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Differences Between Conference And Liaison Interpreters
Konrad (2004: 2) stated that interpretation is a tool for communication that helps in coordinating verbal and sign language as the communication takes place. This is usually aimed at facilitating comprehension in people with various disabilities. In addition, interpretation is also used to translate information in a different language from one used by the speaker, whereby the interpreter repeats words in another language after the main speaker has spoken in order to facilitate inclusive comprehension. These forms of interpretation are known as simultaneous interpretation and consecutive interpreting respectively. An interpreter is required to make communication easy by converting the register and tone of the chief speaker into a form that is familiar to the audience with a lot of accuracy.
As indicated by Aranda (2007: 35), simultaneous interpretation is whereby the speaker and interpreter talk concurrently. On the other hand, consecutive interpretation involves the interpreter taking notes as the speaker speaks, then reads out the interpreted version after the speaker has completed a sentence, paragraph or entire presentation. However, these breaks are determined by the nature of the message and the agreement between the speaker and interpreter. Consecutive interpretation is therefore only possible in some fields. It gives more accurate information because the interpreter does not need to memorize a lot of content (Aranda 2007: 35).
However, the periodic interruptions affect content delivery and subsequently affect the concentration of the audience. Nevertheless, when done at convenient points, the breaks do not affect the presentation and thus full consecutive interpretation is better than simultaneous interpretation in terms of comprehension of message. Other modes of interpretation include whispered, relay and liaison interpretation. (Soto 2010: 195).
Liaison interpretation involves spread of information from one person to another or a group. Once a speaker delivers message to one person, they relay the information to a multiple number of other third parties. It can also be referred to as bilateral or escort. There are various types of interpretation, such as conference, judicial, escort, public sector, medical, media and sign language interpretations. Different specialists in different areas of specialization venture into different categories of interpreters (Aranda 2007: 35). The aim of this paper is to discuss the ways in which the work of the simultaneous and consecutive conference interpreters differs from a liaison interpreter working in the public service.
Conference interpreting is useful during conference and multi-national meetings. Further, public service interpreting is also called community interpreting mainly targets public services agents. Liaison interpreters are mainly used in police interviews, court interpretation as well as medical consultations. These settings may often involve rare language dialects, posing major challenges to this type of interpretation (Soto 2010: 195).
According to Soto (2010: 195), the environment for conference interpreting can be multi-party conference, one-to-one business meeting or even public services. However, liaison interpretation only occurs in formal public meetings or intervention, such as courts, police or hospitals. The message is in the form of an interview, where the interpreter acts as a middleman between the interviewer and interviewee.
Simultaneous and consecutive interpretations are the only forms of conference interpreting, and require that the interpreters use a boot that is sound proof (Hung 2002: 129).. They use microphones and headphones to interpret messages. Liaison interpreting does not need any technical devices. Since it is one of the many forms of semi-skilled labor requiring one-on-one mediation, there is no need for technical gadgets.
Simultaneous interpreting can either be in the form of a whisper or tour guiding. There are acoustic difficulties that hinder the interpretation process. Public service interpreting can involve simultaneous interpreting, though without the use of technical devices. The chief mode of communication is bilateral exchange (Ward & Wilkinson 2006: 15). The speakers are more than one, and the exchange is in form of question and answer, for instance, between a doctor and a patient in hospital settings, a policeman and a suspect in police settings, or between the accused and accuser in court settings. Liaison interpreters sit behind their clients and communicate messages simultaneously in form of whispers.
There are no time losses during conferencing, since the audiences are able to engage in note taking for clear comprehension. In conference interpretation, corporations are usually aware of the most proficient interpreter and may even capitalize on one professional interpreter for all the meetings held. This makes it easier to save time that would otherwise have been spent trying to locate an interpreter. Furthermore, interpreters are always advertising their services and therefore the best interpreter is always a phone call away. Liaison interpretation may take a shorter or longer time depending on the linguistic dialects involved. Nevertheless, the contractor, usually the government, has to spend a lot of time trying to identify a suitable interpreter. Such interpreters are subcontracted when need arises because they do not need to have any formal training, and this precisely makes public interpretation expensive in terms of time (Hung 2002: 99).
All delegates in conference interpretation are able to participate fully, adding life to the conference meeting. However, this is very difficult in public services interpretation. This is because the interpreters are strict in following bureaucratic rules that do not allow the resolution of arising issues during presentation. Challenges are often ignored and do not get the formal attention required to resolve them. All people involved are accorded equal time to participate in the dialogue, as the interpreter offers the necessary linguistic mediation needed to aid comprehension. However, it is the mediator who speaks more (Ward & Wilkinson 2006: 15-69).
Gile (2009: 25) postulated that the process of interpreting in simultaneous interpreting may involve lots of breaks interfering with comprehension. This may also be unsuitable for multi-lingual conference settings. It may also be a barrier for lively discussions. Public service interpreter on the other hand is capable of handling delicate issues. Their work is highly guided by strict guidelines to govern behavior, and therefore their work depicts high level of professionalism (Gile 2009: 25).
Conference interpreters are trained to work with standard languages and therefore this type of interpreting involves the use of both passive and active working languages. The active languages used in simultaneous and consecutive interpreters are A and B languages, while C language is used to refer to the passive language. Public service interpreters do not need to learn the standard forms of languages, as long as they can offer the relevant linguistic mediation needed to intervene a situation. This makes public service interpreters more competent as useful than conference interpreters. While liaison interpreters can speak the informal language varieties of natural languages, conference interpreters cannot. This makes communication difficult especially if the delegates are only familiar with a certain language variety or dialect, which is not the standard form of the language (Gile 2009: 157).
Simultaneous and consecutive interpreters are required to be extremely competent in order to ensure orderly interpretation. Conferences interpreters are used to communicate messages among delegates from different linguistic descend, and therefore professional monitoring is very important in selecting an interpreter. They should be people with high professional records since they are attending to important business or diplomatic personnel. Public service interpretation makes use of linguistic mediators who are either semi-qualified or lack any qualification at all. Professional monitoring is considered not relevant in public service interpretation. Liaison interpreters are therefore exempted from professional qualifications, including linguistic competence (Colin & Morris 1996: 137).
Efficiency in conference interpretation is dependent upon the relevant academic qualifications. More and pleasant academic certificates increase chances of delivering quality service. Such interpreters may help a company decide on related decisions, such as the number required for a conference interpretation. Simultaneous interpreting is useful in seminars, class, congresses, business meetings as well as diplomatic proceedings and therefore there is a high demand for highly skilled personnel (Tennent 2005: 156). Most people serving as public service interpreters, on the other hand, do not have formal professional or vocational training in the field. However, they usually have met the basic requirement, which is the most basic requirement in language requirement. They are commissioned to work within the settings that require the language pair of the speaker and audience (Tennent 2005: 156).
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