For the Software developer bestiary

The Interpreter


Developer: “The server can’t handle CMP in the entity EJBs so I’ll have to hack the persistence code using JDBC.”

Boss: “?”

Interpreter: “What she said was that we will have to add some code to store our data. We’ll probably have to add a 20-40% overhead on coding time.”

The interpreter bridges the communication gaps between technical experts and management/customers. If you have worked in a project you’ll know that a lot of time is spent clearing up confusion caused by project members using the wrong vocabulary. The interpreter knows what the rest of the project members’ point of interest are and can reduce techno-babble to business-speak and vice versa.


The interpreter shares several traits with the Anti-Expert, having the ability to understand the different domains and abstractions of a problem. The thing that makes the interpreter special is the ability to switch between vocabularies and jargons, making him an important communication link.


The perfect role for an interpreter is project manager, where he can use his ablilites to communicate both with stake-holders and developers.

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