The purpose of an interpreter is to accurately convey your message to your audience. Whether you’re communicating with customers, negotiating with potential business partners, or speaking to employees, patients, or clients whose primary language is not English, clear, accurate communication is important.
Additionally, all federally funded organizations are legally required to provide interpreters, including the healthcare, legal, and educational systems. To conduct meetings such as medical appointments or parent/teacher conferences when English is not the primary language, skilled interpreters need to be included in the exchange of information.
Interpreters go through training to gain the skills needed to fulfill their purpose and learn how to expertly facilitate the conversation between participants. The role of a consecutive interpreter includes several key elements.
Conduit - An interpreter is there to convey the message with no additions, omissions, or embellishments. An experienced interpreter knows to interpret exactly word-for-word what is being said in the conversation.
Clarify - An interpreter can adjust or explain words that have no linguistic equivalent. Clarification is often needed when one of the parties does not understand the full meaning of what is being said. When needed, a professionally trained interpreter will clearly state that s/he is stepping out of their role to provide clarification or supporting information.
Culture Broker - A trained interpreter can provide cultural understanding. If there is something that one of the parties doesn’t understand, the interpreter can state that s/he is adding cultural context.
Advocate - An interpreter is an advocate to improve quality of communications. If the recipient doesn’t feel like they are understanding the material, the interpreter can share that information so that each party feels like they are connecting and communicating effectively.