The term “translator” refers to:
Any person who, professionally, transfers a written text from one language to another. The text may be general, technical, scientific or literary, and may be intended for publication in a book, magazine, periodical or any other format, or for use in the theatre, film, radio, television or any other media.
The languages used by the translator are:
- the active language (A) or target language: This is the language into which the translator translates and is generally the translator’s native language or principal active language. A professional translator only translates into a second language if this is strictly equivalent to his or her native or principal active language.
- the passive language (P) or source language: This is the language from which the translator translates. The number of source languages may be many. In principle, the translator does not translate into this (these) language(s).
The term “interpreter” refers to:
Any person who translates, orally, a conversation or presentation from one language to another. There are essentially two forms of interpreting:
- simultaneous interpreting (S): oral translation into the interpreter’s active language (see below) of a speaker’s discourse or presentation, while the speaker continues to speak. An electronic transmission system and an interpreter’s booth are necessary.
- consecutive interpreting (C): oral translation into the interpreter’s active language (see below) of a speaker’s discourse or presentation, either partly or wholly, as soon as the speaker gives the interpreter the floor. In principle, the interpreter takes written notes.
Each of these forms of interpreting has a variant:
- whispering (variant of simultaneous interpreting): the oral translation into the interpreter’s active language (see below) of the speaker’s discourse or presentation while the speaker is speaking. There is no electronic transmission system or interpreter’s booth. The interpreter sits next to his or her listeners, whispers and can therefore only interpret for one or two (to a maximum three) listeners and provided the speaker speaks loudly enough.
- liaison interpreting (L) (variant of consecutive interpreting): the oral translation after a conversation between two or more people in the interpreter’s active language (see below). The latter sits or stands next to or between the speakers and listeners and can, depending on the situation, determine for him- or herself, to a certain degree, how long each speaker speaks. In principle, the interpreter does not take written notes.
The conference interpreter is an interpreter who can carry out all forms of interpreting, mastering the techniques of simultaneous and consecutive interpreting is thus essential.
The working languages used by the interpreter are categorised as follows:
- language(s) A: mother tongue (native language) or main active language into which the interpreter translates a discourse or a presentation. There may be two if the second is strictly equivalent to the native language.
- language(s) B: the secondary active languages (not mother tongue) from which the interpreter translates a presentation or discourse. In some cases, the interpreter should work from and into this (these) language(s) (e.g. involvement of or questions from the listeners during a presentation, liaison interpreting, etc.).
- language(s) C: The passive language(s) from which the interpreter translates a discourse or presentation into his or her active language(s). Generally, the interpreter does not translate into this (these) language(s).