GC: n

S: (last access: 15 January 2018); UNIGE – (last access: 11 February 2018).

N: 1. mid-14c. “a translated text, a translation” (late 13c. in Anglo-French), from Old French interpretacion, entrepretatiun “explanation, translation” (12c.) and directly from Latin interpretationem (nominative interpretatio) “explanation, exposition,” noun of action from past participle stem of interpretari “explain, expound; understand”.
From late 14c. as “act or process of explaining or interpreting; an explanation; construction placed upon an action.” Meaning “dramatic or musical representation” is from 1880.
2. Interpretation is spoken, translation is written. Interpretation therefore makes use of particular linguistic resources: the original speaker’s ideas are transmitted as spoken words, with a particular rhythm and intonation, making use of rhetorical devices and gestures.
3. Interpretation is carried out in real time (simultaneously) or very close to it (consecutively). The interpreter has no time to refer to the written resources available to translators. This makes preparation before each assignment all the more essential for an interpreter.
Another constraint is the extreme speed at which the interpreter has to receive, understand, manage, and reconstruct information. A translator may translate 2000-3000 words a day, while an interpreter has to keep up with around 150 words a minute.
4. In interpretation communication is immediate, involving an interaction between speakers, listeners, and interpreters. In translation there is always a gap between the writing of a text by an author and its reception by the readers.
Apart from this, translators often spend a long time working on one text, while interpreters, often working in a team, are faced with people speaking and communicating right now.
Interpretation is therefore not so much a linguistic profession as an information and communication profession.
5. Collocations (interpretation as general meaning):

  • Adj.: correct, right, true, valid | erroneous, false, wrong | plausible, reasonable | simplistic | literal, narrow, strict | free, generous, liberal, loose, wide | alternative, competing, conflicting, different, diverse, multiple | artistic
  • Verb + interpretation: give sth, make In practice, this law is often given a wide interpretation by the police. Scientists made an interpretation based on the data available. | be open to The wording of this section of the contract is open to interpretation.
  • Phrases: put an interpretation on sth It is possible to put an entirely different interpretation on her behaviour.

6. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the documentary Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (1948) by Stuart Schulberg and the movie Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) by Stanley Kramer.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 15 January 2018). 2 to 4. AIIC – (last access: 15 January 2018). 5. OD – (last access: 14 February 2018). 6. AIIC – (last access: 14 February 2018); The Guardian – (last access: 14 February 2018).

SYN: interpreting

S: GDT – (last access. 15 January 2018); UNIGE – (last acess: 11 February 2018).

CR: interpreter, translation, translator.