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What is Interpretation

Defining Interpretation in the County Donegal Context

Interpreting is the conversion of speech from one language to another. For the purpose of this project interpreting is proposed to be: 

‘an activity that consists of establishing, either simultaneously or consecutively, oral or gestural communications between two or more speakers who are not able to use the same set of symbols or language’. (NCCRI, 2008)

The NCCRI identified that an interpreter is ‘the practitioner who orally translates for and between parties conversing in different languages. Interpreters should convey all elements of meaning, and the intentions and feelings of the original, source language speaker. The end result is an intermediate stage of spoken communication, which aims to allow target language listeners to hear, perceive, and experience the message in a way that is as close as possible to the experience of those who understand the original, source language’.

There are different types of Interpreting:

  • Face to Face Interpreting: All parties are present at the session. This type of interaction is essential for some for situations.
  • Consecutive Interpreting is when the interpreter translates or summarises (in total or in sections) after each of the speakers’ contributions to a conversation. It is appropriate for one-to-one and small informal group interpreting and requires no specialised equipment. It is a relatively slow process, since all contributions to the conversation are repeated in real time.
  • Telephone Interpreting: Telephone interpreting is useful for emergency situations and for setting up appointments. It should not be used for counselling sessions or giving bad news.
  • Relay Interpreting: In some cases it is impossible to locate an interpreter who speaks both English and the required language. Therefore a bridge language is required.
  • Simultaneous Interpreting is when the interpreter’s version is delivered almost at the same time as the original source, with a delay only as long as it takes for the interpreter to digest the meaning of the source.
  • Whispered Simultaneous Interpreting: Is used particularly in legal cases where the interpreter whispers the translation to the defendant.
  • Sight Translation: The translation of a document by an interpreter; for example a patient could have a document about medication which an interpreter would be asked to read into English.
  • Community Interpreting: is provided face to face and / or over the phone. Community interpreting (also known as institutional interpreting) is usually done in the consecutive mode in a dialogue-like interaction. It enables communication between users and providers of public services such as: healthcare, government agencies, community centres, legal settings, educational institutions, and social services.