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Tips for Interpreters

January 8, 2010 3 Comments »

Tips for interpreters
What is interpretation? In a nut shell, interpretation is “oral translation”. That is, an interpreter is responsible for transferring someone’s oral discourse into an equivalent discourse in a different language. By definition, translators are interpreters -although a good interpreter, besides having language knowledge, will also have specific experience and training in the field.
In a previous blog we discussed the need to use professional interpreters, but…
When is an interpreter needed?
In congresses, conferences, seminars, television or radio interviews, business meetings, company guided tours, legal proceedings, telephone conversations, etc; a court of law, for example, requires services of a legal interpreter (a function that is governed by law); simultaneous interpretation is used in conferences, in booths, with at least two professionals (one interpreting and the other helps him or her and takes over after some time); and what works best in a business meeting or a telephone conversation is the simultaneous interpretation of someone who alters his or her translation with the speakers discourse, by segments.
I’d like to share with you some tips for beginners that can also be useful for those in need of an interpreter. That way, you’ll know what to ask of a professional when hiring him or her for an interpretation job.
Be prepared: as early as possible (one week before a conference, a few hours before a telephone conversation), request material and read informative texts (not glossaries) about the subject, in both languages. For example, the speaker of a conference should provide ahead of time the text or the slides to be presented or any other related material.
Be informed: 1) about the place where the interpretation will held and the time; 2) about the speaker or speakers: know how to pronounce his or her name, know what country he or she is from, education, and other details of his or her biography that may be mentioned in the event (if the speaker writes books, essays, etc. if he or she gives classes, etc.); 3) about the target audience of the even (professionals, students, general public, etc.); 4) the form of the event  (if there will be a Q & A session), etc.
Other practical aspects (important, although they may seem to only be details):
• dress properly and do not wear bright colors that may draw attention away from the speaker (in case of consecutive interpretations) and avoid strong perfumes;
• arrive early to check the location and try to talk to the speaker;
• ask for water (flat water not sparkling, because it may spoil the natural flow of the discourse); and
• (in case of conferences/discourses) test the microphones.
What is interpretation? In a nut shell, interpretation is “oral translation”. That is, an interpreter is responsible for transferring someone’s oral discourse into an equivalent discourse in a different language. By definition, translators are interpreters -although a good interpreter, besides a knowledge of language, will also have experience and training in the field.
In a previous post Justin discussed the need to use professional interpreters, but…
When is an interpreter needed?

In congresses, conferences, seminars, television or radio interviews, business meetings, guided tours, legal proceedings, telephone conversations, etc; in a court of law, for example, which requires the services of a legal interpreter (a function that is governed by law); in conferences, simultaneous interpretation is held in booths, with at least two professionals (one interpreting and a second helping who takes over after some time); and in a business meeting or a telephone conversation what works best is simultaneous interpretation of someone who alters his or her translation with the speakers discourse, by segments.
I’d like to share with you some tips for beginners that can also be useful for those in need of an interpreter. That way, you’ll know what to ask of a professional in an interpretation job.
Be prepared: as early as possible (one week before a conference, a few hours before a telephone conversation), request material and read informative texts (not glossaries) about the subject, in both languages. For example, the speaker of a conference should provide ahead of time the text or the slides to be presented or any other related material.
Be informed: 1) about the place where the interpretation will held and the time; 2) about the speaker or speakers: know how to pronounce his or her name, know what country he or she is from, education, and other details of his or her biography that may be mentioned in the event (if the speaker writes books, essays, etc. if he or she gives classes, etc.); 3) about the target audience of the even (professionals, students, general public, etc.); 4) the form of the event  (if there will be a Q & A session), etc.
Other practical aspects (important, although they may seem to be only details):
• dress properly and do not wear bright colors that may draw attention away from the speaker (in case of consecutive interpretations) and avoid strong perfumes;
• arrive early to check the location and try to talk to the speaker;
• ask for water (flat not sparkling, because it may spoil the natural flow of the discourse); and
• (in case of conferences/discourses) test the microphones.
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3 Responses to “Tips for Interpreters”

  • Commented on January 31, 2010 at 7:43 am

    @Markus I get your drift on where you were going there. I often think of my past and use it as a means to analyze where I am and where I want to get to. Where I struggel is balancing it all out. How do you guys balance things out?

  • Commented on January 31, 2010 at 12:43 am

    @Markus I get your drift on where you were going there. I often think of my past and use it as a means to analyze where I am and where I want to get to. Where I struggel is balancing it all out. How do you guys balance things out?

  • Commented on May 28, 2010 at 11:38 am

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