Common Mistakes and Misconceptions About Interpreting and Interpreters No 1

Title 1

WRONG! If interpreters translated just words, or even worse, word for word, they would have been replaced by computers long ago.

Interpreters transpose ideas from one language and culture to a different language and culture.

Their job is to understand the message/idea/concept expressed in one language – indeed with words – and then find the best way to convey the same message/idea/concept in another language, sometimes using similar words, sometimes using completely different words and structures depending on the culture and the context.

Here’s an example to illustrate what we mean:

Original quote (if you don’t understand the original it doesn’t matter)

Original quoteMarc Lièvremont’s press conference the day after the French team was defeated 7-8 by New Zealand in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.

Word for word translationWord 4 Word


Translated by a translation software

Google translate


Here is what it sounds like when processed by a professional interpreterInterpreter quote