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When verbal communication takes place through face-to-face conversations with participants speaking different languages, interpretation is an absolute necessity to ensure that information is transmitted without any distortion or misunderstandings.
Although interpreting may seem like the most direct form of translation, it is actually a highly specialised and demanding activity. Given the importance of ensuring clear understanding amongst those taking part in the dialogue, high-quality interpretation requires a great presence of mind, in-depth knowledge of the vocabulary used and great responsibility.
First and foremost, the interpreter must maintain visual contact with the speaker. This is particularly important as the interpreter acts almost as the speaker’s linguistic mirror.
The interpreter must possess expert knowledge of the subject matter. When speaking about healthcare, for example, the interpreter must know the specific terminology in order to consecutively, accurately and fluently translate the dialogue. In this regard, they must know what topic is going to be discussed beforehand.
Interpreters need to have a very precise pronunciation and a pleasant yet neutral tone. They also need to be able to correctly meter and balance tone and speaking rhythm, syntonic with the speaker. Moreover, they need to pay attention to that being transmitted to their headset, requiring unwavering attention. A professional interpreter knows exactly how to speak in the microphone and how to breathe and act so as to not make any distracting noises.