Can a sworn interpreter carry out interpreting that requires specialist industry-specific technical knowledge?

Even though a sworn translator/interpreter of the English language is, by definition, a translator appointed for legal translations and widely understood business translations, sometimes he or she is needed for activities the scope of which (both substantive and terminological) goes beyond standard scope of activity of a sworn translator of English as a certified court translator/interpreter. Situations requiring the presence of a sworn interpreter of the English language include among others specialist forklift operator exam. In terms of the content, such exam usually lies within the competence of a technical translator; however, due to formal considerations, an interpreter who assists a person taking such exam is required to have qualifications of a sworn translator/interpreter of the English language. After all, having such qualifications does not rule out a possibility to specialise in other narrow fields of knowledge such as technical document translations or medical translations. Sometimes technical and professional knowledge proves useful also during interpreting in a courtroom, public prosecutor’s office, at the police station or border service station.

What should a sworn interpreter of the English language remember about before proceeding to interpreting the exam?

Forklift operator exam is conducted by an inspector of the Office of Technical Inspection as an institution statutorily appointed to conduct technical inspection in the Republic of Poland (the Act on Technical Inspection of 21st December 2000). It consists of a theoretical part covering single-choice test (15 questions out of which at least 11 correct answers must be provided within 30 minutes) and a practical part during which a candidate for certified forklift operator must demonstrate that he/she knows how to operate a forklift and check its technical condition as well as demonstrate acquired practical skills in the scope of manoeuvring a forklift within manoeuvre area or in a warehouse. As the exam is a turning point in development of a career of a person taking the exam, which naturally entails stress, a sworn interpreter must take this factor into account when planning his or her assistance during the exam. A professional sworn interpreter will check possibilities and conditions of commuting to examination centre beforehand and arrive with sufficient advance (the interpreter’s lateness results in reduction of time to take the exam by a candidate for certified forklift operator), announce his or her presence to a person responsible for conducting the exam, prepare writing materials needed for interpreting into English, take his/her seat in an examination room and … switch off his/her mobile phone. When interpreting, it is of vital importance to remember about so‑called human factor because even an interpreter who is perfectly prepared for an assignment may encounter difficulties in interpreting due to reasons not attributable to his/her interpreting skills, for instance technical difficulties in interpreting arising from improper preparation of a room (e.g. a room that is too small, noise coming from an open window next to the interpreter), strong anxiety of a customer arising from e.g. the fact that he/she does not feel well-prepared for the exam or other unforeseeable circumstances.

The most important aspects connected with interpreting of theoretical part of forklift operator exam into English

During theoretical part, a sworn interpreter takes a seat in an examination room next to a customer who takes the exam and starts interpreting into English as soon as the examiner starts explaining very important information on rules of the exam before handing over examination papers. Interpreting into the English language in a clear, calm and coherent manner is of vital importance since miscomprehension of the rules can lead to a negative result even for a well‑prepared candidate. During the entire examination, the role of a sworn interpreter includes also interpreting all questions and doubts of a person taking the exam from English into Polish and directing them to the examiner. A sworn interpreter must not interpret from English (or from Polish into English) any attempts at conversations between the customer and other persons taking the exam because even if they do not pertain to the content of the exam, an examiner may perceive them as an infringement of the rules. Consequently, a candidate may obtain a negative result. When it comes to the content of the exam paper, a sworn interpreter is responsible for precise (faithful) and clear interpreting instructions pertaining to solving a test as well as all exam questions with possible answers. Exam questions must be interpreted with utmost precision as regards terminology, so that interpretation would reflect the content of exam questions in the best possible manner. Thorough knowledge of specialist terminology is not sufficient. It is also necessary for a sworn interpreter to properly understand the applied mechanisms, physical phenomena and technological solutions referred to in the examination questions. Sometimes an interpreter must read out particular questions in English more than once. Stylistic rephrasing of a question allowing a candidate for a certified forklift operator to understand the essence of a question is also helpful. This results from certain stylistic differences between Polish and English in the scope of syntax (construction of a sentence). Suggesting correct answers by an interpreter (even, if the interpreter knows them) is absolutely unacceptable since it would constitute gross infringement of the rules of professional ethics by which each sworn interpreter must abide. It is the person taking the exam who enters correct (in his or her opinion) answers to particular questions on the exam paper and independently hands the exam paper over to the examiner.

Interpreting of a practical part of the exam – practical tips and advice from a sworn interpreter

Candidates who obtained a positive result in a theoretical part of the exam may take the practical part of the exam. A sworn interpreter interpreting from Polish into English must stay close to the examiner (who asks questions) and close to a person taking the exam (who answers and provides explanations) subject to safety rules applicable within the manoeuvring area. Apart from terminological correctness, a good sworn interpreter should remember to provide the content subject to technical translations sufficiently loud and clear (adequately to noise level in the surroundings) because being unheard during manoeuvring may result not only in failing the exam, but in certain circumstances also in accident of a person taking the exam. Interpreting in this case is done as simultaneous interpreting as it is vital to provide communication quickly, efficiently and in real time during activities performed on an ongoing basis by a forklift operator. In this situation, interpreter’s practical knowledge of interpreted aspects is also indispensable. Apart from specialist technical nomenclature, an interpreter must also know the actual function of particular construction elements of a forklift and equipment thereof. In other words, it is not sufficient to know what “carriage” (in Polish “karetka”, not to be mistaken with an “ambulance”) is. It is also good to know where it is located in a forklift and how it functions.

A sworn translator/interpreter of the English language does not work only in courts

In practice, the role of a sworn translator/interpreter of the English language is not limited to translating/interpreting (from English into Polish or from Polish into English) widely understood legal texts (e.g. agreements, notarial deeds, powers of attorney, judgments, testaments, articles of association), economic, financial, business, banking or all sorts of official documents (e.g. documents of the registry office, certificates, diplomas). When interpreting, a sworn translator is also helpful in situations not necessarily connected with his or her basic scope of legal specialisation. Having adequate knowledge of specialist terminology from areas such as technology or medicine and certain practical expertise knowledge, a sworn translator/interpreter may also perform specialist translation/interpreting connected with various areas of life requiring not only advanced linguistic competences, but also a guarantee of impartiality and highest standards of professional ethics.

How to find a sworn interpreter of the English language who interprets during forklift operator exam organised by the Office of Technical Inspection in Wrocław?

You are more than welcome to make use of sworn technical translation services provided by the Office of the Sworn Translator and Interpreter of the English Language located in Wrocław at ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 29A lok. 417 (Polkat building). The Office renders services of sworn translation and interpreting from English into Polish and from Polish into English within normal and express mode. You can send documents for estimation via official website of the Office available at the following address: https://www.tlumaczenia-kasprzyk.pl/ or directly to our E-mail address: kancelaria@tlumaczenia-kasprzyk.pl. We guarantee fast and free of charge estimation and short delivery times. In case of interpreting, the costs of service is estimated individually, depending on the requirements of a specific order. Should you have any questions or doubts, do not hesitate to contact us by phone on +48 608 722 438.

Jacek Kasprzyk, Sworn Translator and Interpreter of the English Language in Wrocław

zdjęcia: freepik.com