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  • Yelena McCafferty

Focus on... Interpreters

Interpreters... Who are they? What do they do? An interpreter is often confused with a translator. In fact, it is partially true as the translator works with the written word and the interpreter translates speech. They work in the same industry and many linguists act as both.

Can anyone fluent in a foreign language be an interpreter or does it require formal training and experience? Unfortunately, the language market is slightly overcrowded by people who are trying to earn extra money by interpreting on the side. They often offer low rates, but with that can come lack of expertise and low quality of service.

As a Russian interpreter myself, I admit that interpreting is a serious profession. Think of a large conference with hundreds of delegates and dozens of speakers giving presentations on their vision of the global economy and ways out of the world economic crisis. How do you know that the interpreter you hear in your headphones is catching up with every sentence, giving you the right figures without vital omissions? A few years ago Russian President Vladimir Putin personally corrected a young interpreter when she mistranslated his statement about the country’s GDP, lowering it by 2%. And what do good interpreters do when they come across a joke which is not translatable? Do they explain it’s figure of speech or do they try to re-word it to convey the meaning? This is, certainly, a job for only a professional interpreter.

Of course, clients can make it a bit easier for interpreters by providing their presentations in advance and speaking slightly slower. At the end of the day, the impression they make on the foreign audience depends largely on the interpreter speaking in their language. So why not help each other and make it a success?

Conferences are, certainly, not the only event you would need an interpreter for. In the commercial sector you may require one for a business meeting, a trade show, a seminar or a training session. In the public sector, interpreters are called on during medical assessments, family visits, audits… So make sure you hire a professional; call us on 0207 0436940 or email



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