Three women are sitting down with a laptop and are communicating with an interpreter.

In Today’s Era, Who Needs an Interpreter?

Est. Reading Time: 5min
Category: Interpret
Last Updated: November 25, 2020
By: Rana Hamodah

The title of this article is a question that a lot of our clients and people who aren’t aware of the translation industry ask.

We live in a world where everything is available at the tap of a button. You can get paragraphs and sentences translated to and from any language within seconds thanks to tools like Babylon and Microsoft Translator. 

These tools come from reliable companies and, above all, are free to use. Then, why does someone need an interpreter? 

First of all, free translation tools aren’t reliable. They can’t replace an English interpreter. 

Despite what everyone says, the fact remains that computers can’t replace humans – especially when it comes to this industry. Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot perfectly understand emotions or feelings behind words and hence can’t be considered a reliable English interpreter.

But Are Interpreters Important?

Yes, more important than most of us think.

At Translate Calgary, we receive a lot of requests for our translating interpreting service. A large number of people also look for an over the phone interpreter who can quickly solve translation-related problems a user may have.

The need for an interpreter is pretty obvious. It doesn’t matter where you live or what kind of a job you do, you will someday come across someone who speaks a different language.

You might not care much if the person speaking a foreign language is a stranger, but how will you react if the other person is a potential client, someone in need, or your family member?

Think about it. Businesses have gone global. Companies in Canada have clients all around the world, from China to Russia to Japan to South Korea.

These big companies bring millions of dollars to American companies, but they can’t speak the language Americans do. English, despite being an international language, still has its limitations. 

It isn’t properly spoken or understood in many parts of the world, which is why companies look for interpreters.

They’re used at different stages:

  • First when you have to make a proposal or understand your client requirements.
  • Next, when you have to negotiate the terms and finalize the contract.
  • Again, when you have to deliver goods and ask for feedback.
  • Lastly, once you close the job and hope the client will come back.

Now, think about a US company doing business with a Chinese company. Both companies will need interpreters. The American company will have to hire someone who can speak and understand both English and Chinese, and the Chinese company will have to hire an English interpreter who can speak both English and Chinese.

This example very clearly explains and highlights why interpreter services are in demand. But this isn’t the only industry that requires interpreters.

Who Else Needs Interpreters?

If you look around you, you’ll find that interpreters or translators are required in all walks of life.

A grandma might need an interpreter to help understand what her grandson says.

An employer might require an interpreter to communicate with an expat worker.

People make a living by offering telephone interpreter services including over the phone interpreter services.

An interpreter does not only translate what people say or write, but also helps understand what it means. A literal translation might not always be enough. 

Think about an advertisement campaign or a technical paper. Merely getting it translated might not be enough, you might need someone who can explain the document to you since the essence can get lost during the translation process.

Here’s where you can expect to see interpreters:

  • At a major hotel that receives international guests.
  • At political offices that may receive politicians from around the world.
  • At a television studio where news might fly from abroad.

Technically speaking, any business or individual that comes into contact with people who speak a different language might require an interpreter.

A 2016 IBIS World report identified the following industries as the biggest consumer of interpreter and translation services :

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Retail, Technology, and finance
  • Medicine, natural sciences, and engineering
  • State and local governments

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences found that about 30 percent of business executives miss opportunities abroad due to little or poor language skills. The situation is pretty similar in Canada. 

Some of the most in-demand languages are English, Tigrinya, Spanish, Chinese, Amharic, Arabic, and Hindi. It’s easy to find interpreters for some but it can be hard for others.

It’s believed that about 40 percent of managers and marketers blame poor understanding of language as a reason why they fail to make an impact in international markets.

Interpreters can help bridge this gap by allowing companies to have a better understanding of what to say and how to say it. However, you must hire a skilled and experienced interpreter to enjoy all the benefits.

Whether you’re looking for an English interpreter or telephone interpreter service, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch to know more about our translating interpreting service or to hire an over the phone interpreter.

About the author

Rana Hamodah

As a migrant to Canada, Rana understands the challenges newcomers face and how access to information can help ease the transition.

Her two Bachelors of Arts in Linguistics and Literature and Translation paired with her Masters in Education and her candidacy for a Ph.D. in Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy (EDD) at the university of British Columbia make her uniquely qualified in ethnocultural communications. She is a Commissioner for Oath and can administer oaths and take, receive, and attest affidavits, affirmations and declarations. Currently, she is also pursuing her Immigration Consultant Certificate.