You are likely already familiar with interpreting for news broadcasting. There may have been a few instances you stumbled upon a channel where the anchors or hosts were talking and a different voice in another language is overlaid on their live speech. You may have also seen press conferences or coverages of speeches with interpretations in other languages put on top of the actual audio.
These are instances of simultaneous interpreting employed in broadcast media as they air or distribute their content to regions where a different language prevails. Media outfits, however, also employ consecutive interpreting in some cases especially when doing interviews with occasional guests.
There’s no question that interpreters are needed to facilitate understanding for news broadcast audiences who use different languages. The more important point here, though, is that you can’t just use any interpreter. For those in the media, most especially those involved in news and current affairs, it’s essential to use professional news interpreting services for the following compelling reasons.
How can news outfits deliver accurate news if they are unsure of the verbal translations of the information they obtain through interviews, speeches, or the conversations they overhear? Also, it’s not just about plain accuracy. A word-by-word translation can be regarded as accurate but not all of the time. Emphasis should be given on contextual accuracy.
Anyone who has spent a good chunk of their childhood watching subtitled anime can pick up some words and expressions in Japanese, for example. This exposure can be useful in attempting to translate some Japanese conversations unaided. However, whether the translation is in context or not is going to be a big question. You will rarely hear news anchors who happen to know some words or phrases in other languages attempting to interpret something they heard in another language on their own. Even if it’s for a simple detail, professional journalists would prefer having an interpreter to ascertain accuracy.
Only smart alec broadcasters would want to insist on using their own interpretation to “demonstrate” the extent of their knowledge. Only egotistic journalists would risk the accuracy of their story as they attempt to braggingly show that they can understand some other languages.
On the other hand, it’s also worth noting how news organizations make use of professional translators and interpreters to subtitle or provide interpretations for their programs (aired live or syndicated to other countries). Some may have in-house translators and interpreters, but when they have to translate in languages their in-house team does not cover, they turn to professional LSPs instead of asking for some random bilingual Joe or Jane to handle the translation. The interpretations you hear in some news programs, including those that come with simulated accents, are usually provided by professional interpreting services to ensure accuracy.
The commitment to accuracy is related to another attribute media outfits should have – credibility. To be credible, it’s fundamental to be associated with dependable information, something that can only be achieved by being accurate. Of course, it’s not possible to be faultless all of the time. There are many instances when news programs commit errors in details, pronunciation, or references. This is not an excuse, however, to be cavalier when it comes to language interpreting.
Occasional interpreting mistakes are forgivable, but committing them habitually because of not using professional interpreting services is a self-destructive imposition. It can seriously damage the reputation of a news program or even an entire media outlet.
Take note that in many cases, interpreters are needed because a program is dealing with a foreign guest whose words are deemed relevant locally and internationally. Erroneously translating the words of a globally-important personality does not only result in a mistake that disappoints the local audience of a specific program. Other programs will likely report about the mistake and put the program on the spot. This bad publicity is surely a bane for the credibility of any news organization.
Avoiding Becoming a Joke
It’s enjoyable watching YouTube compilations of news blunders, gaffes, faux pas, and other mistakes or unexpected incidents in news programs. However, it’s an entirely different feeling for the newspersons who become the subject of the joke.
Translation and interpreting mistakes by news programs tend to become news themselves, but in the odd/humor/special interest section. It’s not fun for an organization that is expected to be serious with journalistic accuracy standards and ethics to be reduced into a short comedic video clip.
That’s why it’s only logical for media organizations to use professional and experienced interpreting services. There’s nothing wrong with being frugal and mindful of expenses, but being a tightwad to the point of ditching professional interpreters to reduce operating costs does not bode well for the image of a serious news organization. This can even be exploited by competitors to mock and belittle the capabilities and credibility of a news outlet.
Keeping Up with the Pace
Simultaneous interpreting for broadcasts does not only require accuracy, but it also necessitates speedy thinking. Newsrooms may have bilingual or polyglot employees but without the proper training to become an interpreter, they cannot be considered competent news broadcast interpreters. More often than not, they are unlikely to have the skills and instinctive reflexes to deliver both speed and accuracy, especially when interpreting for rapid speakers.
It takes a couple of years or so to train to become an interpreter. After the training, you have to take tests and get the necessary experiences to train your mental agility and ability to piece together the right words to deliver quick and accurate interpretations. It’s definitely not going to be a walk in the park. It takes time to get the hang of it and be able to hone the following skills so they can be used at almost the same time:
- Processing information
- Translating information
- Verbalizing the translated information
Interpreting for live TV or online broadcasts is particularly demanding as “lags” are generally frowned upon. TV or webcast audiences expect the interpreting to be almost similar to dubbing, which means gaps between the actual conversations and interpretations should be barely conspicuous. It’s extremely difficult to do this even for professionals, as the interpreter needs to listen, understand, translate, and speak at virtually the same time.
If professionals find this task difficult, what would you expect from amateurs and ordinary polyglots who are not accustomed to the simultaneous interpreting routine?
Timely Delivery of Information
Simultaneous interpreting appears to be the preferred mode for news broadcasts, and rightly so because news needs to be delivered at its freshest. Only professionals interpreting services can provide the right combination of speed and accuracy needed for the simultaneous interpreting necessary for live broadcasts. Amateur interpreters and plain multilinguals don’t have enough experience and capabilities to deal with the pressure and other challenges involved in the job.
Professional and expert interpreters have special ways of framing thoughts and compressing long lines without losing the accuracy of the message being conveyed. You can’t expect the same from inexperienced newbies and those who lack adequate interpreting training.
Interpreting Services – The Takeaway
News broadcasts are in the business of information. Their product and service is the dissemination of information deemed timely and relevant to their audiences. This only means that they have to be emphatic and strict with the accuracy of the information they peddle. Errors brought about by the mistakes of an interpreter can have serious consequences not only to the credibility of the program but also to those who rely on the information aired by the program.
Professional interpreters are vital for news broadcasts because only those who have the proper training and experience are capable of interpreting for news broadcasts with accuracy and the right speed to keep up with the pace speakers talk (during simultaneous translation) to help maintain a news program’s credibility and prevent gaffes and reputational damage.
Hire Well-trained and Experienced Professional Interpreters for Your News Programs and Other Projects
Day Translations, Inc. is a global language solutions provider that serves clients in different countries in the populated continents of the world. We cater to your language service needs across different industries, from automotive to banking, healthcare, entertainment, legal, and of course the media industry. The company’s international network of interpreters, translators, localization experts, and other language professionals are always eager to handle any kind of job that involves the translation of one language to another. These include the subtitling and interpreting of news and other programs, interpreting for interviews and press conferences, as well as the localization of websites, apps, and video games.
If you have a project that needs to crush the language barrier, don’t hesitate to contact us through telephone at 1-800-969-6853 or via email at Contact us.. Our customer support team is available 24/7 to serve you whenever and wherever you may be.