Interpreting and Translating FAQs

Why do I need to hire a professional language interpreter or translation service?
A trained and qualified interpreter is there to help you provide your service and to ensure that you and your organization meet your quality standards and legal responsibilities. An untrained interpreter can lead to miscommunications that can endanger the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) speaker and may also become a liability to you. If your organization receives federal financial assistance of any kind, you may be legally obligated by the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to provide professional interpreters.

What is the difference between interpretation and translation?
Interpretation is the conversion of a spoken message from one language to another. Translation is the conversion of written text from one language to another.

What are the skills of a good translator vs. the skills of a good interpreter?
The skill sets are similar but not identical. Of course, both interpreters and translators must be fully bilingual. Being familiar with the intricacies of both languages, they are able to convert the message, preserving all of its nuances, idiomatic expressions, and colloquialisms. However, bilingualism is not enough. Interpreters and translators must be familiar with the culture of the source and target language speakers as well. This also includes a good command of general and specialized vocabulary.

Interpreters must be "people persons." They must have good "people skills," but they must also be able to think quickly and have strong memory skills. They must be well-spoken, well-dressed and well-mannered -Interpreters should look and act as professional as their clients' senior executives act. Language Services strives to match the perfect interpreter for your particular setting, considering the interpreters technical language knowledge, cultural background, and experience in the field.

A good translator, on the other hand, must be a good writer. A translator must transfer the original written message into a text that reads well in the target language, with equivalent style and terminology. They must have a library of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, encyclopedias, and the Internet as well as knowing how to use these reference materials. As in interpreting, Language Services strives to match the perfect translator with the subject matter of the document translation. We consider the translator's technical knowledge of the field and cultural background, as well as his or her related experience and expertise.

Do you certify your translations?
Language Services will supply notarized certificates of accuracy for all translations we produce, at your request. These notarizations confirm our confidence in the quality of our work and will satisfy the requirements of U.S. government offices and courts.

Translation…a written rendering from one language to another

The International Institute of St. Louis has provided accurate and timely translations to thousands of individuals and businesses since our Business Solutions Center was established in 1995.

Our translators and editors pay strict attention to language and colloquial expressions that are appropriate to the document content and message as well as to the level of education and literacy of the reader. Your project will translated and then edited to ensure consistency, grammar, spelling, proper terminology, and formatting.

What are the federal guidelines for federally funded agencies?
We are a state approved Language Services Vendor
Any agency receiving federal funds must adhere to the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs receiving Federal financial assistance.

A recipient of FFA that does not have the ability to communicate with persons of LEP [Limited English Proficiency] deprives such persons of an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the services provided by the recipient.

If you are a state agency, division, office, bureau, commission or board, you are probably encountering increased linguistic diversity, especially in certain parts of the state.

Challenges are posed by Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals who are stopping at offices to access services, but are unable to communicate or understand staff members there. Maybe you are interested in marketing your services to a specific language and/or ethnic group who are in dire need of your services. We can help.

Examples of practices that could lead to a violation finding under Title VI are:

Providing services to LEP (Limited English Proficient) persons that are more limited in scope or that are lower in quality than those provided to other persons
Subjecting LEP persons to unreasonable delays in the delivery of services
Limiting participation in a program or activity on the basis on English proficiency
Providing services to LEP persons that are not as effective as those provided to those who are proficient in English
Requiring LEP persons to provide their own interpreters or pay for the services of interpreters

Here is a list of documents recommended for translation. Remember, translation of materials can also be from a foreign language into English:

Benefits application forms
Interview questionnaires
Standards & code regulations
Marketing flyers
Vital Statistics such as birth records, death records in other languages.
Newsletters or digests
Press releases
Tourism guides
Public notices
Legal document
Corporate Agreements


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Interpretation Inquiries

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