Common Myths About Interpreters


In situations where two parties or individuals need to understand each other, an interpreter is going to be the most valuable asset.  We’ve touched on one of the biggest myths in the past: Bilingual speakers are not necessarily interpreters, and now we’d like to eliminate a few more common myths about interpreting:

Myth: My bilingual child/family member/friend can attend medical appointments with me, I don’t need an interpreter:

Truth: While you might get by bringing along a second language speaker to grasp the general idea, critical information will be discussed that may contain complex terminology.  Unless a person has gone through extensive training to understand these terms, they will not know how to accurately describe the content of what was said. It’s best that a certified medical interpreter is present for not only accuracy, but peace of mind that every detail has been correctly explained to ensure understanding.

 Myth: I speak a second language, I’m an interpreter!

Truth: Fluency in your native language must be beyond a conversational level in order to be an interpreter. Being able to speak a second or third language is a major part of the requirement, but the knowledge and vocabulary needed to accurately relay information from one person to another is a mastered skill.  Depending on your level of expertise in a language, a person interested in becoming an interpreter may need to take language classes before they can move forward with courses of specialized training in the fields they desire.  Interpreters must also keep their certifications current as new terms, procedures, and regional colloquialisms are constantly being infused into our languages.

 Myth: Having an interpreter means they will answer the questions from the person I’m trying to communicate with for me:

Truth:  An interpreter’s goal is to provide understanding between yourself and the person you’re trying to communicate with. An interpreter is a neutral presence and is never to answer questions for you.  Your eye contact and conversation should transpire between yourself and the other person, with the interpreter only engaging when delivering the content of the conversation.

 Myth: An interpreter can interpret for ANY industry:

Truth: Requirements for interpreting vary in different industries. UN interpreters will have different certifications and requirements than staff interpreters in a business setting.  If an individual is looking to become an interpreter for the medical or judicial industries, the criteria will also be drastically different. Depending on which industry an individual chooses, training to become an interpreter may even take years before they’re able to provide service.

Having a dedicated interpreter available within seconds is exactly what ensures confidence when choosing a provider for your interpretation needs. Choosing a reliable service with not only certified interpreters, but are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is important when you’re in a situation that requires one. At Telelanguage, our certified and skilled interpreters are ready to speak with you wherever you’re at in the world, 365 days a year.


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