Interpreter: the peculiarities and complexities of the profession

It is no secret that you can thoroughly know several foreign languages, communicate freely in them, but still experience difficulties in situations when you have to play the role of an interpreter in communication between people who seek to understand each other as best as possible. And what if you have to translate the statement in just a few seconds and "push it to the air"? This is the work of a synchronist translator, without which no international event can be hold, including major summits, world-class economic forums and the awarding of prestigious awards. What is worth knowing about this special profession?

Interpretation and artificial intelligence



Since ancient times, such a concept as a professional translator, was associated exclusively with a human. Person translated, person wrote down and was troubleshooting questionable phrases. However, computer programs and dedicated software are improving every day, and the quality of translations made with the help of artificial intelligence is really getting better and better each day. Meanwhile, the peculiarities of live communication are such that only a person can catch all the nuances of meaning, and software products can only be used as good assistants.

“Interpreter” is a profession with only growing demand, and this is not surprising in the era of globalization, interaction and interweaving of cultures. Among the representatives of this profession it is only translator-synchronist who can be called the specialist of “aerobatics”. The responsibility of such specialist, who perceives speech and almost instantly conveys the content of the statement in another language, is huge, because the success of communication between people, and sometimes - even fate can lie on the scales when they do their job.

In recent years, synchronists have increasingly been recruited not only for major international events with many participants, but also for narrow business negotiations with foreign partners. Consistent translation involves pauses for comprehension, and the use of synchronist services makes any meeting more dynamic, eliminating a language barrier.

Invisible Translator

A modern synchronist is a person who often works behind the scenes in a small room with good sound insulation. He may also be near his client, either pronouncing translated text aloud or whispering it in his ear or through a special mobile device.
A modern interpreter should have a level of training so that the translated text should be translated in real time, with full sense. It is permissible that the translation lag from the words of the speaker reaches up to five seconds, not exceeding half of the phrase, but synchronized virtuosos with great practice cope with the task much faster. The professional translates phrases at the moment of their pronunciation, not waiting for the end of the sentence and not having time to select words.
Not all speakers remember that their speech is instantly translated, and speak very quickly, saturating natural utterances by many idioms. The translator should quickly highlight the main thing, cut off the secondary, maintaining both meaning and pace.

Special skills

What other skills should a simultaneous interpreter have? In addition to impeccable linguistic knowledge, wide vocabulary, special training, possession of a common cultural, business and socio-economic context, the interpreter-synchronist should have important personal qualities, which, in fact, determine his professionalism:

Excellent diction
Perfect hearing
Good memory and its high volume
Mindfulness
The ability to quickly analyze spoken language and build succinct utterances;
Intelligent performance
The ability to stay in the shadow, to work without attracting attention;
High level of erudition.


Another important characteristic of an interpreter is a high level of stress resistance. Work requires extreme concentration, willingness to respond instantly to the most unpredictable situations, to find the most adequate language equivalents in cases when speakers lose their temper, lose the thread of utterance, switch to emotions or frankly confused in testimony.

It is no coincidence that the World Health Organization (WHO) has included the profession of a synchronous interpreter on the list of the most stressful work activities.

It is very difficult to master the profession of translator-synchronist, it is necessary to improve in it constantly, steadily expanding the range of possibilities, developing soft skills, increasing the overall cultural level. However, in addition to financial encouragement, the pleasure of a perfectly done  job becomes an inspirational reward for intellectual work at high speed.

You can always check your pronouncing skills with our voice recognition and text typing tool.

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