Translation Industry News | 11.08.2009

World Leaders rely on interpreting services

When present at a major political conference, visiting The Hague in Brussels or attending an important meeting with a leading diplomat, language differences are a common obstacle to effective communication. Although a large number of events are conducted in English, many world leaders and diplomats don’t feel comfortable working in a language that isn’t their native tongue. When conversing in a second language it is easy to lose the nuances or the sentiment of a discussion point, this is why world leaders employ qualified professionals who specialise in multi-language communication and interpretation. Professional interpreters ensure that they communicate their point in the quickest, most accurate manner possible.

It is not uncommon to see important global figures wearing ear pieces through which they receive an interpretation of a discussion or speech. French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was spotted with an interpreter close at hand at the recent commemorations marking the anniversary of the D-Day landings. Fidel Castro is said to be a proficient English speaker, but always communicates via his interpreter to ensure every single word he says is understood correctly. A misinterpretation at this level could potentially change policies or cause serious global tension and embarrassment.

In some situations, it is common to use multiple interpreters. Simultaneous interpreters usually work for 20 minutes at a time. Simultaneous interpretation requires 100% concentration, as interpreters need to listen to discussions in one language whilst speaking in another. After 20 minutes changing interpreters ensures accuracy and significantly reduces any risk of misinterpretation.

It is important to note, however, that world leaders are not the only people who make use of interpreting services, local councils, private businesses and solicitors all make use of professional interpreters to make sure that their message is conveyed correctly, regardless of the languages involved.

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