Language Interpretation Services

Language Interpretation

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What is Language Interpretation

Interpreting is the process of converting the words, emotions, and tone of a spoken language into another language orally.

Oftentimes people use the terms “interpreting” and “translating” interchangeably, even though there is a stark difference between the two.

While translation involves converting languages into other languages through written text, interpreting consists of relaying information between languages verbally.

Language Interpretation in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, a landlocked country in southern Africa, has a rich history and cultural diversity. With over 16 official languages spoken in the country, language interpreting plays a vital role in enabling communication between individuals from different backgrounds and cultures

Why is Language Interpreting Important in Zimbabwe

  • Promotes Multilingualism

Zimbabwe’s diverse cultural heritage, coupled with its linguistic diversity, makes it crucial to have language interpretation services. Interpreters help bridge communication gaps between different ethnic groups and foster unity.

  • Facilitates Trade and Commerce

Zimbabwe’s economy depends heavily on international trade, and language interpretation services are critical in facilitating business transactions. Interpreters help bridge the communication gap between businesses and their foreign clients, which can result in increased revenue for the country.

  • Improves Access to Healthcare

Language barriers can be a significant hindrance to accessing healthcare services. Language interpretation in Zimbabwe is essential in breaking down these barriers and ensuring that every individual can access healthcare services.

  • Enhances Education

Language interpretation services are necessary in ensuring that all students, regardless of their linguistic background, can access quality education. It facilitates communication between teachers and students, ensuring that every student has equal access to educational opportunities.

Interpretation as a service

is an essential service that enables seamless communication between individuals who speak different languages. Nowadays, interpreter services have become ubiquitous in various settings, including business meetings, interviews, and court proceedings.

Furthermore, there are numerous professions that heavily rely on interpreter services to achieve their objectives. These include professional athletes, heads of state, lawyers, community members, high-ranking executives, and many more.

Interpreters possess a unique skill set, enabling them to decipher and convey the precise meaning and connotations of words and phrases from one language to another in a short amount of time. This is a critical component of their work as it allows the flow of conversation to remain uninterrupted, preventing any awkward or lengthy pauses.

Types on Interpretation

Interpreting services are highly versatile and adaptable, as they can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual client. Depending on the situation, clients may include governmental organisations, businesses, conference organisers, medical or educational institutions, and more.

In essence, interpreting services are essential when real-time or near real-time conversion of a source language to a target language is required. However, there are several types of language interpreting services that you should be familiar with. Here’s an overview of the most common ones.

Consecutive Interpreting

Consecutive interpreting is a form of interpretation that involves natural pauses in conversation. This type of interpretation is well-suited for smaller scale settings, such as face-to-face meetings where only two languages are being used, typically English and one other language.

Consecutive interpreters are commonly utilised in a variety of settings, including: 

  • medical and legal appointments
  • court hearings 
  • one-on-one meetings, as well as in small groups such as workshops, business meetings, interviews, press conferences, and teleconferences. 

They work by interpreting after the speaker has finished their sentence or thought, and typically, they take notes to ensure accuracy and completeness of the message. 

This type of interpretation allows for a more conversational and personal feel, making it an ideal choice for smaller settings where building rapport is crucial.

Simultaneous Interpreting

When it comes to conveying a significant amount of information in multiple languages, simultaneous interpreting services, also known as U.N.-style interpreting, proves to be an excellent choice. 

This approach is particularly suitable for conferences, symposia, and executive training programs of larger scales, where a smooth delivery of messages is crucial. By utilising this method of interpreting, not only does it save time, but it also enables uninterrupted interpretation, ultimately resulting in a more effective communication experience.

To ensure the highest level of uninterrupted interpretation, simultaneous interpreters typically work in pairs, utilising specialised equipment such as wireless headsets. 

Whispered Interpreting

Whispered interpretation, also known as “chuchotage” in French, is a technique of interpretation commonly used in small meetings and informal settings. 

This approach is often preferred when only two languages are involved, typically English and another language, and when only a small number of foreign language speakers need interpretation, often no more than one or two.

Whispered interpretation is suitable for a variety of settings, including business meetings and negotiations, site visits to locations such as workshops, factories, and school campuses, as well as one-on-one or small group meetings.

Unlike other forms of interpretation, whispered interpretation does not require special equipment such as booths, headphones, or microphones. 

Instead, the interpreter usually sits beside the guest or walks with them during site visits, whispering the interpretation directly to the person requiring it. This approach allows for a more intimate and personal communication experience without any distractions or interruptions.

Remote Interpreting

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote interpreting has emerged as a cost-effective and dependable solution for businesses and organisations. By leveraging popular video conference platforms like Zoom and Skype, our team of professional interpreters can assist in making your virtual meetings and online conferences a success.

By utilising remote interpreting, businesses and organisations can achieve greater accessibility and inclusivity in their communication practices, without compromising on quality or professionalism.

Relay Interpreting

In the realm of language interpretation, a particular scenario arises when dealing with less common or minority languages that are not well-known by many interpreters. To illustrate, consider language A, a more exotic tongue, which undergoes initial translation to English. Subsequently, the resulting English version is then translated to language B.

Interpretation services elements

During the interpretation process, various factors come into play. The interpreter, the speaker of the source language, and the receiver of the interpreted message in the target language are the primary factors involved.

The source language, which the interpreter interprets, and the target language, which is presented to the audience, form a language pair.

An interpreter can have several language pairs, depending on their level of expertise. For example, United Nations interpreters must be proficient in two official UN languages as well as their native language.

The art of interpretation requires a high level of cognitive ability from the interpreter. Simultaneous interpretation, for instance, necessitates the ability to concentrate on the source language as the speaker speaks and to relay the message in the target language concurrently.

Consecutive interpreters, on the other hand, must listen to complete thoughts presented by the source language speaker, remember them, and then translate them accurately to the target language recipient.

Without an interpreter’s sharp cognitive abilities, a conversation cannot be maintained between two speakers or between a speaker and the target audience. Precise attention and focus are required for all modes of interpretation.


The act of language interpretation in Zimbabwe is of great significance, allowing for effective communication between individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. Not only does it encourage multilingualism, but it also facilitates trade and commerce, improves access to healthcare, and enhances education. 

Despite its undeniable importance, this sector is faced with several significant challenges, including a dearth of qualified interpreters, a shortage of funding, and a lack of standardisation. 

It is imperative for both the government and other relevant stakeholders to invest in the language interpreting sector to ensure the provision of quality interpreting services and promote optimal communication.