Whispered interpreting demands or requires that the interpreter works right “in the trenches”—there is none of the “insulating convenience” provided by a sound-proofed booth, and you “wade neck-deep” along with the rest of the participants in the meeting as you navigate through certain quirks in the language interpretation.
You are also directly affected by the job site’s physical condition—the actual noise level in the room, the mood of the participants in the meeting, the temperature, and the general emotional situation can all act simultaneously to make the job of interpreting more difficult than usual. This is why people who work in the language interpretation field tend to avoid these kinds of assignments, as the work situation one finds in a whispered interpreting job can be seen as something that “cramps one’s style,” so to speak.
In fact, if language translation and interpreting agencies can be allowed to choose, they might not offer whispered interpreting at all. However, while it is a bit more “challenging” to provide whispered interpreting services, certain clients still prefer it. And of course, as there are countless types of meetings or conferences that might leave the conventional setup of simultaneous interpreting out of the question, there is sometimes no other choice but just to send an able language interpreter to the job site and “do their magic.”
Also, rare as they may be, there are professional language interpreters who may actually enjoy this kind of assignment. This is so because the “disadvantage” with whispered interpreting—the absence of any equipment—can also be seen as its distinct advantage—you can just go and proceed to a meeting or conference without getting encumbered with equipment.
Clearly, all an interpreter would need is his or her talent, as well as his stamina or endurance to remain mentally alert and capable until the meeting ends. Needless to say, this particular line of work is “freelancer friendly”—all one needs is language interpretation proficiency, and one can already earn one’s keep. No need to invest in often expensive equipment, and if you are good in what you do, you business contacts can grow exponentially—the more satisfied clients you have, the more job referrals you will receive.
We are not singling out whispered interpreting services as a particularly difficult job, but rather, we’re simply pointing out the peculiar challenges. Like other fields in the language translation and interpretation industry, whispered interpreting is a respectable line of work, and it can be a well-rewarding job, depending on one’s performance.
It is also safe to say that with the continuing trend toward global operations of businesses in the world, the need for whispered interpreting services will only further grow—for anyone who is engaged in this line of work, that means there is a bright professional future ahead of you.
Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation, a leading, full service translation service provider in London, UK.
Rosetta Translation provides its international clients with a range of interpreting services, including whispered interpreting.