Best certified interpreters not only translates what has been said from the source language into the target language. When interpreting, he also takes into account the emotional state and the resulting voice pitch and melody with which the words are spoken. If the interpreter sees the speaker, their facial expressions and gestures are also included in the translation. As you can see, interpreting is highly complex. It is all the more accurate the more familiar the interpreter is with the language to be interpreted. Good to know: No language can be mastered as virtuously as the mother tongue(s). Here we explain why this is the case and the advantages of booking a native speaker as an interpreter.
Before we dive right into the advantages of a native speaker as an interpreter, let’s see what the science has to say about native speakers.
10 Exciting Facts About Learning Your Native Language
There are exciting research results around the transmission and acquisition of mother tongue, including these:
- A child growing up in the womb will already hear voices and noises from outside in the last trimester of pregnancy and will be able to remember them later.
- In particular, a child reacts to the mother’s voice and the sound of the mother tongue immediately after birth and tries to form its own sounds according to the mother tongue melody.
- Even the first cries of a newborn child are shaped by their mother tongue. And the imprinting phase on the mother tongue is usually completed by the age of ten to twelve months.
- If you want to master a foreign language almost like your mother tongue, you have to start learning this language by the age of ten at the latest. Because after puberty, the brain regions responsible for learning foreign languages are developmentally mature and less flexible. Exciting: A second language is processed in different brain regions than the mother tongue.
- Our brain processes the grammar of a language in different areas that are connected with a kind of data superhighway (so-called arcuate strand, fasciculus arcuatus). The bundle of nerves initially needs a lot of language input in order to train – a process that is no longer as flexible as before at the age of six or seven.
You can usually tell quickly whether someone is a native speaker or not. And not so much in the choice of words as in the melody with which they are spoken. There is also some interesting research:
- Language is often compared to music. It is said that musical people learn languages more easily and also adopt the speech melody of foreign languages more easily and thus speak more without an accent. The same, according to a study, applies to open and empathetic people.
- Unlike small children, adults do not hear details of intonation or speech melody that they do not know from their own mother tongue. Instead, they only hear what they expect to hear.
- What is exciting in this context is that a whole range of languages are considered tonal languages: If you change either the pitch or the tone of a word syllable in these languages, the meaning of the associated word also changes. In tonal languages, the tone is therefore an integral part of the word.
- In German, on the other hand, it makes a difference in the meaning of a sentence whether the voice stays down at the end or goes up: The sentence “I speak German.” can be formulated as an affirmative statement or as a question.
- For many people, the mother tongue resonates when they speak a foreign language: that is, its so-called prosody (Wikipedia), i.e. the totality of phonetic properties such as word and sentence accent, intonation and sentence melody, speaking speed, speaking rhythm and pauses, colors the foreign language.
Good reasons why it is worth booking native speakers as interpreters
The prescribed proves in many ways that an interpreter has more to translate than words. He must unequivocally understand their meaning – in the specific context in which they are spoken, and take this into account when interpreting . In addition to pure language skills, the interpreter also needs knowledge about the language. He should also be informed about the topic that is being discussed. Because that also influences the meaning of what is said significantly.
An interpreter who is a native speaker has the best prerequisites for linguistically not missing anything that is being said. He has an excellent command of the language and can rely on his feeling for the language. He does not have to question words and phrases and examine their meaning in the current context. At best, they are familiar to him. He can therefore, if necessary with other senses than just hearing, concentrate on the other sources of information and information that the speaker brings with him: speech melody, facial expressions and gestures.
Incidentally, in order to interpret these correctly, the interpreter should first deal with the speaker in general and his peculiarities when speaking in particular. Does the speaker tend to use factual or flowery language? Does he speak clearly or ambiguous? Has he prepared himself to speak in front of international audiences by using figurative language that can be interpreted intelligibly into many languages, or does he exasperate the interpreters because his idioms are very local?
Karin Walker, deputy chairwoman of the Association of Conference Interpreters, explained to Deutschlandfunk Kultur: … the more cryptic a speaker expresses himself, the more difficult it is for the interpreter to track down: What did I hear? Versus: What was meant? Walker goes on to say: “We hear a lot between the lines, you have to prick up your ears and filter out nuances.” An interpreter does this by listening to the emotions, the pitch of the voice, the intonation of the speaker. If you have good visual contact, take the facial expressions and gestures with you. These are all factors that, apart from the spoken word, also play a very important role…
- As a result, if you book a native speaker as an interpreter, you will firstly get the right translation. One that includes what was said and all related info.
- Secondly, the native speaker is most likely to be the fastest interpreter because he can easily keep up with the speaker’s pace because he is very familiar with the speaker’s language. Speech speed is of the utmost importance, especially in professional simultaneous translation , which is often used at conferences. This in turn guarantees you that if you book native speakers as an interpreter, you will receive a complete translation.
When booking an interpreter, be sure to ask for native speakers! Whether for conferences, meetings, negotiations, live events or recordings:
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