I do believe that, in order to be a successful interpreter – the kind that clients choose to work with over and over again – it is important to undergo proper training. Keeping this in mind, I have asked translator and interpreter Alejandra Jorge, who was my interpretation tutor at IES en Lenguas Vivas, Juan Ramon Fernandez, in Buenos Aires, and is now the Course Director at the English Translation School of the same institute, for her opinion.
I admire Alejandra greatly, not only for her impressive professional skills but also because of the seriousness and commitment with which she represents our profession, both in Argentina and abroad.
Here is what she wrote:
Why get qualified as an interpreter?
Scene: five businesspeople who do not speak the same language are sitting around a table. In comes someone who does speak both languages and then, as if by magic, the meeting is a success. Who was that person that provided such a valuable service? The interpreter.
It might be easy to think that speaking both languages is enough; however, it is not. In order for both parties in a meeting to understand each other without any breaks in their communication, the interpreter assisting them must become invisible in his or her visibility; the interpreter should only be visible in his or her performance. This is achievable through practice, of course, but also – and fundamentally – through proper training.
Professional interpreting training not only consists in consolidating the interpreter’s working languages, but also in acquiring a solid sociocultural foundation. Given the immediacy expected of interpreters in their communicative role, proper training focuses on exercises designed to get them to express themselves fluently, effortlessly, and richly. Interpreters in training also learn theoretically underpinned work methodologies and a range of strategies to improve their memories, focus, and speed of reaction.
Qualified interpreters do not only speak two or more languages; they are also aware of the importance of knowing the specific terminology for each project, as well as the different regionalisms, accents, tones of speech, and cultural differences. Professional interpreters are able to handle humour… and diplomacy.
Properly trained and qualified interpreters are the best ally a client can have; they are a consultant who not only solves linguistic matters but also ethical, situational, and even emotional ones. Professional interpreters are much more than just a bilingual person; they are an assurance of quality towards the success of your event.
Their added value lies precisely in their professional training.
Course Director, English Translation School
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
- IES en Lenguas Vivas, Juan Ramon Fernandez, in Argentina, my alma mater
- Alejandra Jorge‘s LinkedIn profile
Photo taken by me at the Christmas market in Trier, Germany. It was freezing cold but totally worth it!