What are interpreter mistakes, and how to fix them?

Accounting language services

An Interpreter acts as a third party where language barriers exist. He interprets verbal communication from the source language to the target language. The interpreter job is not as easy as people imagine. There are high chances of interpreter mistakes, It is a responsible position, and an interpreter must work very carefully.

Always prefer professional certified interpreters for interpreting because they make fewer mistakes and give accurate results. On the other hand, the unskilled interpreter makes many mistakes while analyzing. In this article, we will talk about those common mistakes an interpreter makes. We will also discuss how to fix these mistakes.



Challenges for an interpreter: Cause of interpreter mistakes

A certified professional interpreter encounters different challenges in interpreting sessions. We’ve listed four significant challenges an interpreter may face every day:

  • Difficulty hearing the speaker:

It is one of the most common interpreter mistakes and fundamental challenges interpreters face. During face-to-face interpretation, speaker audio equipment might fail, or the speaker might speak too softly, which could be a problem for the interpreter to hear. In these conditions, the interpreter can ask the speaker for clarification. The interpreter needs to listen to the whole communication. An interpreter cannot interpret what he could not hear.

  • Cultural knowledge:

Cultural knowledge is another challenge that interpreters face. An interpreter must understand a deep-rooted sense of cultural knowledge of the target language. Cultural knowledge includes cultural awareness, local slang, and regional idioms. An interpreter must deliver any given phrase accurately into the target language. Otherwise it becomes the cause of interpreter mistakes.

  • No prep Materials

Professional interpreters usually go over conference materials a day ahead of schedule. It helps them to prepare for the meeting assignments. The last-minute meeting will be a challenge for the interpreter, making a normal situation stressful. It will cause a problem for the interpreter when he receives no briefing about the meeting.

  • fail to interpret Humor, jokes, and Sarcasm

It is not an easy task for an interpreter to interpret humor or jokes. It is difficult to diagnose a joke in another language as it may lose meaning. Sometimes it may prove offensive in a different language. An interpreter can interpret a joke if he properly understands the purpose and importance of that joke.

Common interpreter mistakes and ways to fix them:

There are many common interpreter mistakes. We have mentioned these mistakes and their solutions below:

  • Grammar Errors

All languages have unique rules of grammar and syntax. Sometimes, regional differences make a problem for an interpreter to interpret. For example, the United States and the United Kingdom speak the same language, but there are differences in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. In British English, people call the front of a car the bonnet. While in American English, people call it the hood.

The interpreter should keep in mind the differences between spelling and sentence construction to avoid interpreter mistakes.

  • Mistranslations

Mistranslations occur due to a lack of research on the part of the interpreter. Interpreting the wrong word can be costly if the target country doesn’t have that word in its vocabulary. There are different words in different languages that have similar pronunciations but different meanings. For example, in English, “rope” means string, while in Spanish, “ropa” means clothes.

The interpreter should know the target language vocabulary. Cultural differences should keep in mind while interpreting. That’s a good strategy to cope up with interpreter mistakes.

  • Inconsistent interpretation:

Some inexperienced translators may face problems keeping improper tone which can lead to mistakes. Improper use of slang and idioms and incorrect placement of words make an inconsistent interpretation. Informal language and offensive tone create problems for an interpreter.

The tone of the voice in the interpretation should be professional and formal. The formal style of voice indicates the professionalism of the interpreter.

  • Errors in Source Text

In interpretation, it is necessary to have quality source material. All source content needs to be double-checked. If the interpreter provides poor range, the interpretation will be flawed too.

An interpreter can prevent source text error or interpreter mistakes if he replaces confusing words with simple words. This trick ensures understanding of every word of interpretation for the target audience.


  • Local slang and idioms

It is challenging for an interpreter to interpret slang and idioms. Idioms and slangs are tough to understand, for one. And interpretation would not interpret slang in the same sense. For example, if we say someone “apple of eye,” here we are not talking about apple and eye. This idiom is used for a person whom you love.

 An interpreter needs to know the local language’s meaning of all idioms and slang. It will help the interpreter to understand the whole text.

  • Ineffective Communication

If an interpreter fails to communicate with the client, there will be a lot of understanding between both parties. They both could not understand the requirements and needs of each other.

 It is essential to have a clear channel of communication for effective communication. An effective communication channel allows the interpreter to do a better job. One Step Translation (OST) is a perfect platform free from interpreter mistakes. The reason is that all the interpreters are highly qualified and experienced in our organization. 




About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these