Interpreting Client FAQ's
- Are translation and interpretation basically the same thing?
- Interpreters are people good at speaking multiple languages, right?
- So what does an LS/I interpreter offer that other linguists don’t?
- Aren’t interpreters in the private market just as good as LS/I interpreters?
- Still, interpreting seems so expensive. Does LS/I make profits?
- So LS/I is not a private contracting agency that pays interpreters?
- Our office will have a meeting with foreign delegates and some of them speak English. How do I know what kind of interpreting I need, if any?
- Your PO is recommending a team of interpreters and equipment. Why is that? We only want one interpreter.
- Sometimes I have seen things getting “lost in translation”. Isn’t that because the interpreter is doing a bad job?
- OK, but we are limited in what we can give interpreters prior to the event. We will give them some materials when they arrive. That’s enough, isn’t it?
- How can my agency get an estimate for interpreting services and fund my request?
Translating Client FAQs
- How can I request a translation?
- My government agency is requesting a translation. Do we have to pay for translations done by Language Services?
- Does Language Services offer translation services to other government agencies?
- Does Language Services provide transcription of foreign-language recordings?
- Would Language Services assist in conforming an international agreement to be signed in English and another language?
- What translation (written) services does Language Services offer?
INTERPRETING CLIENT FAQS
No. While both involve converting one language to another, translation is for the written word (anything from slide briefings and websites to treaties and official correspondence) and interpretation is for the spoken word (meetings, conferences and summits). In both cases, a professional linguist conveys the meaning into the other language to accurately reflect the communicator’s intent. If you have anything containing the written word for which you need a translator, please contact LS/T at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if you have a meeting where non-English speakers will attend and require an interpreter, please contact LS/I at email@example.com and we will assist you with your interpreting needs. To expedite the processing of your request, please specify in the subject line which language(s) you will need
Not exactly. Language training and interpreter training are two different fields with two different purposes. People who get language training do so to be able to speak and communicate their own ideas in a foreign language. In contrast, interpreters train so they can convey the ideas of other people between cultures. Graduate programs in interpreting do not accept candidates who are not already professionally bilingual. Students undergo two years of intensive training before even being qualified to work as an interpreter. Accordingly, although most interpreters enjoy studying multiple languages, most in the U.S. market tend to have only two of what we call “working languages.” At LS/I, we maintain this standard. If an interpreter passes our Spanish interpreting test then they will be eligible to work between English and Spanish only. Even if they are fluent in, say, Portuguese and Italian, they will not be eligible to work in those languages unless they successfully test in those languages as well. Please note that – since conversational fluency does not suffice – few linguists are able to serve as U.S. government (USG) interpreters in multiple languages.
8. Your PO is recommending a team of interpreters and equipment. Why is that? We only want one interpreter.
They are doing that to ensure the success of your event. Understaffing the event could cause decreased accuracy. Why? Broadly speaking, there are two modes of interpreting: Consecutive and simultaneous. In consecutive (or “consec”), the interpreter waits for the principal to finish speaking a few sentences before interpreting, so there is a back-and-forth quality to it and no equipment is used, except for a microphone on occasion. However, in simultaneous interpreting (or “simul”), the linguist interprets while the principal is speaking. You may have seen people listening to foreign speeches with headphones and yet reacting in real time to what the speaker is saying. That is what the end product of simul looks like. Both modes are exhausting for the interpreter. To get a taste of how exhausting simul is, try listening to a fast-paced speech given in English and simply repeat everything they say in English (this is called “shadowing”). After doing that for 15 minutes non-stop you will see how tiring it is; the added burden of rendering that into a foreign language is even more tiring. That is why – for the sake of quality and accuracy, and to prevent interpreter burnout – simul booths need to be staffed by two or more professional interpreters who can take turns while also assisting each other. Even for consec, which only seems less tiring, we do not allow interpreters to work alone for over two hours. Research and experience show that failing to adhere to these standards causes major exhaustion, and accuracy worsens as the interpreter tires. Another point: Equipment is a must for simul and, while this adds to the overall cost, it will generally halve the meeting time and make it possible to interpret for larger groups of people. Your PO will be able to ascertain whether your event will need a simul team and equipment.
Usually, no. Some people think interpreters just parrot what the speaker is saying word-for-word, only in a foreign language. That is not the case at all. In fact, if they did that, the result would be utter gibberish. Interpreters need to familiarize themselves with the special terms and concepts used in your field, and then be able to interpret those to sound natural to the foreign listener’s ear. This requires time, preparation and understanding of relevant concepts, something good interpreters work on prior to even coming to your venue. Imagine a legal scenario where you must argue a case in front of a judge. As the stakes are very high, it would be a poor strategy to simply find the lowest priced lawyer possible the day of the trial, hand them the brief as they walk into court, and expect them to successfully argue the case. Similarly, you cannot send an interpreter into an event without prior preparation, and you cannot use an untrained person as an interpreter. Having an unqualified linguist interpret could end up hurting the success of your event, and in some cases could constitute negligence. One indication you are dealing with a good interpreter is if they request talking points and preparatory materials in advance. In fact, professional interpreters routinely turn down prestigious and lucrative assignments when they suspect they will not be properly prepared. They do not want to hinder their professional reputation for a quick buck.
TRANSLATING CLIENT FAQS
In order to request a service, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance and to receive a translation request form.
If you already have a translation request form, send it, along with the document(s) for translation, to our inbox at email@example.com. In your email to firstname.lastname@example.org, please provide any relevant reference material, related order numbers and other relevant parameters for your project. Our team of Translation Project Managers monitors our inbox during business hours. They will handle your inquiry promptly and will follow up on your request.
It is our mandate to support the Department of State and the White House with any translation or interpreting needed to conduct foreign relations with non-English speaking peoples. Whenever possible we will provide staff interpreters and translators at no cost to the requesting State Department office. When the demand is too great or when a staff member does not cover the required language, the requesting bureau is asked to provide a funding obligation in CFMS to pay the salary of the contractor(s) assigned to the requirement. Payment is accomplished through an OF 347.
Language Services charges other federal agencies for these services. Our office is funded by reimbursed money. We are happy to assist other agencies but we ask that this be handled through those agencies with appropriate compensation. Without this funding, Language Services would not be able to provide such high quality service to our clients.? Please contact us at email@example.com with your request and we will provide further guidance.
LS accepts joint transcription and translation assignments where a written translation of a foreign-language recording is needed.
However, LS rarely accepts assignments that only involve transcription of foreign-language recordings. Because of the time-consuming nature of this work, staff translators are usually not available to transcribe recordings. Under some circumstances, we will accept a transcription assignment if we are able to place it with a contractor. Transcription is compensated by the hour and can be quite expensive, particularly if the quality of the recording is poor.
Yes, any international agreement to be signed by the United States and another government in English and another language must be conformed by Language Services. We will certify that the document has the same meaning in all languages concerned.?
Formal translation and review, certified translations, comparisons, complex formatting, conference translation and translation project management services, desktop publishing, document analysis, in-depth summary translation, post-desktop publishing review, sight translation, summary translation, terminology vetting, transcription of audio recordings and hand-writing, and unreviewed translations.
The LS/I and LS/T teams look forward to assisting you with your language needs!