5 Common Misconceptions About Interpreting

5 Common Misconceptions About Interpreting

Anyone can speak English, so we don’t need an interpreter

Whilst English is arguably the largest language by number of speakers with two billion people speaking it worldwide, this does not matter that second language speakers are always comfortable using English, especially when employing specific terminology, as in a medical or legal convention. Interpreters professionally enable a richer dialogue between the parties, letting them speak in the language they are most comfortable with.

Bilinguals are good simultaneous interpreters

As we already discussed, being bilingual does not necessarily mean being an interpreter. Certainly, interpreters must be fluent in two or more languages, but they also have to master interpreting techniques, have the right tools to prepare for events, and manage stressful situations without letting the audience notice. These qualities are achievable only with formal training and years of experience.

Simultaneous Interpreters Can Interpret Anything

Even experienced simultaneous interpreters cannot interpret any text and any topic. First of all, because every field has its own dedicated terminology, and interpreters must be allowed the time to study it in advance. Secondly, even the best interpreters cannot keep up with speeches that are too dense and unnatural, such as written speeches read aloud without pauses. Good interpreters will be able to capture the idea behind the speech, but the best way to get the message across is to respect the natural rhythm and pauses of oral speech.

Translator ≠ Interpreter

Whilst the two terms are often used interchangeably, translation and interpretation are very different professions. Since translators work with written text and interpreters with live speech, translators do not necessarily make good interpreters and vice versa. Always look for linguists who specialize for the task you are offering them.

Simultaneous Interpreting Is Expensive

Simultaneous interpreting can surely be more expensive than consecutive or business interpreting. This is mostly due to the equipment needed to perform on-site simultaneous interpreting (soundproof interpreter booth, infrared radiators, wireless headsets). However, simultaneous interpreting offers the unique opportunity to conduct a multilingual conference without any slowdown, even in more than two languages, providing added value to your event.

Thanks to technology some events might not need on-site setup and interpreters: this is what we call remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI).

In RSI the interpreter operates from remote thanks to cloud technology, while the audience receives the translated speech on their mobile devices. This allows to cut costs by over 50% and choose from the best interpreters available worldwide.

At Langpros we strive to offer the best interpreting solution for our clients, according to their goals and budget. If you wish to learn more about our range of interpreting services, visit our website.

If you are dealing with a multilingual project and you are unsure about the best interpreting option, do not hesitate to contact our office: we will discuss the project with you and give you a free quote.


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