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Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Old French, from Latin interpretationem, accusative of interpretatio, noun of action from interpretari (to explain, expound, interpret, understand, conclude, infer, comprehend)



interpretation (countable and uncountable, plural interpretations)

  1. (countable) An act of interpreting or explaining what is obscure; a translation; a version; a construction.
    the interpretation of a foreign language, of a dream, or of an enigma.
  2. (countable) A sense given by an interpreter; an exposition or explanation given; meaning .
    Commentators give various interpretations of the same passage of Scripture.
  3. (uncountable, linguistics, translation studies) The discipline or study of translating one spoken or signed language into another (as opposed to translation, which concerns itself with written language).
    • 1994, Richard K. Seymour, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Translation and Interpreting: Bridging East and West : Selected Conference Papers, University of Hawaii Press (ISBN 9780824816032), page 11
      I believe that interpretation, particularly consecutive interpretation, is an art. I also believe, however, that the skill of consecutive interpretation can be taught, but only up to a point.
    • 2002, Alessandra Riccardi, Translation Studies: Perspectives on an Emerging Discipline, Cambridge University Press (ISBN 9780521817318), page 90
      Interpretation studies is a young discipline, much younger than translation studies, and it cannot claim a long tradition and history of reflexions [sic] and studies.
    • 2013, Sana Loue, Handbook of Immigrant Health, Springer Science & Business Media (ISBN 9781489919366), page 61
      The most pervasive need of non-English-speaking immigrants and refugees is interpretation for every English transaction. Interpretation is needed in stores, schools, and job training, and it is of critical importance in health care.
    Synonym: interpreting
    Hyponyms: simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpretation
  4. (uncountable) The power of explaining.
  5. (countable) An artist's way of expressing his thought or embodying his conception of nature.
  6. (countable) An act or process of applying general principles or formulae to the explanation of the results obtained in special cases.
  7. (countable, physics) An approximation that allows aspects of a mathematical theory to be discussed in ordinary language.
  8. (countable, logic, model theory) An assignment of a truth value to each propositional symbol of a propositional calculus.

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