According to Wikipedia, interpreting “is a translational activity in which one produces a first and final target-language output on the basis of a one-time exposure to an expression in a source language.”
Interestingly, the profession of interpreting has only been around for less than a century. And one could argue that global trade has fueled the need for interpreters as businesses, governments and other institutions need to ensure that a common understanding is established in order to successfully move forward with a project, task or negotiation. So why exactly is interpretation so important?
Below are five scenarios where interpreting is critical and why you should consider adding a qualified language service provider to your roster of vendors.
1. Interpretation fosters diplomacy
Interpretation is a very helpful tool in international relations. With it, dialogues can become more productive, no matter where people are from. Experts who provide quality interpreting services are helpful not only in diplomacy, but also in all other situations where communication between cultures needs to take place. They contribute to a smoother process and avoid misunderstandings that could arise if there were no interpreter in the room.
In many countries around the world, interpreting services are mandatory because some people speak one language as their mother tongue, while others do not speak it at all or only a little and need help to understand what is being said. In countries with two official languages, such as Canada, the presence of interpreters at political negotiations or cabinet meetings is essential to assist legislators in their daily work. Interpretation is also essential in global diplomacy or at political meetings such as the G7 meetings or the UN General Assembly.
US Secretary, Anthony Blinken, addressed the importance of interpretation in diplomacy in his “Walks with Tony” YouTube series. In a conversation with Dr. Yun-Hyang Lee, Director of the Office of Language Services at the U.S. Department of State, Blinken stressed that, “Interpretation is a remarkable skill, and I can tell you we can’t do our diplomacy without it.” He went on to say that “it is a little known and under-appreciated service that allows diplomats to break down language barriers and get their messages across.”
2. Interpretation enhances business communication
It is no wonder that people have trouble understanding each other on a professional level. It can be difficult to come up with the right words, admit when you are wrong, or just make your point in a clear way – even in your native language. Research conducted by Grammarly and Harris Poll found that businesses lose up to $1.2 trillion per year due to lack of effective communication. This demonstrates how important interpretation really is to achieving any company's goals.
Among other data from the same study, 93% of business leaders say that communication is a fundamental part of organizations, referring to it as the backbone of business. It is often assumed that communication comes naturally, that we all communicate well, and that poor communication practices do not directly affect the achievement of objectives within an organization. The data says otherwise. Effective and correct communication even within an organization is of vital importance so that all members of the organization understand the message and the information without any barriers, especially in global teams.
Having a language service provider in your list of vendors that you can reach out to when planning multilingual business meetings or presentations to a diverse audience is a great way to increase the accuracy of understanding and avoid losing money and time due to ineffective communication.
3. Real-time understanding of what’s being said at events
Imagine you are at a conference or an event and you don't understand everything that is being said because the content is being conveyed in a language that is not your native tongue. Well, this is a reality that can happen to many people. In today's world, so many countries and cultures converge in business that it is increasingly important to convey a message clearly, concisely and correctly to people who do not speak the same language as your organization.
Speed of information transmission is more important than ever, and multilingual attendees will not want to wait until after an event or conference to receive the information in their preferred language. Ideally, they want to understand the information right then and there.
Working with a language service provider who can help you deliver the best simultaneous interpretation at your event or conference, whether it’s an in-person or virtual event setup, is key to ensure all attendees can understand what’s being shared on the spot.
4. Interpretation makes our global economy possible
The global economy today, more than ever, is influenced by many countries and - you guessed it - many languages. How can we imagine a world economy in which countries cannot communicate with each other to keep it running?
That's where interpretation comes in to keep the world economy in motion. One country must be able to communicate with another country and overcome language barriers in order to make the right decisions, understand their points of view and specific needs, and thus achieve stability.
As businesses, it is also extremely important to be able to communicate with our business partners located in other countries. Interpretation can be easily integrated into virtual meetings – whether you’re using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or another meeting platform. The right language solutions partner can guide you to a solution that best fits your needs and technical setup.
5. Interpretation helps us understand complex topics in everyday life
We have shared the importance of interpretation for businesses and countries. But what role does interpretation play for individuals in their daily lives? Even in everyday situations where the spoken language is not our strongest, we can benefit from an interpreter. Interpreting can actually affect many aspects of our lives and can be very useful when you least expect it.
In the United States, many people whose first language is not English request the help of an interpreter to understand a medical diagnosis or discuss treatment options with their doctor. Another example: you have to attend a court hearing, but you don't understand the language spoken there. Here's where a court certified interpreter can help you understand what’s being said and articulate your position.
An experienced language service provider can give you access to qualified interpreters for medical, legal, or educational scenarios in your daily life - from pre-scheduled interpretation appointments to on-demand interpreting at the time you need it.