Training Manual

Interpreters Training

1) Interpreting:

* Translate or Interpret: to render from one language to another taking into account the subject and culture.
* Transliteration: to render letter for letter or word for word.
* Sight translation: Oral translation of a written document.
* Source Language: The language which is being interpreted from.
* Target Language: The language that is being interpreted into.
o Mother tongue or active language: Native or first language.
o Passive language: The language other than the mother language.
* Interpreting VS Summarizing:
o Summarize: To present in a condensed form, concise.
o Summarizing is not complete interpreting.
* Simultaneous VS Consecutive Interpreting:
o Simultaneous: alongside the original speaker; conveys everything that the speaker says.
o Consecutive: immediately after the speaker has completed his speech or part of it. Speaker and interpreter take turn speaking.
* Interpreting Process:

1 - Hearing; 2 - Understanding; 3 - Conversion; 4 _ Delivery (the natural flow).

* Lag time: the time from when the speaker starts speaking to when the interpreter starts.
* Lag time should not be too short or too long (approximately one sentence).
* With numbers and figures, keep a very short lag time.
* Too short: hard to understand and distracts the speaker; difficult to flow with the message.
* Too long: the interpreter loses some of the message and the attention of the audience is lost.

Characteristics of a good interpreter:

* Have a servant attitude and heart. You are providing a service that helps other people.
* Able to be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit and to the people you serve.
* Able to transfer information without any personal reaction.
* Able to convey the anointed message without hindrances:
o The anointed message flows:

1.) From the heart of God.
2.) To the heart of the speaker.
3.) Through the heart of the interpreter.
4.) To the heart of the audience.
* Interpreters are valuable: most important message in the world.

2) Nervousness:

* Fear of the unknown. The more information you have, the less nervous you will be.
* Don't wiggle or show your nervousness.
* Nervousness is mostly a frame of mind.
* The more fear you have, the less faith will operate. Fear is a spirit that will attack your mind (1Timothy 1:7). Fear will stop your faith.
* Focus on the words of the speaker and leading of the Holy Spirit, not on the audience’s response.
* Remember that you represent the speaker and the message that he conveys.
* The more experience you have, the easier it is. The first time is the hardest.
* Preparation will reduce nervousness.
* Deep breathing exercises will help you relax, reduce nervousness and help prepare your voice for public speaking. Example: A singer warms up his voice before singing.

3) Helping an Inexperienced Minister:

* Try to see what is in his heart. Talk to him. Have good communication.
* Ask him if he has used an interpreter before.
* If needed, tactfully and gracefully explain to him the proper way to use an interpreter. If done with the right attitude, he will receive what you have to say.
* This should be done before the interpreting assignment begins. Try to avoid correcting him during the presentation. You may have to take the initiative to do things correctly.
* If minister forgets to let you speak, jump in and start interpreting.

4) Job or Ministry:

* A job is work performed for a set wage and possibly a set time frame.
* Ministry is a deeper commitment which goes beyond a set wage or time frame. Ministry is not always fun and involves hard work. (Col. 3:17-25)

3 types of workers:
1) A person who is trained in a certain area and continues doing that type of work because he was trained in it, whether he likes it or not.
2) A person who just uses his present job as a stepping stone to promote or better him or herself.
3) A person who enjoys what he is doing. It is the desire of his heart and he puts all of his heart into it. What you love to do is a clue to your calling and talent.

* Do your very best. Be a profitable servant, (Luke 17:7-10). What measure you give will be the measure that comes back to you, (Mark 4:24; Gal. 6:7)

Ask yourself:
* What is the purpose of my interpreting?
* What is the best way to help the people I serve?

How to get started:
* Find someone who can use your help. Volunteer to help, plant good seeds that will grow into a professional interpreting or ministry position.
* Suggestions for places to serve: churches; ministries; pastors; missionaries; home groups; fellowships; Christian clubs and organizations, join ICIA!

5) Positioning and Conduct:

o A good interpreter will hardly be noticed.
o The interpreter should not be the main character.
o A good interpreter must also know how to conduct himself on the platform.
o Keep the same style as the speaker.
o Use the technique of mirror and match the speaker.
o Keep the same body movements.
o Hold the microphone the same as the speaker.
o Keep the same voice level, fluctuation, speed and rhythm.
o Use the same word stress and pauses.
o Example: people in an elevator.
o Stand to the side of the speaker and possibly ? step back, in most situations.
o You may ask the speaker where he would like you to stand.
o Know where to place your Bible before you start interpreting.
o Keep the same voice fluctuation as the speaker.
o In reading the Bible or other material in your native language, stress the same words that the speaker did when he read.
o The focus needs to be on the speaker, not the interpreter.
o In conference situations, the speakers should mainly be looking at each other and not the interpreter.
o Some ministers use the interpreter in ministering to people personally. The interpreter may come out of his regular interpreting role at that time.


* Lean on a chair
* Cross your arms
* Pace back and forth on your own
* Look nervous or wiggle
* Step in front of the speaker

6) Interpreting Situations:

* Interpreting from your native language into a foreign language.
* Interpreting from a foreign language into your native language.


1. On a stage or platform.
* You should hardly be noticed.

2. Casual conversations with individuals or groups.
* Are you interpreting or summarizing?

3. Private conferences or counseling sessions.
* Keep sensitive communication confidential.

4. Telephone conversations.
o Are you interpreting or negotiating for the minister?

5. Written materials: books, letters, documents, songs, etc.
o Is the intent of the message being conveyed? Have your work proofread by another interpreter if possible.

6. Conducting business or shopping.
o Make sure that the client knows what is going on. Don’t leave him in the dark.

7. Using head sets and microphone.
o All of your movements are being heard.

8. Question and answer sessions.
o Bad communication will lead to misunderstanding.

9. Television, radio, and recording voice-over or dubbing.
o Keep the same voice tone and fluctuations as the speaker.

10. Extended interpreting.
o Your interpreting quality will diminish the longer you interpret. For long assignments, make plans for breaks or to rotate with other interpreters.

11. Working with a team of interpreters for a group of foreigners.
o Work together, (team work). Support and encourage the other interpreters.

12. Interpreting songs in a church service.
o Communicate with the one you are interpreting for. Do they want or need the songs interpreted?

7) Your Role as an Interpreter:

* Simultaneous interpreting should always be done in the first person.
* Determine when and what role you should be in.
* Your body language should agree with the speaker and the intent of the message.
* Have correct word selection which is applicable to the audience. A minister can tell the same story in different ways depending on his audience.
o Example: The four Gospels tell the same story but from different viewpoints.
* Good interpreting allows the speaker to feel free to express himself and to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through him.
* Keep in contact with all the people that you work with, including those from your country and also foreigners, through letters, pictures, e-mails or fax messages.

8) Overcoming Difficult Situations:

* When you don’t understand or hear what the speaker said:

1) Pause and look at him.
2) Repeat the word that you didn’t understand. He will then repeat it or say it in a different way.
3) If you still don’t understand, simply say, “I don’t understand.”

* In preparation, you may want to locate another qualified interpreter who is sitting nearby to help you with words you don’t understand or hear. This is more applicable to smaller settings.
* Be sensitive in working with different denominations and doctrines. Are you working as an interpreter or sent to correct wrong doctrine?
* Don’t complain to other people, (Matt. 18:15; 1 Cor. 6:7).
* When the speaker makes a mistake as in a wrong verse reference. You need to be absolutely sure it was wrong. If so then simply repeat the verse to the speaker and allow him opportunity to correct it himself.
* When the speaker gives you as his interpreter compliments in public, be sure to stay in your interpreting role and interpret everything he says.

9) Summary:

* Know what interpreting is and when you should be in an interpreting role.
* Always be prepared for an interpreting assignment. You are a professional.
* A good interpreter will hardly be noticed and will be in high demand.
* Are you just doing a job or has God called you into the ministry?
* Be led by and flow with the Holy Spirit while interpreting.
* You are an able minister, not of the letter that kills, but of the spirit that gives life (2 Cor. 3: 5-6).
* Interpret from your heart, not just your head. Step over into the anointing for an interpreter.