Guest blog post: Interpreting in the Global Village of the 21st Century, by Claudia Brauer 6

Today’s guest blog post is from Claudia Brauer, who writes on the subject of interpreting. See more information about Claudia at the bottom of this post:

Interpreting in the Global Village of the 21st Century, by Claudia Brauer

Let’s start with the basics, because sometimes there is no clear understanding about the fundamental differences between translation and interpretation in today’s multilingual language industry.

Translation is the conversion of a text in a source language to its equivalent text in a target language. Translators must accurately translate the meaning of the concepts represented by written words, with fidelity, coherence, transparency and equivalence. Most translating efforts occur using a computer, they are received and submitted electronically, done with the help of computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) and are edited, proofread, corrected and formatted via computer.

Interpretation relates to the verbal rendering of a message from a source language into its approximate equivalent in a target language; for the interpreter to appropriately convey the message that the speaker is directing to the recipient, he/she must not only transform the spoken words and the immediate meaning of their thoughts or expressions, but must also take into account feelings and intention, as well as tone, register and speed of speech. Most interpreting takes place in real time and in person, be it face-to-face, or by phone or video.

A few months ago, InterpretAmerica Co-President Barry Slaughter Olsen addressed the members of the National Judiciary Interpreters and Translators Association, and stated, “Speech is perhaps the most human of all forms of human expression. And that is what makes human interpreters essential. In an increasingly interconnected and multilingual world, the demand for professional language expertise will only grow, in some cases exponentially…” (*1) This is wonderful news, supported by serious research.

First, let’s talk about speech. It is speculated that there are some 7000 languages in the world, yet only 2000 of them have a writing system and, of these, in many countries less than half the population has acquired functional literacy. Even in some industrialized countries about one in five adults reads at the 1st grade level (*2). Additionally, most humans speak way before they can read and write. It is a fact that all languages existed first as spoken before they ever had a written version, and most of us spend a great deal more of time talking than we do writing or reading (even in our instant messaging world).

Second, let’s talk about interconnection in the Global Village of the 21st Century. In accordance with the Internet World Stats, “the Internet has made distances shorter and the world smaller. However, the great divider that stands in the way of a truly global society is the fact that there are many different different languages spoken in our planet Earth.” (*3) Thus, in an interconnected world, the ability to verbally communicate in “my preferred language” (whatever that may be) has become a crucial component of our world. In terms of interpreting, in less than a decade we have gone from face-to-face simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, to over-the-phone, remote video-interpreting and web-based interpreting (simultaneous or consecutive). Technology is transforming our profession at the speed of light, literally, surprising us with many innovations. The term “video interpreter”, for example, is so new that many in the profession don’t even know of its existence, yet its technology is already commercially available and used in healthcare and court settings, and is sure to change the language services industry.

Third, let’s talk about the demand for professional interpreters. In addition to the business and financial world, and conferences and international events, interpreters are specially in high demand in the healthcare industry and in legal and military settings. Employment is projected to increase 22% across all industries (above average for other careers). As international commerce increases and the interaction of individuals from different parts of the world grows – exponentially – interpreters are every day more in demand. A recent market study identified interpretation as a “high-growth, high-pay profession”. Explaining the results of this study, Katharine Allen, co-founder of InterpretAmerica, stated: “Interpreting is a vastly undermarketed, underpublicized profession, especially within younger generations…Many bilingual staff pressed into interpreting at work may not even realize they are taking part in a professional activity that not only requires training, but which also offers a pathway to a dynamic career. An interpreter might be working one day for a high-profile court case, the next day for a business executive, and the next day in the emergency room of a hospital. The life of an interpreter is certainly never boring.” (*4)

Last, lets talk about training. Interpreting is recognized as a profession, but there is no unified certification process. There are different levels of certification for any given language, in any given industry and specific to each country. Basically there are three categories of interpreters: Certified Interpreters (in different fields like court or healthcare); Professionally Qualified Interpreters; and Language Skilled interpreters. The definition of certification varies widely, program components and structures differ significantly, and test forms used for certification are not consistent. However, any interpreter certification program involves some combination of training and testing, and attempt to provide the skills and abilities to perform professionally in the workforce, along with an evaluation of the knowledge acquired. This allows the interpreter to hold tangible proof that he/she can provide quality interpreting services and is able to interpret with an acceptable level of quality.



Starting in mid August 2011, starts offering its newly developed interpreting training series, conceived and instructed by Claudia Brauer, a 30-year veteran of the interpreting and translation industry.

These Virtual and CLAS training workshops are intended for working and aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists working in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

Each one of these 15 courses has been designed to be a 3-hour stand-alone session but may also be part of a 5-session bundle of progressive acquisition of practical knowledge. These bundles are brief and intensive, with novel information, emphasizing problem-solving, and packed with ready-to-use tips and resources.

Interested individuals may register at:
for any of the following bundles, or any of their stand-alone sessions:

Supported by infrastructure as the world largest community of translators and interpreters, Claudia aims to foster the development of culturally competent interpreters, translators, linguists, and bilingual individuals in the workforce, and to provide training that improves Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in the healthcare, legal, financial, educational, and business sectors.

Attendees who take the bundles are eligible to receive one or several of the Skills-Building Certificates that will be issued by

– BASIC CLAS KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century
– BASIC INTERPRETING KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century
– INTERPRETING TERMINOLOGY KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century

Additionally, starting in 2012, and Claudia will be launching a series of in-depth interpreting virtual studio classes, designed for working AND aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists, as well as fully bilingual personnel working in the healthcare, legal, educational, legal, financial or business industries.

The 2012 interpreting studio series will include Consecutive Interpreting, Phone & Video (OPI+RVI) Interpreting, and Healthcare Interpreting. The “ Interpreter” certificates will assure future employers and contractors that the holder has undergone adequate high quality training to perform as an interpreter.

For additional information, visit

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 9 Reply

This is the ninth post in a ten-part series that provides information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Ninth strategy: Attending translation industry events

Attending industry events also provides the opportunity to network with other professionals, learn more on different translation-related topics, and new trends and technologies, discuss theories with colleagues, present work and expand your business.

How can I network by attending translation industry events with hosts virtual and in-person conferences, training courses, powwows and more. Virtual events in particular can be convenient if you are short of time to travel.

At events, language professionals can meet other professionals, either virtually or in person, share experiences and knowledge, and have fun with fellow translators and interpreters while having the chance to receive job offers.

Learn more about upcoming events here.

Do you usually attend translation industry events? What benefits have you found in attending events? What do you like most, virtual or in-person events?

Stay tuned for the next, and last, post in this series on Writing a business plan.

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 8 2

This is the eighth post in the ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Eighth strategy: Building an online presence

In addition to social networking, language professionals are encouraged to build their online presence through their own professional websites.

Creating a website geared towards building or expanding your business means creating a professionally designed website that attracts visitors, optimized and updated regularly to beat competition.

Professional translators should approach their website with a client’s eyes and make sure the essentials are there (language pairs, services offered, contact information, testimonials, sample translations or recordings, important clients, past projects, formal training, among other details). A distinctive and unique domain name showing seriousness about the services being offered will set any professional translator apart.

How can I create my own website using members enjoy comprehensive web hosting services for free. Professional translators can register their domain or subdomain name and create their professional-looking website in minutes without knowing any HTML. The website creator assembles a fully functional website in minutes using the content from profiles. Find out more about hosting service here.

Do you have your own website? Share it below! Did your business improve after you set up your website? How?

Don’t forget to check the next post in this series on Attending translation industry events, to be posted shortly.

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 6 Reply

This is the sixth post in a ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Sixth strategy: Staying abreast of industry news and trends

Knowing about the latest translation industry trends and joining related discussions either on-line or in person allow professional translators to exchange information with colleagues and build a strong relationship with them, leading to job opportunities.

Also, if you have knowledge or news others would benefit from, don’t keep it to yourself! Sharing information on translation or business issues not only helps others and benefits the entire profession, but it is also a good way to promote yourself and your services.

How can I use to inform and stay informed?

At, there are several areas through which professional translators can keep up on current translation-related events and news, and share their own knowledge:

  • In the Wiki language professionals can start collaborative articles on relevant, industry related topics and contribute to already existing articles and discussions.
  • In Translation news articles, translators can post translation industry-related news, comment on, share and subscribe to items that have been posted.
  • In the Articles knowledge base, language professionals can read articles on topics of interest to translators, interpreters, and other language professionals, or post their own articles.

What other sources of translation-related news do you know? Do you have your own space to share news?

Make sure you check the upcoming post on Social networking. Stay tuned!

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 3 Reply

This is the third post in the ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Third strategy: Mentoring

A good number of well-established translators have chosen to take on an apprentice and have found that this provided them with a useful means not only of sharing their experience, but also of finding new partners for growing translation teams.

The mentoring of translators starting in the translation industry gives professional translators the chance to distinguish themselves as experts, generating trust among potential clients.

Can I mentor through

A mentoring program has recently been re-activated for members of the Certified PRO Network who are ready to share their business and working knowledge with other site members. Find more information about the mentoring program here.

Have you ever acted as a mentor? What advantages or disadvantages have you found in mentoring?

Don’t forget to check the next part in this series to be posted in the next few days on becoming a trainer.

January in translation Reply

January is coming to a close already. The newsletter for this month is on its way out, and if you have not received it already you should be getting it shortly.

Some highlights worth mentioning from this newsletter:

By the way, you can view the full archive of newsletters at

The first month of this year also brought some interesting industry news. Here are some highlights of translation-related news for January:

You can follow these and other translation industry stories through the Translation news service.

Have I forgotten something? Let me know!