Interpretation tips

Set realistic parameters

  • Our language department understands that there can be emergency interpretation needs and has the flexibility to accommodate last-minute requests. However, planning ahead is the surest way to receive the highest quality that our interpreters are capable of providing.
  • Expect the use of an interpreter to lengthen a meeting. Please be patient. The interpreter needs time to digest the information and extra time to restructure it in a linguistically and culturally appropriate manner.
  • Allocate time for breaks for long sessions (two hours or over) or alternate interpreters. Interpreting is exhausting work.
  • Allow sufficient time for technical setup and dismount. Simultaneous interpretations for conferences require special equipment and two interpreters per language.

Be specific

  • Indicate the language and country affiliation (e.g. Canadian French, Mexican Spanish), to help us assign an interpreter with the appropriate background. Age, gender, social / ethnic background (and dialect, if applicable) must all be taken into consideration as they are very significant elements in many cultures.
  • Consider scheduling a pre-session briefing with the interpreter to explain your objectives and cultural considerations.

Know what to expect

  • Pause after every few sentences. Keep in mind that interpretations from English will require more words. English is direct and concise while many other languages necessitate longer sentences to convey ideas.
  • Verify mutual understanding after technical or crucial points. A post-session briefing can shed light on non-verbal cues, tone, and cultural information that may have gone unnoticed or misunderstood.
  • Say nothing to the interpreter that you do not want interpreted. Expect the interpreter to interpret everything that is said.
  • Refrain from asking the interpreter to offer advice or act as an advocate. Expect the interpreter to interpret only what is said. Resist the temptation to address the interpreter (i. e. to speak in the third person). Rather, address the client directly (i.e. speak in the first person). For example, ask the client “How are you today?” instead of telling the interpreter “Ask the client how she is today”. The interpreter will also use the first person.

Give us the right tools:

  • Share supporting materials (e.g. past translations, glossaries, references and brochures) with us, particularly in the case of highly specialized fields of knowledge.
  • Speak clearly, avoiding complex sentences, jokes, slang, and keeping technical jargon to a minimum. Speak clearly, avoiding complex sentences, jokes, slang, and keeping technical jargon to a minimum.
  • Choose a seating arrangement that allows for eye contact between you, the client, and the interpreter. Sitting at the three points of a 60o triangle is ideal.

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