Every year Andalucía welcomes thousands of tourists, business people and new residents from other countries. Although many have a good understanding of the Spanish language, at one time or another they will usually all need the services of either a translator, who converts written texts from one language into another, or an interpreter who does the same with the spoken word.
There are various types of interpreting services available, each appropriate for the requirements of any one situation. On a one-to-one basis (ad hoc interpreting), an interpreter will accompany you to meetings with a lawyer, builder, doctor, bank manager, or anywhere else where you need help with the language. Interpreters also attend business and community meetings where non Spanish-speaking people are present in order to ensure you understand the matters discussed regarding your company or urbanisation.
Interpreting at local, national or international conferences can be carried out in two ways: consecutively, where the interpreter speaks after the speaker has finished a sentence or longer segment of the talk; or simultaneously, where the interpreter, usually sitting in a soundproofed booth, is talking at the same time as the speaker and the conference attendees are listening to their own language through earphones.
However, for any legal proceedings that take place in court you will need an ‘Intérprete Jurado’. This is a highly qualified, official interpreter who is recognised as such by the Spanish Foreign Office following extensive legal and commercial training. In general, an ‘Intérprete Jurado’ is the only interpreter allowed by the court to attend hearings. He or she may also be called in by the police when reports and statements are made by foreign nationals.
Many local health centres in Andalucía have their own interpreter service for different languages. These interpreters are sometimes volunteers giving up some of their time to help other people. Many hospitals in Andalucia now rely on a centralised interpreter service that uses mobile phones to connect doctors with interpreters. As the saying goes: “it is better to be ill in your own language…”; so it is a good idea to make use of this service unless your Spanish is very good. Although the majority of Spanish doctors and consultants understand English and may have knowledge of other languages, they prefer to explain matters to their patients in their own language.