Jesus Arrimadas


There is an essential difference between interpretation and translation: the semantic value of the message, which must be clear for those listening in the room is what predominates in the former; and in the latter you work from a given and completely defined text, the form of which is permanent.

There are two types of interpretation; consecutive interpretation, which is carried out when the speaker has stopped participating; and simultaneous interpretation, which is done practically at the same time as the message, is imparted in the original. language. At the present time this second type accounts for about 80% of all interpretations.

The interpreter does not just interpret the speaker word for word, but takes the images and ideas of the message and imparts them clearly and concisely in the language of the listeners, that is to say that he translates and interprets the general meaning of the words of the message.

In order to do this the interpreter must, almost at the same time impart the message interpreted and listen for the following one. He must, if he is to accomplish this, know both languages perfectly and have quite a deep knowledge of the subject being dealt with.

This requires an extensive vocabulary and quite a good knowledge of various different subjects. This knowledge is acquired through experience and also through continuous preparation of subjects to be dealt with throughout the interpreter's working life. He will avail himself of special encyclopedias, dictionaries and glossaries etc., however the conference documents supplied are his greatest help.

Lastly, it should be pointed out that the interpreter fulfils a fundamental role as a mediator. Although the ideas are those of the speaker, it is the interpreter who actively participates, speaking to the listeners in their language using his own expressions and tone of voice; yet he manages to assimilate the orator's style almost unconsciously.

It is of the utmost importance that the acoustics and the voice quality of the speakers be of a high standard. The interpreter should always express himself in his mother tongue in order to attain the highest linguistic quality possible in the interpretation.