How To Work With An Interpreter

Since we have already discussed interpretation in general terms and, more specifically, simultaneous interpretation and consecutive interpretation, today we shall analyze what working, which is why this post is designed for people who will make use of interpretation to transmit a message, i.e. speakers, whether interviewers, professors, doctors, etc.

Below are some suggestions that should be taken into account:

Before the event

  • Have periodic meetings with the interpreter so that the communication between the speaker and the interpreter is open and fluid as well as to achieve an understanding of the objectives of the interview, meeting, conference or seminar.
  • Learn effective ways to speak in the language of the audience, which is a sign of respect.
  • Learn basic words and phrases in the other language. Familiarize yourself with the specific terminology used by the audience. Even though you don’t know it well enough so as to communicate directly, since the more you understand the language, the more chances you have to anticipate misunderstandings or misinterpretations during the event.

During the event

  • Speak in short sentences and keep the meaning flowing.
  • Avoid technical terminology, abbreviations and professional jargon, when possible.
  • Avoid colloquial phrases, abstractions, idiomatic expressions, slang, analogies and metaphors.
  • Speak directly to the audience; don’t look at the interpreter.
  • Be patient. An event that requires interpretation has a longer duration. To ensure that the interpretation is accurate, the interpreter needs to use explanatory phrases that are longer.
  • Use a positive tone of voice that transmits your interest to the audience. Never use a condescending, critical or arrogant voice.
  • Repeat important information more than once.
  • Reinforce verbal interactions with documents written in the language of the audience as well as visual aids (slides, images, signs).

(Spanish version: