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FAQS

Clients

What is the difference between a translator and an interpreter?
The translator is a professional who translates written texts, whereas an interpreter is a professional who translates orally at events, congresses, meetings or visits. The translator is not always an interpreter and vice-versa. If the professional works in both translation modalities, this person is referred to as translator-interpreter
What is the difference between simultaneous translation and consecutive translation?
Simultaneous translation promotes actual communication between speaker and audience in a continuous and natural manner, thus allowing all participants to express themselves in their native language and listen to the translation by means of earphones.

Consecutive translation, on the other hand, does not use any equipment. In this modality, the interpreter takes written notes while the speaker is presenting his/her speech in the source language. The speaker must interrupt the presentation after a sentence or part of the speech so that the interpreter can reproduce the words into the target language for the audience. This modality is better suited for small formal meetings, meetings between authorities or official ceremonies. Simultaneous translation is the more appropriate modality for technical contents or long presentations.
Why does APIC recommend a six-hour workday for interpreters?
Due to the exhausting nature of conference interpreting both from the mental and physical standpoint, international best practices instituted by interpreters´ associations establish that the interpreter´s workday shall comprise six hours of work, lunch/dinner time not included, and that interpreters must work in pairs.
Interpreters work in pairs, switching every 20 or 30 minutes. One interpreter takes over the microphone while the other interpreter takes a rest.
When working at events that last for more than six hours, interpreters are entitled to up to two hours of overtime pay, or the client may choose to contract a third interpreter.
When should I contract more than two interpreters per booth?
Events that last for more than one hour must always have two interpreters per booth. For longer events that entail eight or more hours of interpreting, the coordinating interpreter may choose to contract a third interpreter who will share the job with the other two interpreters.

A team of three interpreters ensures the necessary level of concentration and high-level performance during the entire lengthy event.
When is consecutive interpreting appropriate?
Consecutive interpreting is more appropriate for small formal meetings, meetings between authorities or official ceremonies. The simultaneous translation modality is more appropriate for technical and prolonged events.
What is linguistic classification?
Conference interpreters have different working languages with different levels of proficiency. Linguistic classification A indicates that the interpreter´s working language is his/her native language. Linguistic classification B indicates that the interpreter is totally fluent in that language, which is not his/her native language

In general, it is preferable for the interpreter to work from his/her language B to his/her language A.

Linguistic classification C indicates that the interpreter´s comprehension of the language is good enough to ensure his/her interpretation into languages B or A; however, the interpreter is not qualified to translate into his/her language C, also referred to as passive language.
What does it mean to act as coordinating interpreter and what are this person´s duties?
The coordinating interpreter – also referred to as consulting interpreter – analyzes the event and assists the client with the organization. In view of the fact that the coordinating interpreter knows the interpreters´ language classification, he or she is capable of optimizing the interpreting team so that everything runs smoothly and the interpreters` performance meets the client´s expectations. In, addition, the coordinating interpreter can help minimize event-related costs.

The coordinating interpreter is the liaison between the client and the interpreters. He/she is also responsible for making sure that all the necessary information – including the event agenda and the preparatory materials – has been conveyed to the team of interpreters, to ensure the team´s high-level performance during the event.

The coordinating interpreter is paid an additional fee – referred to as coordination fee – for this assistance.
How can the event organizer facilitate the conference interpreter´s work?
The event organizer is the interpreters´ team valuable partner. Interpreters should receive advance information on the contents of the event, on the speakers and on the event dynamics in order to be fully prepared for the job.

Providing this information in advance will allow interpreters the time to study the contents, become familiar with the current scenario related to the event and learn the necessary technical vocabulary for a smooth, natural delivery.
How can I ensure the non-disclosure of the information disclosed during the event?
Confidentiality is one of the basic principles of conference interpreters´ code of ethics. Interpreters are obliged to maintain confidentiality and total secrecy in regard to the issues discussed at the event, to the speakers or to resulting conclusions. Furthermore, the event organizer can require that interpreters sign a non-disclosure agreement, which is a standard practice adopted by most clients in this market.
Is it possible to record the simultaneous translation?
Conference interpreting is considered as being an intellectual exercise. Therefore, conference interpreters are entitled to the payment of an additional fee for copyrights and/or assignment of the rights on voice sounds whenever the contents of the interpretation are recorded.
What is a commercial interpreter?
A commercial interpreter is a professional interpreter accredited by the Board of Trade of the state where the interpreter is domiciled. To be certified as such, the commercial interpreter must first pass a certification exam given by the referred Board of Trade. Commercial - or sworn - interpreters are usually hired by government authorities to assist foreigners at registry offices, courts and government departments.
When is it possible to use portable equipment for simultaneous translation?
Portable equipment for simultaneous translation eliminates the need for booths and cables. It is an excellent option for short events with a small audience or for events that require speakers and participants to move around.

This kind of equipment is very convenient and is a good alternative to consecutive interpreting. However, it is important to note that the full solution – fixed booth and related equipment – is more convenient for interpreters and for the audience in the case of long-lasting events.

What simultaneous translation technologies are currently available?

When is it possible to use portable equipment for simultaneous translation?
Portable equipment for simultaneous translation eliminates the need for booths and cables. It is an excellent option for short events with a small audience or for events that require speakers and participants to move around.

This kind of equipment is very convenient and is a good alternative to consecutive interpreting. However, it is important to note that the full solution – fixed booth and related equipment – is more convenient for interpreters and for the audience in the case of long-lasting events.
Two Technologies are currently available, as follows:
Infrared or FM (Frequency Modulation). Both Technologies have advantages and disadvantages.

Infrared technology provides better security whenever confidentiality is an issue because the infrared waves do not go through solid structures such as doors and walls. This means that only the people in the meeting room or conference venue have access to the content being presented. If the event is being held in more than one room simultaneously, there is no risk that the audio in one room will capture the audio in another room. In addition, there is no interference from radio waves.

Infrared systems are available in analogical (with up to four channels) and digital (with up to 32 channels) versions. The analogical system is susceptible to interference from the sun shining directly on the equipment, and from incandescent and fluorescent light sources.

The FM (Frequency Modulation) technology is extensively used in Brazil and other countries. Most of these technologies operate under narrow bandwidth FM (from 72.1 to 79 MHZ). FM technology has several advantages: high dissemination, easy installation, broadcasting capacity to go through solid structures (allowing participants who are outside of the meeting or conference rooms to have access to the content). FM technology is used in portable simultaneous interpreting equipment. However, this system is susceptible to radio interference and can capture the more powerful signals within its reach.

We currently have only one system that operates in the 2,4 GHz frequency. This technology has a sophisticated coding system that can restrict access to event-related information and prevents interference from other devices operating in the same frequency range.
How should the interpreting booth be designed and installed?
The fixed interpreting booth has to be designed and installed to meet four main requirements:

1.The booth must have adequate sound insulation. Furthermore, there must be adequate sound insulation between the booths whenever different languages are to be translated simultaneously. There cannot be any sound interference between the source and target languages

2. The booth must provide efficient communication between the booth(s) and the audience

3. The booth must provide interpreters with an unobstructed view of the speaker and the related presentations

4. The booth environment must be comfortable so that the interpreters can maintain the necessary concentration to do their job adequately.

ISO 2603 regulation of 1998, revised in 2009, establishes the specifications for design and installation of a fixed booth in order to meet the requirements referred to above. Click on the link below for access to the regulation and remember that you can request our support. APIC´s Technical Specifications Committee is available to discuss the design and installation of new booths or the refurbishing of existing booths.

Interpreters

What kind of education should a professional interpreter have?
Professional interpreters must master at least two languages. In addition, they have to attend a specific course on conference interpreting, during which they will learn techniques, vocabulary and get hands-on experience in booth work.

Conference interpreting courses are available in the major cities in Brazil, especially on a post-graduate level. Regardless of how long they have been in this professional field, conference interpreters always study the contents of every event and prepare themselves thoroughly to ensure that their performance will meet their client´s expectations and those of the audience.
What are the basic rules of etiquette to be followed in the interpreting booth?
Conference interpreting requires discipline and concentration and, above all, respect. The conference interpreter must respect not only the client but also the colleague he or she is sharing the booth with. This is why the following rules have to be followed whenever two interpreters are sharing the same work environment:

  • Keep silent
  • Turn off your mobile device and the sound of your computer
  • Organize documents and papers
  • Do not rummage in your bag when you´re close to the microphone
  • Turn your microphone on mute if you feel like coughing, sneezing, drinking water, etc.
  • Be careful when typing on your keyboard; avoid any unnecessary sounds
  • Do not argue with your colleague
  • Do not interrupt your colleague unnecessarily
  • Ask your colleague about his/her preferences in relation to illumination, microphone handover, seating arrangement, etc.
  • Do not make any comments while your microphone is on
  • When leaving the booth, make sure it is clean and tidy
  • Wear the proper attire


Respect must exist outside the booth as well. Be discreet, wear understated clothes, and never distribute your business card if you´re working for a colleague´s client or for another party. And, it goes without saying, be polite to the client, the technicians, receptionists and to the audience.