Off topic: Interpret*o*r
Thread poster: Agnieszka Hayward

Agnieszka Hayward
Local time: 23:52
German to Polish
+ ...
May 28, 2007

OK, being an interpreter myself I might be oversensitive.

But.. have you noticed, how often the interpreter becomes a (what? interpret*o*r?) in many of the forum posts and the job offers on, an otherwise very professional website...

Is it me, or are some of us here being over-creative with their usage of vocabulary?

Admitted, I'm no native speaker of English, but I have never heard of an interpret*o*r before I read some of the posts and job offers.

Tiny, little, maybe insignificant detail, but it unnerves me.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:52
English to German
+ ...
Haven't noticed yet, but.. May 28, 2007

I just googled "interpretOr": 219,000 hits!


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:52
English to Spanish
+ ...
One more... May 28, 2007

Indeed, one would think that they could spell the word properly. We are most definitely wordsmiths, or we'd do something else for a living, so we tend to get a little miffed when we see errors like that one in such context.
This reminds me of a little Freudian slip I once committed while teaching a workshop for court interpreters. I absentmindedly said "the interruptor", instead of the interpreter. We do feel at times that we interrupt, particularly when we interpret in the consecutive mode and the witness drones on and on, without pause.

teju the interruptor

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

Interrogator, actor, factor, advisor, agressor, auditor, director... May 28, 2007

benefactor, chiropraktor, counselor, author, communicator, commentator, collector, competitor, conciliator, conductor, confessor, conqueror, conservator, conspirator, constructor, contractor, contributor, corrector, curator....
all words starting with a letter D to Z

No wonder that you get 219 000 Google hits for interpretor.

The so-called tyranny of frequency: The more people say something the wrong way, the less incorrect it becomes.

Have a good day

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
Lucky Interpreters (and Statisticians) May 28, 2007

tygru wrote:
OK, being an interpreter myself I might be oversensitive.
Tiny, little, maybe insignificant detail, but it unnerves me.

Maybe these GoogleZ can reassure you:

interpreter 27,000,000
interpretor ___225,000 = 0.8%

translator 33,000,000
translater ___653,000 = 1.9%

statistician _4,250,000
statisticion ______300
statistition _____1,590 = 0.0%

[Edited at 2007-05-28 07:31]

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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:52
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Interpret *o* r May 28, 2007

This is a reply to Harry's contribution.

Thank goodness there are people like you who are there to reassure us that all is not lost, and that a much higher percentage of Google hits gives "interpreter".

As interpreters we are very sensitive to language mistakes, this is true...but never forget that interpreters make mistakes too. I could list a few for you! We are human too folks! despite being treated like machines sometimes...

Don't work too hard, everybody!

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Frank Foley  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
French to English
+ ...
Harry's not... May 28, 2007

liz askew wrote:

We are human too folks!

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Spanish to English
+ ...
misspelled? not necessarily May 28, 2007

Apparently the word interpetOr does exist. It has to do with computers, though, as it is some sort of a program or application used to interpret data, etc.

Yet another reason why it's crucial to examine Google results carefully. Yes, some entries might be misspelled but others are not.

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Local time: 07:52
Italian to English
TranslatOr May 30, 2007

Methinks they get confused with translatOr.

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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:52
German to English
+ ...
Well, what about us translaters? Jun 2, 2007

A higher percentage of Googlies get “translater” wrong than “interpretor”. You’d think spelling would be more important for us translators, though!

As for the use of the word “interpreter”/“interpretor” in computing, I am a former programmer, and I am only familiar with the former spelling. It refers to a program which interprets programs written in some language, that is to say, goes through the source code one step at a time, executing the steps as it goes, rather than compiling (ahem, translating the program into more machine-friendly code) and then executing the compiled code. (A lot of programming languages these days are compiled into an intermediate-level language, which is then interpreted.)

On the subject of spelling though, there does seem to be some fluidity about “-er” vs “-or”. Australian newspapers have recently changed from “advisor” to “adviser”, which looks like a word in a foreign language to me.

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Local time: 07:52
Italian to English
Nice read Richard Jun 4, 2007

Nice to meet a fellow 'aussie' colleague here. I appreciated the bit about learn something every day. With regards to spelling, it's not easy on the eyes to change from reading "adviser" instead of "advisor".
G'day to you.


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