Interpreter FAQs

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Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions we get about our interpreters and interpreting services:

Q. Do I need an interpreter?

It is important to understand that a translator and an interpreter are two different things. A translator only deals with the written word. An interpreter deals with spoken languages.

An interpreter can be used for a wide range of reasons and situations. The basic reason an interpreter will be used is that a language barrier exists.

Interpreters are therefore used for business meetings, conferences, presentations, court hearings, police questioning, and many other situations where one or more people cannot understand each other due to speaking different languages.

Q. How much does an interpreter cost?

Costs depend upon factors such as language combination, the length of the assignment, the nature of the subject matter, the location, and the number of people involved.

At Kwintessential, we charge a straightforward hourly rate for interpreters plus travel time and travel expenses. We always strive to use an interpreter based close to you to minimise your costs.

Contact us to get a detailed quote on your latest interpreting assignment with zero commitment.

Q. How does telephone interpreting work?

For some purposes, you might consider a telephone interpreter or a virtual interpreter rather than having an interpreter be physically present.

In this situation, you will be on a joint telephone call or using virtual conferencing software. This allows your linguist to listen to what you and other parties involved in the conversation are saying and then verbally translate during natural pauses in the conversation.

This is a common choice for doctor’s appointments and the like. It is also very useful where social distancing regulations are in place or when a meeting is due to take place between two parties virtually in any case.

Q. Are your interpreters available throughout the UK?

Yes, our interpreters cover most of the UK and far beyond. Even if none of our approved interpreters is located close to you, we can still provide one.

This can involve dispatching an interpreter from further afield – always making you fully aware of any travel expenses – or via our telephone or virtual interpreting services.

Q. How many interpreters do I need?

This depends on the nature of the assignment you have in mind. Interpreting is mentally exhausting work, meaning an interpreter should never work for more than 45 minutes at a time without a break.

  • For simultaneous interpreting, the guidelines are a lot stricter. You should always hire two interpreters for whole-day assignments, with each interpreter taking turns of 20 to 30 minutes each.
  • For face to face and consecutive interpreting, the requirements differ according to the nature of the assignment.

If you need more advice, please contact us at any time.

Q. What kind of interpreter do I need?

There are two kinds of interpreters:

Simultaneous – a simultaneous interpreter sits in a booth and relays the verbal translation of what is being said through a microphone to listeners. This type of interpreting is used at conferences and large meetings.

Consecutive – a consecutive interpreter listens to a segment of a speech and then verbally translates it during a convenient pause. This type of interpreting is usually used during face to face meetings, site visits, appointments, interviews and the like.

If you are unsure as to what kind of interpreter you need, do contact us for obligation-free advice.

Q. How do I get interpreting equipment?

Simultaneous interpreting does require specific equipment. This is necessary because the interpreter will be seated in either a soundproof box or an entirely separate room and will need to watch and listen to the speaker they are interpreting the words of via video link. At the same time, they will be speaking to the audience via microphones and headsets or, in some cases, via audience mobile phones.

Key necessary equipment includes microphones, headsets, and a soundproof environment with audio and video links to the stage or presentation space.

You can either source this equipment yourself or allow us to handle this part of your assignment for you. Please do contact us at any time to find out more about preparing for the interpreting services you need.

Q. What information do I need to give you?

Initially, we will need the following information to book your interpreter:

  • Assignment date
  • Start and finish times
  • Location
  • Number of attendees
  • Nature of meeting or event

However, to get the best out of an interpreter, you need to give them as much background information as possible. If your interpreter goes into a meeting “blind”, they will find it much more difficult to accommodate your needs. For example:

  • If a meeting involves delicate issues, informing your linguist beforehand will prepare them.
  • If a presentation involves some specific terminology, the interpreter must be given a copy of the presentation in order to prepare.

Q. What is Chuchotage interpreting?

Chuchotage also goes by the name of “whispered interpreting”.

During this, the interpreter will position themselves just beside the member of the audience who requires interpreting and “whisper” or murmur the verbal translation of what is being said into the listener’s ear.

For this reason, chuchotage is only suitable for when one or two audience members need language support. Any more and the interpreter will not be able to position themselves close enough to cover all the delegates.

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