Video Fix: How interpreters juggle two languages at once

June 27, 2018 11:56 am

One doesn’t need to be an actual polyglot to understand how tricky translation can be. To convey the proper meaning of sentences, proverbs, idioms and simple expressions surely takes more than a pocket dictionary or a quick visit to an instant online translator. In other words (literally!), beyond replacing words with their supposed equivalents, translating involves understanding a complexity of nuances, cultural means of expression, a wide range of vocabulary and strong linguistic proficiency, to name a few.

No wonder the automated engines often bring about funny and misleading – if not intelligible – results. And those that seem to have come up with better algorithms do not necessarily rely on a bigger corpus, but on the statistical recurrence of terms across different sources.

Now let´s imagine that a person is doing this exact same instant job. Translating in real time, except that the `text` – now voiced at unpredictable speeds, in various accents and with different contents – is continuous and there is no time for browsing and proofreading. The person has to be ready to translate while listening to the new content to be decoded. Sounds magical (slightly dangerous) and so is the work (therefore of great responsibility) of an interpreter.

Check out the Video Fix of this week to understand the efforts of these professionals in overcoming language barriers:


Written by Raquel Ferreira – Communication Study Visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg) and a student of the Master Program in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. She holds a degree in Psychology and an MBA in Strategic Personnel Management from the Universidade Federal de Sao Joao Del Rei – Brazil.

3,316 total views, 3 views today

Categorised in: ,

Leave a Reply