Interpreting in Australia

Most people struggle to understand the difference between interpreting and translating. As per Australian standards, translation is one in which you would convert a document written in language other than English (LOTE) into English or vice versa. An example of which could be getting your birth certificate (which is issued from your home country and is in LOTE) translated into English. Whereas, interpreting is “oral translation” in which you would convert the message delivered in source language to target language.

Interpreting is a common practice for anyone who is bilingual. For example, you might have been called upon by your parents a lot of the times to help understand a message that was in English; in this scenario you are acting as an interpreter. However, just being bilingual is not enough to become a professional interpreter. They must possess strong communication and interpersonal skills as well as professional ethics. Interpreters have a higher level of responsibility as they perform in formal settings, so they need to maintain accuracy and follow a strict code of conduct. It is also important to have knowledge of various areas like medical, social services, legal, commerce, politics etc.

Modes of Interpreting

  • Consecutive Interpreting: In this form of interpreting the interpreter is required to convert a lengthy message into the target language after it is delivered. Hence, they have to rely on their note taking skills and memory.
  • Simultaneous Interpreting: The interpreter is required to continually convey the message into other language at the same time as it is delivered. An example of which is interpreting that is conducted during a foreign delegate’s speech.
  • Dialogue Interpreting: This type of interpreting is commonly used in Australia where an interpreter conveys the message both direction. To illustrate, an interpreter is required when an English-speaking doctor conducts an interview of a patient who speaks LOTE.
  • Sight Translation: In this form of interpreting, an interpreter is required to convert a document written in either English or LOTE into the target language and read it out loud at the same time.

In the NAATI CCL exam students are required to perform dialogue interpreting and the topics for those dialogues are based on Australian context covering areas such as Medical, Centrelink, Immigration, Education, Legal etc. Read our next blog to find out more about the structure of NAATI CCL exam.

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