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Frequently Asked Questions

What's this site about? is a free, community-driven Q&A about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation.

There are many types of interpreting: business, community, conference, court & legal, escort, public service.

There are also many categories of interpreters from full-time freelance or staff conference interpreters doing simultaneous or consecutive interpreting at international events, to non-expert language brokers.

This Q&A site hopes to be of service to all of them.

But the community would not be complete without:

  • users and prospective users of interpreting services
  • interpreting students or would-be interpreters and their trainers
  • other stakeholders in the language industry, such as event planners, conference organisers or equipment suppliers.

We invite each of them to contribute their questions and answers to the site.

How is a Q&A community different from a typical forum?*

A Q&A community is different from a typical forum because it focuses on finding answers to the questions of its members. A typical forum, by contrast, operates more like a discussion group, where people are free to give their opinions and topics tend to be more subjective.

By keeping a laser focus on questions and answers, the interpreting community ensures that finding answers to existing questions - and getting answers to new questions - can be done without any distractions.

What kinds of questions can I ask here?

Most importantly - questions should be relevant to the interpreting community. Apart from that, any question is welcome, but a good question will always be:

  • detailed and specific
  • written clearly and simply

Please look around to see if your question has already been asked (and maybe even answered!) before you ask. You can search for questions by their title, content, or tags. If you end up asking a question that has been asked before, that is OK and deliberately allowed. Other users will hopefully edit in links to related or similar questions to help future visitors find their way.

It's also perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question, but pretend you're on Jeopardy: phrase it in the form of a question.

What kinds of questions should be avoided?

Please avoid asking questions that are not relevant to this community, are too subjective or deliberately argumentative.

Also, try to refrain from asking questions about this website itself. People don’t come here to learn about the intricacies of this website; they come here to get answers to their questions. If you want to suggest a feature or discuss how the website works, visit our meta site.

What should I avoid in my answers? is a question and answer site - it is not a discussion group. Please avoid holding debates in your answers as they tend to dilute the essense of questions and answers. For brief discussions please add a comment, as opposed to an answer.

  • When their questions have been answered
  • When one of their posts is commented on by another member
  • When other members post new questions, answers, or comments in their area of interest

The success of the community relies upon community member involvement, and members are much more likely to become involved, active participants on the site when they're notified of interesting developments. That is why considers a valid email address as a requirement for participating in the community and using this site.

If you're already a member of this community and haven't validated your email address, you can do so here. If you aren't yet a member of this community, join up by creating a new account.

Be nice

Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humour.

Be honest.

Above all, be honest. If you see misinformation, vote it down. Insert comments indicating what, specifically, is wrong. Even better — edit and improve the information! Provide stronger, faster, superior answers of your own!

Who moderates this community?

The short answer is: you. is moderated by its most active users. The site features a karma system that allows users to gradually earn rights to perform a variety of moderation tasks.

How does the karma system work?

When a question or answer is upvoted, the user who posted them will gain some points, which are called "karma points". These points serve as a rough measure of the community trust in him/her. Various moderation tasks are gradually assigned to the users based on those points.

For example, if you ask an interesting question or give a helpful answer, your contribution can be upvoted. On the other hand if the answer is found to be misleading, it can be downvoted. Each vote in favor will generate 10 points, each vote against will subtract 2 points.

Only registered users can vote.

Voting is very much encouraged as it contributes to a feedback loop that promotes valuable content and valued contributors.

There is a limit of 200 points that can be accumulated per question or answer. The table below explains karma requirements for each type of moderation task.

  • add comments -> 10
  • delete comments -> 5000
  • close own questions -> 250
  • reopen own questions -> 500
  • retag questions -> 1000
  • edit any answer -> 3000
  • open any closed question -> 5000
  • delete any comment -> 5000

The thresholds may be revised over time as the community grows. Prior to any revision, the site administrators will inform and solicit feedback from the community.

What is a gravatar?

Gravatar means 'globally recognized avatar' - your unique avatar image associated with your email address. It's simply a picture that shows next to your posts on the websites that support gravatar protocol. The default gravatar appears as a square filled with a snowflake-like figure. You can set your image at

To participate in this community, do I need to create new account?

Yes you do. Using a personal account helps us avoid spam on the site. Creating an account is simple.

  • You can log in through an existing account of yours on any service that supports OpenID, e.g. Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc. (Preferred)
  • Or you can create a username and password that are specific to

Open your account now!

Why can other people edit my questions/answers?

Allowing experienced members of this community to curate the questions and answers improves the formatting and the overall quality of the knowledge base content. If this approach is not for you, we respect your choice.

Still have questions?

Please ask your question on meta, help make our community better!

Revised March 31, 2012

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