Why Being Bilingual Isn’t a Substitute for Professional Interpretation

It is no secret that learning a second language takes a lot of time and effort. To be fluent in two or more languages is hard work, but it is a skill that pays off in the long run. Bilingualism requires a high level of language proficiency to be achieved by an individual. A bilingual person must be able to sufficiently understand everyday conversations and standard vocabulary in their second language. Unfortunately, it is common for businesses to believe that they do not need professional interpretation services if they have already hired a bilingual individual. In reality, this line of thought is flawed for many reasons.

Number of Spoken Languages

Hundreds of different languages are spoken worldwide, and many have made their way to the United States. It is unlikely that a bilingual employee can interpret more than one or two languages. By only utilizing a bilingual employee for language needs, a business is left empty-handed when it comes to the vast number of remaining languages that the employee doesn’t understand.


Nearly every industry demands the use of an interpreter at one point or another. And many industries require that professional interpretation services be used to communicate with clients or, in the case of healthcare, patients. If a company chooses to ignore this requirement in favor of using an in-house bilingual employee, the organization may be at risk of a lawsuit or other legal consequences.

Level of Fluency

The average bilingual person will achieve a far lower level of fluency in comparison to a professional interpreter. In fact, not only do professional interpreters speak a language with perfect fluency, but they also have a deep understanding of the culture behind the language. Quality interpreters will understand the various meanings attached to significant pauses, vocal inflection, and non-verbal cues of the language that the ordinary bilingual employee is likely to miss.

Specialized Training

Professional interpreters go through extensive training that is designed to assist them in delivering complete and accurate interpretations. To interpret on an expert level requires excellent concentration, note-taking, and listening skills. Well-qualified interpreters must also have the ability to multitask in a variety of environments. Additionally, these interpreters often specialize in a particular industry to receive training on handling industry-specific vocabulary and nuanced meanings. This type of training is a common requirement for the financial, legal, and medical industries.

Professional Interpretation Services You Can Trust

Don’t rely on a bilingual employee to interpret on behalf of your clients or patients. Offer the best possible service by partnering with a language services provider you can trust. Here at inWhatLanguage, we are committed to providing the best interpretation experience to all our clients. Leverage our network of experienced, professional linguists to improve communication in global markets. Contact us today for an instant quote.