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Define it, relate it, sell it!

In the business world, definitions are asked for and given on a routine basis.

Definitions provide clarity and accuracy so that both the client and the provider can agree to a particular product or service under a certain set of conditions and rules.

Failure to provide clear and accurate definitions will not only confuse your client, but also possibly allow them to back out of a potential sale. Without being given the proper explanation regarding the parameters and provisions associated with the product or service, the client may interpret such vagueness as a potential risk of service quality.

For example, oftentimes clients may not understand the difference between translation and interpretation. It is the job of the account manager to provide an accurate and clear distinction between the two services and what they entail.  Essentially, language translation involves the change of meaning from one language into another in written text. Interpretation is the facilitation of oral communication between two speakers of different languages. While neither is an exact science, interpretation is even more subjective as there is no tangible product to deliver.

Despite this limitation, the account manager should categorize the different interpretation services, i.e. simultaneous, consecutive, and escort interpretations, and then relate which could be of best service to the client. Explain with few words what each entail, but clarify that the interpretation service is reliable and professional. Simultaneous interpretation is best used for large audiences and for multiple language interpretations, while consecutive interpretations is best used with few persons in a small group utilizing one or maybe two language pairs. Ask the client how many people are involved that require the service, whether equipment will be required, how many languages are needed for interpretation, what the location of the event or meeting is, and how long the service is needed.

Also, remember to explain the parameters of interpretation service. If interpreters must be present in more remote locations or are required for entire day sessions, then they must also be properly compensated. Cancellation fees also apply. If asked, explain the code of ethics for interpreters clearly to the client.

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