Saturday, April 27, 2013

How Native and Expert Interpreters Can Work Together

Both Professional Expert Translators and Non-professional Native Translators have their place; work can be divided appropriately between them and they can be coordinated advantageously. This is neatly illustrated by a report that’s just come in from Canada. It’s about preparations for the International Children’s Games, but in this case the translators aren’t children.

Throughout the text, translator is used for interpreter, a common usage among lay people, even newspaper reporters.
“As Windsor and Essex County [an area on the Canada-USA border opposite Detroit] get ready to welcome the world on Aug. 14, there is still a lot of work to be done. A big part of that is recruiting and training volunteers to make sure the International Children's Games run smoothly. That job is about to get a bit easier, thanks to a $56,000 Trillium Foundation grant which will be used by the Multicultural Council to recruit a translation team of 250 members.
"‘Our community is making every effort to expand on the concept of translation ambassadors by ensuring each of our delegations will have a translator at these games,’ said Nora Romero, host committee member and sponsorship chair. ‘The grant will allow us to identify, recruit and train volunteers.’
“Romero said the funding will be used in three different ways. First, there will be certified translators [i.e., Professional Experts] whose job will be to work with the athletes and the media for interviews. Second, translators will be available to work with students in the various residences. And third, the translation team will be able to provide directions and guidance to friends and families of the athletes.
"This will be a great opportunity for some of our new Canadians [the Canadian euphemism for immigrants] to volunteer and get involved in the Games,’ she said.”
By the time they get to the Games, all the volunteers will be Native Translators from the training they’re to receive. It won’t be advanced training. I know because I took part in a similar interpreter training programme for the Inter-American Games in Winnipeg in 1997, when 3,000 local Spanish speakers applied for 30 places in the programme. But training over 200 of them in a few months is quite an achievement and it couldn’t be done if they weren't at least Natural Translators to start with.

  • Kelly Steele. Trillium funds translators for Children's Games. The Windsor Star, April 22, 2013. The report is here.
  • For the terms Native Translator, etc., enter essential definitions in the Search box on the right.


  1. This blog is wonderful . I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.

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  2. The importance and complexity of the immigration process should be reason enough for wanting a high level of validity with your translated documents..The risk of mistranslation is high if the translator is not proficient in both languages.

  3. Thank you for the compliment, Deny.

    And to 'certified translation': I agree that immigration documents should be entrusted to Expert Translators. For one thing, if the immigration authourities aren't satisfied with the translation there may be a considerable delay in the immigration process. Indeed the Canadian and Spanish immgration authorities, the ones I know best, like the Australian ones that you translate for, INSIST that the translations for them be done by Professional Experts. But immigration documents fall into the category of LEGAL translation, and that's a far cry from the kind of translation/interpretation that this post is about.

  4. For "authourities" read "authorities".

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