liaison interpreting

What is the Definition of Liaison Interpreting?

(Last Updated On: January 13, 2022)

What is the definition of liaison interpreting?

Have you ever worked with an interpreter? Do you know about the job of an interpreter? Depending upon the different needs of organizations, interpretation is evolving day by day. Some people confuse this term with translation services. Well, there is a difference between these two. The translation is all about written communication, while interpretation focuses on verbal communication. The world of the linguist is introducing new terms and knowledge to help people in overcoming their language barrier.

Interpretation is one such helping source through which people can convey their message to foreign audiences. This is specifically for the case when organizations move to foreign platforms. They have to hire a liaison interpreter to ensure that their practices with the international audiences will be successful. But who does this term is referring to? This is a question asked by many. If you watch television news and other dramas, you may have already seen a liaison interpreter in action!

If you want to know briefly about a liaison interpreter and his job, and some other related information, you’re just at the right place! So, let’s figure it out!

liaison interpreting examples
dialogue interpreting

What is Liaison Interpreting?

Among all the various types of interpretation, liaison interpreting is the most common form in which the interpreter works in two languages to translate the conversation between speakers of different languages. As a process, liaison is established as a close working relationship between people or organizations.

It is the most informal mode of interpretation therefore some linguists predict it to lack high standards of accuracy. It is because word-to-word interpreting is not a necessity here.

An example of a liaison interpreter is the one that you’ve likely seen in a court of law. In such a situation, the interpreter beside a witness translates the lawyer’s English language questions for the witness. As the witness is answering in their native tongue, the liaison then translates their answer in English back to the lawyer. A liaison interpreter can work between two or more people when they are hired in person.

Definition of Liaison Interpreting

Liaison interpreting is the freestyle communication of an interpreter in two different languages by different speakers. There is no exact definition of this term. But according to Wikipedia,

‘The liaison interpreting technique (or B2B interpreting) is performed in a two-way manner and it’s used in business negotiations; the interpreter conveys information about specific topics between the speaker(s) of an A language and speaker(s) of a B language, without note-taking and using concise sentences. Specifically, common terms and scientific terms are alternatively used.’

This definition is surely both brief and thorough. But at the same time, it’s very technical, and people who are not familiar with this field may find it difficult to understand it.

What is the main goal of a liaison interpreter?

The main goal of a liaison interpreter is to build connections during small meetings or other business dealings when clients cannot speak or understand each other’s languages. It is also known as dialogue interpretation based on the job requirements.

The main focus of a liaison interpreter is to foster relationships rather than communicate the essence of every word. This is why it is the least precise interpretation mode. Therefore, liaison interpreting is an activity involving factors like source language, source culture, foreign language, target language, and target culture. Their job goes far beyond just the sole transfer of linguistic messages from a source language to the target language.

Apart from this main goal, the role of liaison interpreters is to excel in all the ways of expressions such as tone, speed, volume, facial expressions, oral language, aspects of language, body language and etc. These things play a huge role in building communication strong. Other forms of interpreting are conference interpreting and consecutive interpreting. For every type, the preferred language for an interpreter is his native language.

When and who needs services of liaison interpreting?

Since it is a two-way manner of interpreting that facilitates understandings between two groups, it has many other purposes. This, most informal way of interpreting is in use during visits of delegations or at a small business meeting. Most commonly, organizations hire liaison interpreters for business negotiations.

The interpreter acts as the mode of communication between the employer and the dealer. As explained in the example above, apart from courtrooms, diplomatic and many other high-level meetings may need services of liaison interpreting.

definition of liaison interpreting
types of interpretation

Another commonly used way is sightseeing tours and other tourist activities. This means that some interpreters also get travel opportunities along with their job. Many government departments such as US State Department rely on the help of interpreters extensively. Liaison interpreters usually have the job to work with a group visiting the United States for the time they are in the country. One or more interpreters will stay with the delegation interpreting when required, usually phrases or sentences as needed.

Who can become liaison interpreter?

Many people with good language skills are possible become interpreters but not everyone can do justice to the job of liaison interpreter. Anyone who is fluent in one or more languages and has the confidence to serve the public can become a liaison interpreter. Apart from fluency in the English language, you should be fluent in one or more languages of your preference that you want to interpret. While many interpreters grow up speaking more than one language fluently, you do not need to be a native speaker in any language that you wish to interpret. The requirement is only that you speak those languages fluently.

There is no specific criteria or education requirement for a liaison interpreter. But most of them obtain a bachelor’s degree. A benefit of this job is that many employers offer a job training program that teaches you about the requirements of a translation and the needs of the interpretation. Even if you are not an expert, you can learn with time.

Is liaison interpreting easy or difficult?

Considering the long-listing requirements of this job, liaison interpreting seems a bit difficult job to do. This type of interpretation requires communicative competence, oral translation, strength to deal with a real-life situation, grip on the subject matter, dialog interpreting, confidence to handle international conferences, and understanding of technical equipment.

No specialized equipment is needed because the interpreter simply interprets the message from one person to another to make it understandable for both.

Depending on the context of liaison interpreting, interpreters are usually able to rely on the assistance of documentary material that corresponds to the environment in which they are working, since they tend to encounter specific topics. The original speaker who is not yet a fluent English speaker requires services from government agencies or other institutions like hospitals or schools.

Only professional interpreters can handle this job since it comes along with a lot of sensitivity. When liaison interpretation is tougher, the interpreters convey the message accurately, sometimes even more carefully than the original one.


Liaison interpreting Service is a need of many people. In general, the interpreter doesn´t need to do the same kind of preparation as with simultaneous or consecutive interpretation, it is still important that the client and the interpreter have planned a meeting beforehand. It is much better than the interpreter knowing the subject, the company, and the general sector of the client, to increase the probability of success in negotiation.

Further, many pieces of research on liaison interpreting compare it with bilateral interpreting. You should simply use your preferred language and make sure you give your best in it! Be a qualified interpreter with achieved goals and a higher confidence level!

liaison meaning


Who can translate death certificates?

A certified translator has received a degree or certificate in translating. He isn’t your run-of-the-mill interpreter. He was well-versed in translation and had a good understanding of the industry. The certified translation document bears the signature of an authorized person. It’s almost as though it’s proof of the translation’s accuracy. The Ministry of Health, a police officer, or a hospital is the authority and the Notary Public in the case of death certificates. You can also go to a Notary Public office for a notarized translation. Foreign language documents require certified translation.

For accurate death certificate translation, certified translators are preferred. You need a qualified translator for this type of translation. Official documents like valid passports, credit cards, birth certificates, death certificates, social security documents, divorce certificates, personal common documents, business secondary documents, and additional documents need an exact translation. Sometimes notary services and certified translations are additional requirements. Any good translation company can provide translation certification and notary services.

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