Working with an interpreter is becoming more and more commonplace in business, but if you’ve never done it before you may not know what to expect. It’s a unique experience, a three-way conversation between two people, with the interpreter acting as a medium through which communication passes. Interpreters are talented professionals, but there are ways to make the entire experience more effective. From clear communication to established expectations, we’ve gathered the best tips for working with an interpreter.
- Brief the interpreter– Before you start interpretation, it’s critical to give the interpreter a rundown of essential information. In order to provide the best service possible, interpreters need to know important people involved, key terminology, and what’s expected of them. Interpretation is an incredibly difficult job, and it’s made even harder if they’re asked to convey a very specific or technical term for which there is no direct translation.
- Speak directly to the non-English speaker– Remember that the interpreter is there to facilitate the conversation, not to be a part of it. Speak directly to your counterpart, show interest and stay engaged. Even if you can’t understand what’s being said, eye contact goes a long way in building trust and rapport.
- Speak in short, complete segments– Interpreting in real-time can be a unique challenge because many languages do not have word for word translations to English. In order to ensure the best interpretation, speak in short sentences and try to express complete thoughts. Often interpreters will need to restructure a sentence in order for it to make sense, and that becomes significantly more difficult if they don’t have all the information.
- Avoid using unnecessary idioms, metaphors, jargon and technical language- There are certain terms and phrases that present unique challenges to interpreters. For example, Idioms are inherently difficult to interpret, because they convey ideas that are indiscernible from the words they use. Similarly, jargon and technical language that may be common in the field in question don’t make sense when interpreted. Try to use simple, concise and descriptive language whenever possible, so nothing gets lost in interpretation. If technical terms are necessary to convey an idea, brief your interpreter on said terms ahead of time.
- Budget your time– Be sure to allow for the additional time interpretation takes. A meeting that would take half an hour in one language may take an hour or more when interpreted; it’s essentially being held twice. Budgeting your time is key. The more rushed interpretation is, the more likely a mistake is to be made.
As businesses become more global, it’s all the more important that everyone understands one another. At Access 2 Interpreters, we’re experts in translation, interpretation, and language. We can make sure that every party is on the same page. We offer document translation, voiceover translation services, and interpretation services in the majority of written languages.
In our educational department, the Access Academy, we offer a variety of training seminars for our clients to learn about our interpretation services. Whether you’re working with an interpreter for the first time, or want to optimize your use of interpretation services, we work with you to help you get the most out of our professionals. From Face-to-Face, to Remote Video interpretation, we can help you determine what services are best for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about our seminars, interpretation or translation seminars, call us at (614) 221-1414 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.