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What Will Happen with Translation in the Next 5 Years?

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Translation has been around for several millennia and it’s not going away anytime soon. It continues to evolve, promote understanding and improve communication among nations, individuals, groups and communities.

When nations opened to the global community, translation became more important, with the client base getting global and the services required by the smallest business concern to huge multinational conglomerates.

But as the countries and populations of the world are more exposed to each other, technology makes doing things better and faster. Document translation becomes more sophisticated, and intercultural communication becomes more complex. According to Edward Hall, an anthropologist, intercultural communication is a form of communication where social groups and different cultures share information. In this communication realm, it has two forms – low-context and high-context cultures. This means the manner in which cultures place a value on direct and indirect communication.

Differentiating the two forms

1.     High-context culture

Latin American, Central European, Arab, African and Asian cultures are high-context cultures. In this type of culture, more background information is needed before they can understand the message. Relations are slow to establish and trust should be earned first. Social authority and structure are centralized so the identity of the individual is centered in a group, which is also where productivity relies on.

In a high-context culture, nonverbal communication elements are vital, including eye movements, facial expressions, gestures and tone of voiceCommunicating with them means engaging the person and the verbal messages are indirectly given. They are sensitive and take disagreements personally. Members of a high-content culture share personal space. In this culture, negotiations cannot be hurried, as they believe that everything has its own time and place. They require a variety of information from different sources before they make a decision.

2.     Low-context culture

Cultures that originated from Western Europe like Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Scandinavian countries belong to the low-context cultures. They depend more on clear and precise communication where the information is defined and spelled out. They have a tendency to form and end relationships faster. Procedures and aiming for the end-goal determine productivity, and the identity of individuals is focused on themselves and their achievements. The exchange of information is often verbal and they look for rational solutions to disagreements. They follow a schedule to accomplish tasks and place importance on the individual’s privacy.

An example is Japan, a high-context culture where people favor face-to-face meetings instead of exchanging information through electronic means. High-context cultures prefer informal agreements and personal bonds instead of carefully worded documents whereas those from low-context culture prefer to see written agreements and precise verbal agreements. This cultural difference in communication should be learned, so that they can effectively communicate and seal agreements, which is essential to business.

How does the future look like for translation?

When a business has a global client base, its size does not matter. It will still need to communicate with partners and customers in their own language. This makes cross-context communication difficult and at times, costly. The risk of translation errors is always present. Moreover, if care is not taken, misinterpretation can still occur even if the translation of documents is correct and accurate.

For business owners, the cost of a mistake in translation is not just financial. A slight miscommunication can cause industrial disaster, physical harm, legal exposure or loss of reputation. Right now, it is a priority to have accurate, effective and clear communication between languages, cultures, industries and discipline.

Because of the higher need for accurate communication and sharing of information among different cultures, localization will be fully integrated into a company’s business strategies.

By now, it is safe to assume that you know what localization is. You can know more about it here, in this article and in this one.

  1. Localization is a translation process where services and products are adapted for use in particular regions and countries. It is an expensive and complex process that should be part of the global business plan. Localization involves translation of audio and text materials, software and other documents to show local conventions, including adherence and compliance to local policies, laws and regulations.
  2. With the increasing demand for translation and localization, it is foreseen that the demand for more non-English languages will increaseForeign markets will be easily reached by products and services from countries where English is not spoken.
  3. It is also predicted that more improvements on artificial intelligence (AI)will help translation. There will be more translation platforms that are cloud-based.
  4. Clients will be more exposed to the translation process and they will put more value to translation and localization.

Changes in translation in the next five years and beyond

For one thing, it is predicted that by 2020, enterprises will be spending about US$45 billion on translation services. The industry revenues will be driven by the increase in text generation from worldwide sources and continuing global growth of businesses. Advancements in new technology will also be a factor to consider.

AI will be used more in some of the translation processes. Today, there are already automated translation platforms that are AI-enabled, such as Microsoft Translator, Google Translate and Amazon Translate.

While these platforms have breakthrough improvements in accuracy, they still source their translation knowledge from language data from e-commerce sites, social networks and search engines. They can be good enough for simple translations that do not require a high degree of accuracy; however, they are still not capable of contextual translation. It is difficult to program the inherent nuances of each language.

But since they are free, some users are happy with the translation, although the translation is not up to global standards. Machine translation cannot develop a user interface in another language, translate a product manual or a tax document.

However, AI can be seen as aiding a human in the translation process, as it can be allowed to do an initial translation which can be fine-tuned by a human translator. The procedure can effectively lower the cost of translation.

But, it is too early to speculate that machines, even the AI-enabled ones will be eliminating translators in the near future. Although it is good to recognize the achievements and progress of machine translation, the system is not ready to replace human translators for the following reasons:

  • Globalization requires handling of more dialects and languages.
  • Translation services will be needed more in specialty vertical markets, such as automotive part manufacturing, healthcare and law.
  • More types of specialty horizontal documents are needed, like those that are used for systems, requirements and decisions.
  • Specialized translation of a product’s functional aspects such as documentation and menus is increasingly in demand.

Machine translation and automation still have too much to learn. Translation of business cases is very specific in discipline and context, so it will be challenging to use them as translation models. Another thing is that machines need to address is ambiguity because words can have different meanings in its original form as well as in other languages. For example, in English, you can say that if a baby does not like fresh milk, you boil it. As an English speaker, you understand that you are to boil the milk. In other languages, it will take a lengthy description to establish that it is the fresh milk that should be boiled and not the baby.

Shift in the language mix

English remains the main Internet language although it represents only about a third of the Internet users worldwide. Many language opportunities are present today and enterprises will have to translate their content into an increasing amount of niche languages in order to reach smaller yet fast-growing markets.

It is estimated that 14 languages are enough to reach around 75% of Internet users worldwide, but to reach the rest of the Internet population, enterprises have to add another 40 languages. By 2027, it is projected that in order to reach 96% of people using the Internet, businesses will need their content translated in over 60 languages.

Therefore, all this means that while the translation industry has to accept the innovations and developments in CAT tools and machine translation, including AI, it needs to get ready to handle the less common languages that will gain prominence soon. While English will remain a language of business, an enterprise should not use English as a default language. This means more business value for translation companies and a higher degree of effective communication is needed as new trade patterns are created and established, such as China’s new Silk Road.

It will be more advantageous for the translation companies as the clients become more informed about the translation process. Likewise, they are predicted to become resource creators, because they understand that providing translators with high-quality reference materials such as glossaries, terminology databases and style guides will produce high-quality translations. Clients will also be demanding more services from translation companies, including copywriting, web design, SEO, localization and desktop publishing (DTP) services.

Human translators are still the best

It’s undeniable that there will be more CAT tools to help facilitate and systematize the work of translators but human translators can never be replaced by machines. Machines cannot understand the contextual meaning of words and passages.


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Medical Interpreting Errors Can Endanger Lives


How many medical interpreting errors have you encountered? Many countries have diverse populations, thus, people speak a variety of languages in different levels of proficiency. The situation presents a big problem to healthcare providers who have to deal with patients from different ethnicities in the course of their workday.

It is a requirement for immigrants to learn the language of their new home country. In the United States, for example, immigrants have to learn English. But while the legal immigrants obey the language requirements, it cannot be helped that other members of the family may not. This is especially true for the older generation and those who have just arrived and can only speak their mother tongue.

Getting sick is indiscriminate. It can happen anytime, to any person. But the language barrier is a deterrent for many immigrants, particularly those with limited English language skills to seek medical attention, unless necessary.

In many hospitals and clinics across the United States, many doctors and healthcare providers have several stories to tell about patients coming for a checkup with a family member or a friend who can speak for them.

The law now states that a family member, a relative or a friend cannot be a translator or interpreter for a sick person who cannot speak English.

But before this law was enacted, there were several horror stories of errors in medical interpreting that endangered the lives of patients or worse, that caused the patients to lose their lives.

Why family members or relatives should not be the patient’s interpreter

In the past, it was a normal scenario to see foreign patients accompanied by relatives when seeking medical attention. A common excuse is that they feel comfortable with a relative who can speak their own language around. It gives them a feeling of security because they are facing something that is yet unknown.

  • For one thing, it puts a burden on the relative. He or she may not be fluent in the language as well. But because it is their duty to help the patient receive the medical care they need, they act as the interpreter. They may not be able to properly identify or describe the ailment, or because they want to protect the patient, they may change, omit or add words to the description so as not to divulge sensitive health issues.
  • When you are related to the patient, it is difficult to remain neutral, impartial and objective. The relative who acts as the interpreter typically displays a protective bias towards the patient. Because they think that they are helping the patient by protecting them, it could lead to misdiagnosis.

Bilingual staff should not act as medical interpreters

Another scenario that could lead to misdiagnosis is using a bilingual medical staff. They may know the language that the patient speaks but they are not trained to be medical interpreters. Medical interpreters are specialists, with specific knowledge of terminology applicable to a specific medical field.

It is difficult for a nurse or an aide to tell their supervisor that they may not be that fluent in the language or they do not have a deeper knowledge of the particular branch of medicine.

These are just some of the common scenarios that the new law in using only professional medical interpreters wants to address.

Pressing reasons to use professionals to prevent medical interpreting errors

Accurate interpretation of a patient’s medical condition is vital for the doctor to properly diagnose and treat a patient. No one wants to see their family member treated improperly or receive a misdiagnosis.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains several requirements for healthcare providers and professionals, such as the nondiscrimination in the provision of healthcare services and the administration of healthcare programs.

Section 1557 provides access to medical care to people with limited proficiency in the English language. It requires healthcare facilities to provide professional language services assistance, such as providing a qualified interpreter for oral interpretation and a qualified translator for written documents.

It also firmly states that using family members, relatives and friends is no longer allowedexcept in emergencies when an interpreter is not immediately available. Likewise, they should not ask their bilingual staff to act as interpreter for the patient.

Why not use family members as interpreters when they speak their own language?

  1. They lack medical understandingbecause they are not trained as a medical interpreter. Qualification as a medical interpreter includes passing a training program, having the right experience in a specific medical field, knowledge of the proper terminology and understanding of a wide range of medical issues that are beyond the knowledge of an average person.
  2. They cannot remain impartial. You know that doctors are discouraged from giving medical treatment to the members of their family. This is the reason why this is so. Even if the person is highly qualified to treat a family member, they cannot prevent themselves from being emotionally affected. The need to protect is there as well, so it is going to be difficult to discuss medical information that may upset the patient, which can prevent them from correctly interpreting what the doctor is saying or stop interpreting altogether. A professional medical interpreter is objective and impartial, so relaying every information, including sensitive ones, is part of the job.
  3. They may feel discomfort in discussing personal information. If using a relative, friend or younger child, they may feel a sense of impropriety when personal issues or medical conditions are discussed. Moreover, cultural beliefs may prevent them from talking about personal conditions.

Classic cases of medical interpreting errors

Medical interpreting puts the welfare and life of a patient at stake, thus it has to be taken seriously. A qualified medical interpreter is required to ensure that a medical service provider performs accurate diagnosis and treatment on a patient with limited English language skills. Aside from speaking the language, a professional medical interpreter also understand the culture and traditions of the patient, which can be instrumental in providing the patient with the proper care.

While Section 1557 can prevent many medical interpreting errors in medical facilities in the United States, there are several cases when the patients became the victims of erroneous interpreting and translations from unqualified individuals.

1.     Willie Ramirez

The case of Willie Ramirez is one of the classic examples of medical interpretation gone wrong. He was 18 years old when he was brought to a hospital in Florida. He was already comatose at that time, after collapsing from a severe headache. The interpreter (a family relation) erroneously translated the term intoxicado as intoxicated.However, the actual translation of the Cuban Spanish term is having an allergic reaction or poisoned.

Due to the interpreting error, Ramirez was treated for intentional drug overdose. He was having an intracerebral hemorrhage at that time. Because it was not properly interpreted, the doctor’s diagnosis was wrong, which caused Ramirez to be a quadriplegic. This happened in 1980. The lawsuit settlement amounted to about US$71 million, assuming that Ramirez can live up to 2036, when he will be 74 years old. The hemorrhage was treatable but the doctors discovered it too late, so the effects of improper treatment cannot be reversed.

2.     Teresa Tarry

Teresa Tarry is from Britain. In 2007, she received a double mastectomy in Spain that was unnecessary. She was new to the area and struggled with Spanish. The double operation occurred because of a translation error, leading to the doctors believing that breast cancer ran in the family of Mrs. Tarry. The erroneously translated document that was included in her medical record showed, as claimed by Mrs. Tarry, that her mother, as well as her sister, also had breast cancer. She only went to the doctor for a checkup because of a lump she discovered, which was later found out to be benign. Aside from losing both breasts, she lost her job and described her life as living in hell.

3.     Flubbed knee replacement surgeries

Between 2006 and 2007, 47 cases of failed surgeries for knee replacement occurred in Germany. The failed surgeries were caused by errors in the translation of device package information. Knee prosthesis comes in two types that should be used with or without cement. In the source language of the prosthesis package information used for the operations, it said that the femoral component should be non-modular cemented. The mistranslation in German said that the component was without cement or non-cemented. The translation error resulted in the patients undergoing knee surgery twice.

4.     Sandra George

Sandra George is from Macedonia and has limited English language skills. She visited a doctor in 2015 accompanied by a friend who acted as her interpreter. She complained about a vestibular nerve tumor. Because the interpreter was not qualified she believed that she had malignant cancer. She had a qualified Macedonian interpreter during her succeeding visits, but she firmly believed that the tumor was cancerous. She underwent surgery but the doctor who performed the operation accidentally cut a facial nerve. One side of Ms. George’s face suffered palsy. It was double jeopardy because the tumor was benign.

5.     Francisco Torres

Francisco Torres only speaks Spanish. He was supposed to have kidney removal surgery from the Riverside Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center in California in 2010. Prior to the surgery, he was given a consent form that was written in English. He did not have access to a medical translator or interpreter so he did not know that the form indicated the removal of the wrong kidney. The hospital proceeded with the operation to remove the good kidney and subsequently removed the bad kidney as well.

6.     Tran family

A nine-year old Vietnamese patient interpreted for her parents regarding her own condition. She later collapsed due to a reaction to a prescribed drug. Her prescription was not translated into Vietnamese. Her brother, who was 16 at the time, tried to be the interpreter for their parents who did not speak English. But before he was able to make the doctors understand what was wrong with his sister, it was already too late. They sued the hospital and received US$200,000 for the damages.

7.     Lin family

The patient was a 17-year old Taiwanese girl residing in California. Her head was accidentally hit by a tennis racquet and she developed brain abscess. Despite her condition, she became the interpreter from her non-English speaking parents in the emergency room. She died due to respiratory arrest while communicating her own condition.

These are just some of the high profile examples of medical interpreting errors. A lot more of these medical issues continue to happen worldwide but many of them are unreported.

Ensure accurate medical interpreting

Day Translations, Inc. is here to help you with all your medical interpreting needs. We provide medical interpreting to large and small healthcare facilities, clinics and hospitals, both public and private. We work with native speaking medical translators and interpreters who are subject matter experts. Our translators and interpreters work with more than 100 languages. So for all your medical interpreting and medical translation needs, rely on us. We are HIPAA-compliant so you are assured that we follow the required medical language services protocol. You can easily get in touch with us through 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year, so you can get in touch with us anytime.

Image Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo


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agencia de interpretes simultaneos, autonomo, interpretacion consecutiva, Interpretes simultaneos, Sin categoría, traductor

‘There is always someone cheaper’

Just read this article (included below) ‘There is always someone cheaper’ that can be applied to most products and services. I work as a professional conference interpreter and the rates we charge are often questioned as there are lots of low-cost providers in the market. However, as I often explain, our job is done in real time, so you have no second chance – companies hire or bring in speakers to come from afar, they pay travel, food and accommodation expenses so it is important to get top quality interpreting services to ensure the expected results, basically it’s like passing or failing an exam, no second chance.

Taking into account the total cost of the event, the difference between paying for professional interpreters, members of recognised associations is very little, yet sometimes clients don’t seem to understand this…

One thing I have learnt is that satisfied customers hire you again and again, and it is more difficult to convince new potential clients or multinationals putting interpreting services out to tender.

Are we comparable to office supplies, etc?

Just some food for thought….

Happy New Year to all is Always Someone Cheaper
  • Publicado el 11 de octubre de 2017

Jason Grech

Director, Market Strategy & Development atKon-strux Developments Inc.

It’s true: There is always someone who will do it cheaper.

The image above is one that had resonated with me, and I have shared it numerous times with colleagues, clients, and friends over the years. Whomever originally created this meme, Thank You.

There are many variations to the sayings “You get what you pay for”, “You won’t ever get something for nothing”, “Good isn’t cheap, and cheap isn’t good”, though in most cases and through experience these statements are very much true.

In an effort to drive cost to the lowest common value possible, we have created structured pricing protocols (RFPs, RFQs, bidding, etc) that commonly do not offer “apples to apples” comparisons for vendor ability, finish work or selected materials. This is found in various stages of projects or pricing exercises from budgetary (where assumed cost vs scope is utilized) through final project pricing (where a scope with selections are offered), as there are always variables left to interpretation.

There is a difference between value and cost, though both are defined through the perceptions of the buyer and seller relating to a product and/or service. For a vendor of any sort to truly provide value to their client, they may not necessarily be the lowest cost. For a buyer/client, to extract value from a product and/or service, the expectation of the value must be defined.

The struggle in the ability of the client and the service provider to articulate to each other the expectation of the final product will continue, though there is potential for aversion of these disconnects throughout the process. The value/expectation of product/service provided must be defined with an associated cost, both must align between buyer and seller. In relation to the picture above, the “client” has provided a very detailed image of the final product expectation, though has made one or 2 mistakes in the selection of the artist.

Potential mistake 1: The client opted to ask for a price for the work, and jumped on opportunity with a low cost provider without consideration of outcome/consequences.

Potential mistake 2: The client did not perform any research, such as requesting images of actual artwork or completed work to verify that the skill set of the artist was on par with expectations.

Potential mistake 3: This one is on the vendor; the artist grossly overestimated their ability, was not aware of costing, and most likely provided a combination of these items that unfortunately lead the client down a path of disconnect between value and cost.

To potentially avert risks associated with any of the three mistakes (and/or others) as listed, there is a model of due-diligence required by both the client and service/product provider. When selecting a service/product provider a buyer should consider some of these points:

  1. Industry experience of the organization in relation to the expected outcome?
  2. Visual representation of the previous work/product to assist in alignment of value/costing?
  3. Industry affiliations and/or recognition by peers and/or public?
  4. Documentation, Insurance held, operational efficiencies relating to scope, process, etc.?
  5. Does or has the vendor actually completed similar scopes and provided similar outcomes with success in the past, and can the claims be substantiated?
  6. What differentiates the vendor or elevates them above the standard?

These questions will allow a better judgement of cost versus the value of a service/product provider. Be leery of the provider that tries to sell you on the promise of price alone, as often there will be a surprise around the corner.

It is essential for both client and service/product suppliers to break the cycle and work through the process together, utilizing a costing model reflective of the client/project and the ability of the vendor. Often there is need for a reality check by either or both parties, though once an understanding is attained the outcome becomes clear and expectations can be aligned. This will allow for a better experience for all involved.


agencia de interpretes simultaneos, autonomo, interpretacion consecutiva, Interpretes simultaneos, Sin categoría, traductor

Translations of film titles… Anything but accurate!


If you watch television or have ever been to the cinema, you will surely have come across a title that has left you somewhat baffled. Because if there is one thing we like doing across Europe, besides dubbing the voices of the characters, it’s translating the titles of films (most of them originating from English due to them being produced in America). What usually happens in these cases? As you would expect, there is not always a rigorous process when it comes to literal translation. Of course, sometimes literal translations are not possible, or it simply does not fit the plot or context, so minor modifications are needed to make it easier for the audience to understand. But this onlu often works up to a certain extent. As we will show you below, there are some cases of complete and utter translation disasters!

Freaky Friday
A movie where an overworked mother and her daughter do not get along very well until they switch bodies and each is forced to adapt to the other’s life for (and hence its name) one freaky Friday.
But not all the countries decided to translate this simple name into something similar. In Spain, for example, the chosen name was “Ponte en mi lugar” (which means, literally, “put yourself in my place”).
Hungarian translators, nevertheless, decided to create a title similar to the Spanish one but in its negative form: “Nem férek a bőrödbe” (“I do not get into your skin”).
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic left a little more to the imagination for movie viewers, translating it as “Mezi námi devcaty” (which literally means “Between us”).

Translated as “shark”, “white shark” or “shark’s jaws” in many European languages, except in French. For some unknown reason, they decided to call this film “Les dents de la mer”, a metonymy that makes the aquatic protagonist of the story sound a lot less dangerous.


Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Everybody knows this story of the poor but hopeful boy that sought one of the five golden tickets which could send him on a tour of Willy Wonka’s mysterious chocolate factory (even though some people might remember only the latest cinematographic version with Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton).
The Spanish translators decided to associate chocolate with fantasy (we do not disagree about this), so the 1971 version based on Roahl Dahl’s book was translated as “Un mundo de fantasía” in Spain (“A world of fantasy”).
On the other hand, in Denmark, the movie was entitled “Drengen, der druknede i chokoladesovsen” (“The boy drowned in the chocolate sauce”), giving a very big spoiler about what happens during the visit to the factory to the golden ticket holders.

Die Hard
Die Hard follows John McClane, the off-duty officer from the New York Police Department as he faces a group of highly organized criminals led by Hans Gruber. These criminals hold a robbery in a Los Angeles’ skyscraper under the pretext of a terrorist attack and use hostages, including McClane’s wife, to keep the police at bay.
In this case, we have to admit that the prize for creativity goes to the original English title of the film, for revealing very little of the content. Meanwhile, the Portuguese, Norwegian and Spanish translations give a few more details (the latter also being quite creative and metaphorical). In the aforementioned countries, the films were respectively renamed “Assalto ao Arranha-Céus” (“Assault on the Skyscraper”), “Aksjon skyskraper” (“Action skyscraper”) and “La jungla de cristal” (“The crystal jungle”).

Annie Hall
Named after one of its protagonists, This film analyses the relationship between a comedian (Alvy Singer) and a singer from a nightclub (Annie Hall), mostly from Singer’s perspective. Singer reflects briefly on his childhood and his early adult years before settling in to tell the story of how he and Annie met, fell in love, and struggled with the obstacles of modern romance, mixing surreal fantasy sequences with occasional moments of emotional drama.
Again, the translations of this film tend to reveal the plotline. Let’s take a look at both the German version (broadcast in Germany and Austria) and the Greek translation. If we combine the meaning of one (“Der Stadtneurotiker”, which means “The city neurotic”) and the other (“Νευρικός εραστής” – “Neurotic lover”) we end up with a title that perhaps reveals to us more than it should.



Written by Marta Guillén Martínez – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). She holds a Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Alicante, Spain and she did her European Voluntary Service on communication and european youth mobility in Milan, Italy. She speaks Spanish, Catalan, English and Italian.

agencia de interpretes simultaneos, autonomo, interpretacion consecutiva, Interpretes simultaneos, Sin categoría, traductor



En la interpretación consecutiva el intérprete traduce el discurso una vez que el orador ha terminado de hablar, y no al mismo tiempo como en la traducción simultánea. El intérprete toma notas durante el discurso para asegurar una reproducción fiel y cuando el orador hace una pausa, ofrece la traducción oral en el segundo idioma.


No requiere equipo específico, sólo un buen sonido para que el intérprete pueda escuchar con claridad lo que tiene que interpretar, un atril o mesa donde puede tomar notas y un micrófono.


La interpretación consecutiva se utiliza en reuniones pequeñas, entrevistas, negociaciones, ruedas de prensa breves, banquetes, discursos protocolarios y todas aquellas situaciones que requieren la comunicación en dos idiomas durante un corto periodo de tiempo.


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¿Cómo es posible que funcione tan rápido la mente de los intérpretes simultáneos?


No es a través de una máquina, ni tampoco es magia. Las palabras que van entrando por nuestros auriculares en una determinada lengua, de forma casi paralela a las que salen en otra lengua, las emite un ser humano, un intérprete simultáneo.

Quizá precisamente por eso, por el enorme esfuerzo cognitivo que se le reconoce a la interpretación simultánea, esta sea una técnica conocida, que llama la atención y despierta admiración. Contribuye a eso tanto la infraestructura técnica, la cabina donde se encuentra el intérprete con sus auriculares, como su realización: la casi simultaneidad de las producciones orales del orador y del intérprete.

También es la más cotizada por los entornos multilingües donde realiza el intérprete su trabajo, tanto organizaciones internacionales (la Unión Europea, por ejemplo, es el mayor empleador de intérpretes) como el mercado libre, sobre todo en congresos y conferencias. De ahí su otra denominación, interpretación de conferencias, que hace referencia a la modalidad y que incluye también otra técnica de interpretación, la interpretación consecutiva, donde el intérprete comienza después de que el orador haya terminado un fragmento de su discurso.

¿Qué hace una buena interpretación simultánea?

Presuponiendo que las condiciones técnicas sean las adecuadas, son varios los factores que influyen en la calidad de una interpretación. El intérprete debe tener en cuenta al orador, a su discurso, y, aunque parezca una obviedad, también a los que le escuchan.

El discurso es clave, porque es lo que se tiene que trasladar a la otra lengua casi simultáneamente, convirtiéndolo en uno nuevo que respete la información contenida en el original, en sentido amplio. Y esta transformación se debe producir solo con un ligerísimo desfase, que es el que le permite al intérprete ordenar las ideas y aplicar determinadas estrategias, algunas comunes a todas las combinaciones lingüísticas, otras más específicas que varían de unas a otras, como la anticipación.

Pero es importante no olvidar que hablar de palabras es una simplificación. El discurso no se compone solo de palabras, también contiene elementos que lo matizan en un sentido u otro: la entonación, el acento, etc. En definitiva, toda la comunicación no verbal que se encuentra en el discurso y que el orador incorpora.

La interpretación simultánea no es otra cosa que una forma especial de comunicación, por eso el intérprete sabe también que no está solo ante un discurso y un orador, sino también ante los receptores. Así, el texto del discurso podría respetar lo que se dice en palabras, pero tal vez la propia voz del intérprete fuese tan “aburrida” o su acento fuese tan marcado que los receptores no accediesen a la información verbal contenida en el discurso, incluso que se cansasen de escuchar y retiraran sus auriculares, de forma que la interpretación acabase siendo absolutamente fallida.

Pero para que todo esto funcione, tampoco debemos olvidar que el orador, el otro polo de la comunicación, debe ser consciente de que es interpretado, tanto antes como durante su intervención, para hacer posible el trabajo del intérprete y una comunicación adecuada. El intérprete, como vimos al principio, no es un autómata por cuya cabeza entran palabras en una lengua y salen palabras en otra.

alltimecustomisedservices-Imagen 1En el centro de la imagen, con auriculares, Karl Brandt, criminal de guerra nazi y médico personal de Hitler, durante los juicios de Núremberg (20 de agosto de 1947). Wikimedia Commons



La interpretación simultánea es la técnica más joven de la interpretación. Surgió a partir del fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. De hecho, su “puesta de largo” fue durante los procesos de Nürenberg, aunque ya antes había habido intentos técnicos para hacerla posible.

Rápidamente se extendió, mejorando el necesario equipamiento técnico, dado el ahorro de tiempo que suponía frente a la interpretación consecutiva, que había sido la estrella hasta entonces, sobre todo en el periodo entre las guerras mundiales. Baste pensar un encuentro donde estén presentes varias lenguas y la agilidad y el ahorro de tiempo que ofrece la interpretación simultánea.

¿Qué destrezas se necesitan para ser un buen intérprete simultáneo?

La propia pregunta ya implica abandonar la idea, más frecuente de lo deseable, de que el dominio de las lenguas sería por sí suficiente. Este dominio de las lenguas, que se presupone, no garantiza ni siquiera la aptitud para la formación como intérprete.

Es imprescindible que el intérprete posea una gran rapidez de reacción, una gran resistencia frente al estrés, un alto grado de curiosidad, entre otros. Es necesario que disponga de una cultura casi enciclopédica que le permita hacer frente a los múltiples retos que le puede plantear el discurso que tiene que interpretar. Porque un intérprete puede estar un día interpretando sobre neurocirugía y al día siguiente sobre energías renovables.

Sin embargo, en general, hay bastante desconocimiento sobre esta profesión. No es infrecuente, por ejemplo, encontrarnos con denominaciones como la de traducción simultánea, equiparando así la traducción y la interpretación, actividades que, aun teniendo muchas cosas en común, son muy diferentes.

No es extraño entonces que, a pesar del enorme impacto de la interpretación simultánea, de su alta especialización y del empuje de las asociaciones de intérpretes, tanto internacionales como nacionales, aun hoy en día no reciba el reconocimiento legal que le correspondería y, por tanto, soporte un alto grado de intrusismo. Baste con ver determinadas convocatorias públicas de intérpretes a las que normalmente se puede acceder desde cualquier titulación o incluso solo desde la formación secundaria.


Autor: Ángela Collados Aís : Catedrática de Interpretación, Universidad de Granada
Texto extraído de la web y escrito por Ángela Collado Aís
agencia de interpretes simultaneos, autonomo, Interpretes simultaneos, Sin categoría, traductor

Variety is the spice of life – en la variedad está el gusto

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A mucha gente le gusta tener un empleo estable y rutinario en una empresa y otras personas prosperan con la variedad que puede ofrecer ser autónomo. ¿Qué tipo de empleo te viene bien a ti y a tu personalidad?

Ejerciendo la profesión de intérprete de conferencias autónomo quiere decir que hay que enfrentar un nuevo reto todos los días…. No hay dos ponentes ni dos trabajos iguales y los temas a traducir varían constantemente… la adrenalina esta a flor de pie en situaciones complicadas – algunos profesionales crecen con los desafíos y otros lo pasan mal, aunque no se les nota….

Un intérprete puede estudiar la terminología, información del sector y de la especialidad, pero ¿qué haces si el ponente hace una presentación en inglés, no es nativo y no le entiendes bien? Los primeros minutos parecen eternos hasta que de repente hay un ‘click’ y empiezas a darte cuenta de lo que quiere decir y aunque no pronuncie bien las palabras ya no resulta tan difícil, es como si estuvieras en la piel del ponente hasta incluso, aunque vayas traduciendo unos segundos detrás, al final terminas casi a la vez y pronuncias la idea final en el mismo momento ….  Pero ¿Cómo ocurre esto?

Se debe a varios factores: primero, lo que está diciendo es tan obvio que no hace falta que termine la fase para saber lo que va a decir a continuación, otro se debe a la construcción gramatical de la frase y un tercero, porque ya estás en la mente del ponente y casi adivinas lo que va a decir…. Curioso, pero es así….

Un intérprete juega con fuego cada vez que entra en la cabina, pero la experiencia, la preparación y la ayuda del compañero de cabina ayudan mucho a ofrecer una buena interpretación.

Por lo tanto ¿os gusta una vida laboral variada y lleno de retos o prefieres un trabajo más estable y previsible? Este es un tema que hay que tener muy en cuenta antes de decidir si la interpretación es para ti…. Si prefieres la variedad, pues no te va a defraudar…. En la variedad está el gusto…