Why Interpreters Work in Teams

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When interpreters are working, their brains are working overtime. One of the most important functions of the interpreter’s brain is that of memory. The interpreter must not only remember what is being said –but repeat it in a different language at a rapid pace. If you were to try to repeat a television show, word for word as it was happening in the same language, it would most likely be a challenge. Now switch languages and you can easily see how exhausting and mentally taxing interpretation can be! Studies have shown that because of the high level of brain performance required to interpret, the quality of interpretation decreases over time. The deterioration of quality increases if there are other factors such as environmental, physiological or physical stress. It is important that interpreters know their strengths in subject matter, take regular breaks and are well rested before an assignment so that they can limit the fatigue on the brain that interpretation causes. It is very important, as well, that interpreters do not work for long periods of time alone. Teamwork in interpretation is imperative!! Sometimes, clients will ask project managers why two or three interpreters are required to cover an event. It is important that project managers understand the reasons why teams are required so they can explain to their clients why the interpretation industry is made up of teams and not individuals. We have found that once our clients understand the intense nature of interpretation and the fact that we want the quality to be consistent; they are very understanding of and impressed with the teamwork of our interpreters.

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