Community Interpreting and Business Interpreting: What is the Difference?

Business and Community Interpreting

Business & Community Interpreting

You can find interpreters and translators in many different settings – at conferences, in medical and health facilities and escorting visitors from other countries. Two of the most popular areas of interpreting are business and community interpreting. While these interpreters practice their skills in different fields, following different requirements, they are ultimately reaching towards the same goal: to provide accurate messages from client to client. 

What is Community Interpreting?

Community interpreting requires a different skill set than those who practice business interpreting. This type of interpreting can take place in a variety of settings.  It is usually in an environment that is less formal and does not require highly skilled industry experience. Within this public service interpreting sphere, the main form of interpreting is consecutive interpretation. Consecutive interpretation involves a continuous dialogue.  One person speaks, the message is interpreted, then the other person replies and that message is interpreted. Additionally, the community interpreter is normally working with a population who relies on this service in order to navigate a new landscape.  This is vastly different as compared to someone in the business world who utilizes interpreters to navigate a landscape they are highly familiar with.

Business Interpreters and Their Responsibilities

Business interpreters, while similar to community interpreters, often find themselves in different situations with a different type of knowledge. They must be well-versed in business terminology and ideally have a business interpreter certification. Business interpreters should be able to understand not only what is being said explicitly, but also the undertones and tensions of the conversation. They are subject to a variety of pressures, tactics, and breakdowns during negotiations. Business interpreters should be able to understand the projects they are presented with from all the perspectives of the different parties involved.

How Community and Business Interpreting Connect

Both community and business interpreters should be qualified and have gone through some sort of interpreter class, such as a community interpreter certificate course or a business interpreter course. Their job holds significant weight in both worlds and can affect the outcome of important events.. Though they interpret in different scenarios and settings, they both strive to achieve the ultimate goal of providing excellent and accurate interpretation service for those involved.

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