FAQ

What is Computer Aided Translation (CAT)?
Computer Aided Translation or CAT is sometimes called "interactive translation" and is intended for professional translators who are already fluent in the two languages they are translating. CAT tools often include terminology management and translation memory to enhance efficiency and accuracy of translation, especially in longer documents.

What is translation memory?
Think of translation memory as a database that stores words and phrases that you have already translated. The next time you come across the same word or phrase... the database looks up the word and automatically gives you the choice of using the same translation again. This accomplishes two things... it saves time and more importantly keeps the terminology consistent throughout the entire document. This is especially useful for bigger translation jobs where more than one translator is working on the same project.

Interpretation - Interpretation, or interpreting, is an activity that consists of establishing, either simultaneously or consecutively, oral communications between two or more speakers who are not speaking the same language.
Translation - Translation is an activity comprising the interpretation of the meaning of a text in one language and the production of a new, equivalent text in another language. The final product is called a translation.
Source language (SL) – The SL is the original language of a text or utterance before it is translated or interpreted.
Target language (TL) – The language into which a text is rendered. The language one translates or interprets into is the TL.
Simultaneous interpreting
·First used at the end of World War II during the Nuremberg trials.
·Usually accomplished in pairs with each interpreter taking turns at the microphone every 30 minutes.
·Most international organizations have their interpreters work only into the interpreters’ native tongue.
·Interpreters normally work in soundproof booths, attentively listening to the speaker’s remarks via headphones and following slightly behind in the target language. Decisiveness is paramount. There is no time to weigh the merits of various renditions.
·While some information may be written down (dates, names, important facts), simultaneous interpreters do not take notes as consecutive interpreters do.
·May also be done with the interpreter/audience using portable equipment (microphone and headphones).
·Most suitable for lectures, seminars and conferences and during events at which information generally flows in one direction.
Consecutive interpreting
·The interpreter normally stands alongside the speaker, listening and taking notes as the speech progresses. When the speaker has finished, or comes to a pause (every 1-5 minutes, at the end of every paragraph, end of a complete thought or concept), the interpreter reproduces the message in the target language, in its entirety and as though she were making the original speech.
·Key skills and tools are note taking, aggressive listening and a superior memory.
·Used primarily during meetings, negotiations, dinners, toasts, and during excursions and tours.
·The type of memory used most actively in consecutive interpreting (short-term) differs from that of simultaneous interpreting (long-term), and different note-taking skills are required.
Interpretation and Translation
It is easy to assume that interpretation and translation differ only in the medium: oral or written. However, there can be great differences in training (type, not necessarily the amount), skills and even some personality attributes.
·A translator must write well and express herself superbly in the target language. Ideally, the translator is a native speaker of the target language.
·It is imperative that the translator understands the source language and the culture of its speakers. She does not have to be as verbally fluent in the source language as the interpreter, but she should have a native or near-native comprehension of the meaning and nuance of the source text.
·A translator should have a comprehensive set of dictionaries and reference materials available (as well as have a high level of expertise in using on-line resources). A professional interpreter will also have these resources, but they are more for study and preparation and not for use while actually engaged in interpreting.
·While a translator may specialize in a narrowly focused subject or two, most conference interpreters normally prepare for a wide variety of topics.
·A translator’s work is more methodical and exact.
·All interpreters, but especially consecutive interpreters, should have superior short-term memory.
·An interpreter must have a good voice, excellent public speaking skills and panache. She should feel comfortable in the spotlight. While a simultaneous interpreter’s work is mostly anonymous, when an interpreter makes a major meaning error “in the booth,” an amazing number of people are eager to let her know about it. Consecutive interpreters tend to be more visible, as they usually are standing or sitting beside their principal.
·Professional interpreters and translators comprehensively read and study in the fields they work most often (in the target and source languages).

While translators and interpreters do share a love of languages and certain skill sets, the terms are not synonymous and the activities involved are indeed different.