Working with an Interpreter: 5 Tips for a Successful International Event or Conference

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You are all set for your international event or conference.  You have the perfect location and all the details set up, but how can you ensure that your message will be relayed properly to your multi-lingual audience?  The right interpreter can be the difference between success and disaster, so finding one to fit your exact needs is crucial.  Here are our 5 tips for how to hire and use the perfect interpreter for your next international event or conference.

1. Know the Difference between Consecutive vs Simultaneous Interpreting

Knowing which type of interpreting service you need for your project is a crucial element to ensuring a successful event or conference. The two most commonly used types of interpreting are consecutive and simultaneous.

Consecutive interpreting is where the speaker pauses after several phrases or sentences, allowing the interpreter time to relay the message to the audience. Usually consecutive interpreters are a popular option for informal and some formal occasions including:

  • Interviews
  • Film sets
  • Photo shoots
  • Client-attorney meetings
  • Court depositions
  • Medical consultations

Simultaneous interpreting is when participants wear headphones and an interpreter listens to information and relays it while the speaker continues to speak.   Typically, simultaneous interpreters are used in formal, large group settings including:

  • Diplomatic conferences
  • Business or board meetings
  • Training sessions
  • Courtrooms
  • Tours

2. What to Look For in an Interpreter

Selecting a professionally trained interpreter who is able to speak the language pair with fluency is your number one objective.  The interpreter’s background and experience should be carefully assessed when determining their ability to meet your event or conference needs.   References or ratings can also give some insight into the quality of an interpreter. The Global Media Desk has developed a meticulous selection process, which ensures our clients always work with the most seasoned professional interpreters, with proven track records and a commitment to excellence that practically guarantees complete success.

3. Brief the interpreter

Ensuring the interpreter understands your goals and expectations beforehand is imperative for a strong collaborative event or conference. Think of the interpreter as an extension of your team. Provide information, technical vocabulary and any other documents to the interpreter well in advance of your event, so she or he has enough time to research any unfamiliar terms or items. A well prepared interpreter is the best interpreter.

4. Dos and Don’ts for Interpreting

To effectively use an interpreter remember the following:

  • Speak clearly and slowly
  • Avoid long or complex sentences
  • Skip the jokes or humorous stories, these typically do not translate well
  • Advise your group to speak one at a time
  • Maintain eye contact with your audience when possible not your interpreter
  • Try not to interrupt your interpreter
  • Eliminate excessive gestures or hand movements

5. Avoid technical hiccups

Do a proper sound check and test of all equipment with the interpreter to make sure your message is crystal clear.  If an interpreter can’t hear the speaker properly they won’t be able to interpret properly.  Always have paper and pen available in case the interpreter needs to take notes for any reason. Provide bottled water for the interpreters. Remember their voice is a tool.

Global Media Desk has been helping governments, global businesses, NGOs and every conceivable type of client find the highest quality of interpreters and language services around the world for over 15 years. If you have questions about interpreting or other language services, please do not hesitate to contact us or fill out a free quote request form to see how we can make your event a complete success.

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