When interpreting, accuracy is absolutely necessary. There is no room for mistakes. In a medical setting for example, the patient needs to know what the doctor is saying. Likewise, the doctor must know the patient’s concerns in order to perform his vital job correctly. In a legal setting, important issues might also be addressed. It is the interpreter’s responsibility to make sure thoughts are conveyed clearly and accurately.
There are many challenges to providing accurate interpretation. For example, a person can say “I am tickled pink to be here.” Literally speaking, this would mean that for some strange and unknown reason, the person’s arrival has triggered a tickling sensation, causing him to obtain a rosy hue. Obviously, we know that the person is thrilled to be here. However, a person that speaks Spanish fluently and took a quick course in English might not be familiar with such colorful expressions. Not all expressions can be translated exactly. A therapist I know once said “that dad gum hand!” According to Google translate “dad gum” is “padre de las encías” “father of the gums” Basically he was saying “that darn hand.” Therefore, it is the intended meaning that needs to be accurately conveyed. An excellent interpreter has to be intimately familiar with the languages he is using.
This challenge can become apparent when encountering persons from different countries and dialects. Who of us hasn’t seen the problems in communication between a southerner from Georgia and a Yankee from New Jersey? Sometimes it is as if they spoke two different languages. In a very similar way, the expressions a person might use from the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico, or Cuba, might differ greatly from that of Mexico, which might also differ from Columbia.