How is the gift of interpretation used?
The gift of interpretation is used alongside of the gift of speaking in tongues. Its sole purpose is to interpret the message that is given in tongues. First, the message is given by the Spirit through someone with the gift of speaking in tongues.
But unless it is interpreted, the people cannot respond to the message. So it is the all-important gift of interpretation that must help others understand the message. After the messages given in tongues, the interpretation comes through the person the Holy Spirit prompts.
The Holy Spirit gives the message to the person with this gift. That person then relays in the native language of the congregation the message. Interpretation does not mean translation. And interpretation can be a translation, a paraphrase, or a concept-for-concept approach to the message.
Some people become concerned when the message in tongues is short but the interpretation is long or vice versa. But if it’s not a direct translation, it is understandable. I know there are times when I translate from Greek or Hebrew and my English translation is longer because a word could represent a concept in those languages.
Sometimes the person who speaks in tongues is also the interpreter. These companion gifts may be given by the Spirit to the same person or to two different people. Either way, it’s important for them to work in conjunction with one another and in order.
Without this important gift, the message in tongues would be unintelligible to everyone in the room. The saints would not be able to respond to the message without the help of the gift of interpretation.