through headphones. In situations where just one or two people require interpretation, conference interpreters can provide whispered simultaneous interpreting. If no equipment is available, for example at a press conference, interpreters provide consecutive interpreting where they listen to what is said, take notes, and then interpret what has been said.
As well as working at conferences, conference interpreters also work in business meetings, product launches, trade shows, factory visits, and meetings between clients and lawyers.
Community interpreters work in settings such as garda stations, courts, prisons, asylum hearings and hospitals. It is worth noting that while some community interpreters may have trained abroad, there is no accredited training course in Ireland for community interpreters and they are not tested to assess their competency.
Community interpreters mainly work consecutively, where the interpreter listens to a speaker in one language, and when the speaker stops, provides the information in a second language.
Remote interpreting takes place when the interpreter is not in the same place as the speaker(s) but facilitates their communication by phone or by video link.
How to select an interpreter
If you are organising a conference or a meeting you will need to find out how many people need interpreters and for what language combinations. Conference interpreters usually interpret into their first language (known as their A language). For example, a native Spanish interpreter will interpret from English to Spanish. It is important to book conference interpreters well in advance. You may also need to hire equipment.
Where possible, information on the assignment should be provided to interpreters in advance so they can prepare the research the topic.
Conference interpreters usually charge per half day or per day.
You can use the ITIA searchable database to find an ITIA interpreter in the language combination you require.
Community interpreters can also be located by using the ITIA searchable database. Community interpreters work bilaterally. For example, a Polish-English interpreter will interpret from Polish to English and from English to Polish.
When working with community interpreters, it is worth remembering that they are expected:
- To interpret everything that is said accurately
- To respect confidentiality
- To be impartial
- To declare any conflict of interest
- Not to engage in side conversations with one party
Community interpreters usually charge per hour.
ITIA interpreters are bound by the ITIA Code of Ethics for Community Interpreters.