One of the most frequently asked inquiries at Interpreters and Translators, Inc. is, “Can we use a bilingual staff member to interpret?” “No,” is the short answer. This is a simple question to answer for a variety of reasons.

First, clarify the distinctions between a multilingual employee and a professional interpreter. A bilingual employee is someone who works for you and is fluent in two or more languages. A professional interpreter has been evaluated for professional skills, speaks at least two languages fluently, and has the basic training and experience to interpret.

Professional interpreters can interpret with competence and accuracy while maintaining high ethics and confidentiality standards. To overcome this typical barrier and access the global market, many businesses believe that hiring multilingual personnel who can assist with translation and cross-cultural relations is the best answer. In theory, this concept makes perfect sense.

In actuality, though, it may cost your firm money. Hiring a bilingual employee to ask them to assist you with translation places an unfair burden on that individual. However, it may also have a detrimental influence on your firm. The best interpreters can also understand the hidden meanings and inflections of the source and target languages.

They are able to convey the mood and intent of both languages, which aids in providing the correct translation. This necessitates superior memory and/or note-taking abilities, the capacity to multitask, and genuine empathy for both sides.

The Dangers of Relying on Bilingual Employees for Interpretation:

While it is simple and appropriate to request a brief translation or interpretation from a bilingual staff member is an essential circumstance, abstain from asking them to perform much more.

Dedicated interpreters can assist you in avoiding the numerous hazards associated with forcing your multilingual personnel to perform regular interpreting services.

Using bilingual personnel is not always the best option. Professional interpreter services should be included in a Language Access Plan even if multilingual individuals are on staff.

When a multilingual person is not available, support all languages and give full-service help.

They are not a professional interpreter.

It may seem apparent, but I’ll repeat it: they are not a professional interpreter. There is a reason why accurate translation requires at least three years of study and a few years of practice.

It takes considerably longer to become an expert in a particular sector, such as medical, IT, or legal translation.

The professional interpreter also utilizes specialized tools and translation memory (akin to a lexicon or dictionary but with your input) to ensure consistency in using your company’s jargon and that all of your materials have a consistent writing style.

Translators stay current on language changes, such as new entries in authoritative dictionaries or grammatical modifications issued by language authorities.

A professional interpreter can frequently prepare your documents after translation (also known as DTP – or desktop publishing) to be ready for final use, whether for printing, a PowerPoint presentation, or uploading to your website.

Lower business security:

You are liable to misconceptions and false information if you do not use a professional interpreter. As a result, you may lose clients, scare patients, and possibly face legal action.

Suppose you do not provide a certified translator to communicate with consumers and patients about your services. In that case, you will face profound implications, especially in the medical and legal domains.

A competent interpreter ensures the safety and security of your company, practice, or firm and its clients. Don’t put your trust in just any person to deliver critical information. You can ensure that all information is correct and complete by securing interpretation services.

Missing Cultural Context:

Not all multilingual employees have the essential cultural context for both languages. Although many multilingual people visit the nations and cultures where their language originated frequently, some learn a second language in a classroom and may miss vital context and meanings.

Other bilingual people may have grown up speaking their primary language and lack the cultural context required to perceive English correctly.

As previously said, cultural context is critical when it comes to an understanding. A word or phrase may have a different connotation than another in one language.

You risk losing meaning in translation unless you use professional interpreterLST provides professional interpreter services for every interpretation.

Translation vs. Interpretation:

There is also a distinction to be done between translation and interpretation. When a person reads or hears a word, phrase, or statement in one language, they search for a comparable word, phrase, or sentence in another language.

The translation is a straightforward, analytical procedure that requires knowledge of several words and phrases in both languages.

The interpretation varies greatly. Consuming knowledge and effectively transmitting it in another language, including the complexity, tone, and implications that each thought contains, is part of this process.

Consider idioms, slang, and other intricacies in the English language—direct translation can often lose the original meaning in favor of an overly literal, confused muddle.