Introduction to Translation and Interpretation
Translation and interpretation are excellent professions for people who love and speak multiple languages. Both translation and interpretation (T & I) require the ability to accurately express information in the target language without omissions or additions. Beyond linguistics, translators and interpreters need to understand the cultures of both the source and target languages, in order to adapt the language to the appropriate culture.
Translation vs. Interpretation
In general, most laypeople refer to both translation and interpretation as "translation." Although translation and interpretation share the common goal of converting information from one language into another, they involve two very different skills.
Translation is written - it involves taking a written text and translating it in writing into the target language.
Interpretation is oral - it refers to listening to something spoken and interpreting it orally into the target language. (Professionals who facilitate communicate between hearing persons and deaf persons are also known as interpreters)
Translation and Interpretation Terms
Source language: The language of the original message.
Target language: The language of the resulting translation or interpretation.
A language - Native language: Most people have one A language, although someone who was raised bilingual may have two A languages or an A and a B, depending on whether they are truly bilingual or just very fluent in the second language.
B language - Fluent language: Fluent here means near-native ability - understanding virtually all vocabulary, structure, dialects, cultural influence, etc.
C language - Working language: Translators and interpreters may have one or more C languages - those which they understand well enough to translate or interpret from but not to.
Types of Translation and Interpretation
Specialized translation or interpretation refers to domains which require training in the field (such as a university degree in the subject, or specialized coursework in that type of translation or interpretation).
Some common types of specialized translation and interpretation are
· financial translation and interpretation
· legal translation and interpretation
· literary translation
· medical translation and interpretation
· scientific translation and interpretation
· community translation and interpretation
Types of Translation
Automatic translation: Also known as machine translation, this is any translation that is done without human intervention, using software, hand-held translators, and online translators.
Computer-assisted translation: A human translates text with the aide of computer assisted translation software.
Subtitling and Dubbing: Translation of movies and television programs, including subtitling (where the translation is typed along the bottom of the screen) and dubbing (where the voices of native speakers of the target language are heard in place of the original actors).
Sight translation: A document in the source language is rendered orally in the target language.
Localization: The linguistic and cultural adaptation of websites, software, or other products to make them appropriate to the target country.
Types of Interpretation
Consecutive interpretation: The interpreter takes notes while listening to a speech, then does his or her interpretation during pauses. The consecutive interpreter would interpret in both directions, French to English and English to French. Unlike translation and simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation is commonly done into the interpreter's A and B languages.
Simultaneous interpretation: The interpreter listens to a speech and simultaneously interprets it, using headphones and a microphone. This is commonly used when there are numerous languages needed, such as in the United Nations.