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The Interpreter

The Interpreter

Movies reflect the world we live in and shape our understanding. Sometimes, this reflection can be accurate or distorted. The movie The Interpreter came out in 2005, introducing the life of an interpreter and the work of interpretation. But how accurate was it in reflecting the reality and challenges of interpretation? Let’s take a closer look.

The story begins with an interpreter overhearing an assassination plan and reporting it to authorities. Although it is an action movie, it has elements reflecting the world of interpretation accurately. One aspect particularly demonstrates the essence of the job: being the messenger.


Duty of an Interpreter

Interpreters convey the words of a speaker into another language. Their main priority is to deliver the message, no matter what it is. An interpreter cannot contort the message or make slight changes in the meaning.

In the movie The Interpreter, Silvia is questioned by an agent. One scene reflects the importance of staying loyal to the speaker’s words and message.

  • Would you mind if he were dead?
  • I wouldn’t mind if he were gone.
  • Same thing.
  • No, it isn’t. If I interpreted gone as dead, I would be out of a job.

As seen in the conversation above, the nuances make a big difference. An interpreter is responsible for conveying the message while staying loyal to meaning and nuances.

In the movie, it is seen that interpreters do their jobs even when interpreting someone whose political view is entirely different from theirs. So, if you are contemplating becoming an interpreter but can not stand interpreting someone with whom you have different world views, it is best that you reconsider your decision.


Confidentiality in Interpretation

When providing interpretation services, confidentiality is as essential as staying loyal to the original discourse. Interpreters work in many closed-door meetings, and usually, confidential information is shared.

An interpreter is liable to respect this confidential information and share it with no one under any circumstances. If this aspect is not respected, an interpreter will never be able to find a job, as their credibility is destroyed.


In conclusion, the movie The Interpreter has elements that reflect the act of interpretation. Still, it is an action movie, and the events are extraordinary. Don’t worry; we will not give any spoilers but rest assured that the profession of interpretation is not as dangerous as reflected in the movie.

The Interpreter