We were recently contacted by a London brand design agency whose interpreter had let them down at the last minute. We were called upon at the eleventh hour to step in and assist with a business meeting for which interpretation services were required.
It led me to thinking that there are so many ways in which you can maximise the benefit from having a professional interpreter.
For us, preparation is key, and an interpreter should always have enough time to be fully briefed before undertaking any assignment.
So, here is my step-by-step guide to gaining maximum benefit from your professional interpreter.
1. Provide your interpreter with as much information as possible regarding the job: this might be about the company, the event or, if it’s a strategic meeting, the required outcome. The more material the interpreter can be briefed with, the better prepared they will be on the day. In the brief, along with logistical information, it is useful for the interpreter to be informed about the:
· Purpose of the event/meeting
· Size of room and number of people present
· Interpreting equipment to be used
· Presentations, minutes from past meetings, or agendas
2. Inform the interpreter of the dynamic of the meeting, what should they expect and is there any specific information that would be useful for them to know before the event/meeting starts? It is always good to avoid surprises!
3. Ensure that the interpreter arrives well in advance of the meeting or event. A rushed interpreter is not a happy interpreter!
4. Think of your interpreter not as an addition to your meeting, but as a linguistic partner. Engage with them fully and you will gain much more from them than just words and translation.
5. Think about the follow up after the event or meeting.
Your interpreter will understand the context of the event, and most interpreters are also translators, so they can translate conference documentation, minutes of meetings, contracts and other business documentation post the meeting.
Sometimes interpreters are considered the last piece of the puzzle, but on many occasions they receive words of appreciation for their hard work and even an applause!
Earlier this week I was interpreting remotely, and I was truly flattered to hear the speaker for a Pfizer event informing his audience that he had goosebumps knowing his speech was being interpreted into ten languages!
This is why I love what I do!