While a translator renders a written text from the source language to the target language, an interpreter reproduces a spoken passage in the target language – be it (almost) simultaneously, be it consecutively.
Excellent language skills provide the necessary basis which enables the interpreter and translator to do his job. But this is not enough to be a professional interpreter or translator:
- Translators and interpreters have profound knowledge of one or
more areas of specialization. Especially interpreters need to be
able to familiarize themselves in a minimum of time with different subject areas.
- An interpreter and translator is able to transfer into the target language the “hidden” meaning of a text or a speech – for example different linguistic levels, irony or plays on words.
- Interpreters and translators know the specific habits of other countries and take them into consideration. This may, in extreme cases, avoid unpleasant misunderstandings or even the failure of a commercial relationship.
- In addition, also the general attitude, the facial expression and the body language are important for an adequate interpreting of the speaker’s intervention.
Beate Löwe-Navarro is a certified interpreter and translator (German / Spanish / Italian) and member of Germany’s Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ). She not only has the language qualifications and many years of experience required for her profession, but also a passion for dealing with people from diverse countries and cultures.