Interpreting in communities and for legal matters

Perhaps this is not new information to you, but many people have no idea that at a notary a foreign citizen is not allowed to sign any bilingual legal document unless they can read and understand both the languages it is written in. This is where the authorized interpreters come in. They can read and interpret the document for the foreigner and they can also help the involved parties understand each other until all paperwork is done.

This type of interpreting service is fundamentally different from event interpretation (which is in most cases simultaneous, more specialized and complex), but it requires special authorization that can be obtained from the Ministry of Justice. Usually the authorized interpreters don’t simultaneously convey the message of the speaker, as consecutive interpretation, with few notable exceptions such as emergency interpretation, is usually enough.

Interpreting for legal purposes

Marriage between a local and a foreigner, buying property and official meetings for citizenship paperwork are the most common situations when people need the services of a qualified interpreter, but there are also situations when interpreters’ jobs are more difficult, such as trials and other legal encounters, such as inheritance matters or mediation or when children are involved.

When it comes to interpreting for legal purposes, there are a few things the interpreter needs to keep in mind. First and foremost, a seasoned professional knows they need to be as accurate as possible. This means that they need to have a good understanding of the legal terminology involved and to ask for clarification whenever it is necessary.

In addition to being accurate, the interpreter also needs to be impartial. This means that they will never try to interpret what is spoken in a way that is favorable to one party or the other, nor change the meaning or the tone of voice. They should simply provide an accurate and objective interpretation of the whole message, just as it is uttered by the speaker.

Finally, they also need to be aware of the cultural particularities of the parties they’re interpreting for. This is especially important if participants are from a country with a different legal system and customs. Cultural nuances can and will impact the message.

Interpreting for the police

Interpreting services are vital for police officers when they need to communicate with people who speak different languages than the one of the country they’re in. This is important when dealing with incidents involving foreigners, both at the site of the incident and in the precinct, as the police officers need to understand everyone’s view of the facts before they make the necessary paperwork and take decisions. This is especially important when foreigners need to understand their rights and the legal implications of their actions, their options and the course of procedure.

Without interpretation services for police matters, foreigners could find themselves in very difficult situations and officers themselves could face danger where they don’t understand what’s being said to them or if they cannot make themselves understood. This could lead to misunderstandings and, in some cases, violence.

Interpreters can help prevent miscommunication and tragedies by acting as a bridge between police officers and the people they serve.

This is especially necessary in certain dense and heterogeneous urban areas, where officers are responding to calls and they may find themselves facing an incident involving people whose language they cannot understand. This is where emergency interpreters come in.

Emergency interpreters are professionals trained to interpret in high-pressure situations. They know how to keep calm under pressure and accurately relay information between two people who don’t share a language. Such interpreters must also have a deep understanding of culture so that they can help officers avoid misunderstandings. They can even explain gestures and body language that might be confusing to someone who isn’t familiar with the culture.

Interpreting for migrants and war victims

There are situations when an area becomes a transit zone for people fleeing their countries because of war or other extreme dangers. In this case, interpreters are needed in greater numbers than usual in all points of contact: at the borders, in train stations and in airports, in assistance centers.

As hard to find as they may be, these interpreters must meet special requirements, as they are to deal with scared, traumatized people. They need to know the language and be familiar with the culture and they also need to be calm and show appropriate empathy. They also need to know and convey the necessary information that the people they assist may need, such as where they can get food, clean clothing, medical help, transportation, accommodation and where they can solve any legal matters.

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