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5 Interpreting Myths vs Reality

5 Interpreting Myths vs Reality

Interpreting is a profession shrouded in misconceptions. Many people think it’s simply a matter of being bilingual, but the truth is much more complex. Professional interpreters have unique skills and face specific challenges that are often misunderstood by the general public. Let’s debunk some of the most common myths about interpreting and uncover the reality behind this essential service.

Myth 1: Anyone Can Speak English, So We Don’t Need an Interpreter

Reality: Specific Terminology and Comfort Levels Matter

While English is widely spoken, with approximately two billion speakers worldwide, this doesn’t mean that everyone is comfortable using it, especially when discussing specialized topics such as medicine or law. Professional interpreters facilitate richer, more accurate dialogue by allowing participants to express themselves in their native languages. This ensures that all nuances and specific terminologies are properly understood, which is crucial in high-stakes environments.


Myth 2: Bilinguals Are Good Simultaneous Interpreters

Reality: Formal Training and Experience Are Essential

Being bilingual is not the same as being an interpreter. Interpreters must not only be fluent in two or more languages but also possess formal training in interpreting techniques. They need to manage stressful situations seamlessly and prepare extensively for each event. This level of expertise is achieved through years of experience and specialized education, making professional interpreters much more than just bilingual individuals.


Myth 3: Simultaneous Interpreters Can Interpret Anything

Reality: Preparation and Speech Delivery Are Key

Even the most experienced interpreters cannot interpret any text or topic without preparation. Each field has its own terminology, which interpreters must study beforehand. Additionally, interpreters struggle with speeches that are too dense or delivered unnaturally, such as written texts read aloud without pauses. Effective interpreting requires a natural rhythm and pauses typical of spoken language to ensure the message is accurately conveyed.


Myth 4: Translator = Interpreter

Reality: Different Skills for Different Tasks

The terms “translator” and “interpreter” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different professions. Translators work with written text, while interpreters deal with live speech. Each role requires distinct skills and training. Therefore, a good translator might not necessarily be a good interpreter and vice versa. Always ensure that you hire professionals specialized in the specific task you need.


Myth 5: Simultaneous Interpreting Is Expensive

Reality: Cost-Efficiency Through Technology

Simultaneous interpreting can be more expensive than consecutive or business interpreting due to the need for specialized equipment like soundproof booths, infrared radiators, and wireless headsets. However, it offers the advantage of conducting multilingual conferences without delays, adding significant value to events. Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI) and Hybrid Interpretation is an innovative solution that reduces costs by allowing interpreters to work remotely using cloud technology. Attendees receive the translated speech on their mobile devices, or on the traditional infrared equipment, cutting expenses by up to 50% and providing access to top interpreters worldwide.


Interpreting is a vital service that ensures effective communication across languages and cultures. At Langpros, we strive to offer the best interpreting solutions tailored to our clients’ needs and budgets. Whether you need on-site, remote or hybrid interpreting, our team of professional interpreters is ready to help you achieve seamless communication.

If you have a multilingual project and are unsure about the best interpreting option, contact us for a consultation and a free quote. Let’s break down language barriers together and make your next event a success.

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