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Getting the Most Out of Your Language Interpreter


You already know your interpreter is more than a language assistant. Read the article Your Language Interpreters are a Great Resource

This article will help you get the most out of your interpretation engagement, or the meeting with your clients. Follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Preparing for the Interpretation Engagement
    • Keep the interpreter up to speed with a schedual of your engagement. It never reflects well on you when clients notice your people seem to be “out of the loop.”
    • Fully brief your language interpreter on your objective and strategy for the engagement. The more the interpreter knows what you want to achieve, and how you want to achieve it, the more (s)he will be able to help you.
    • Provide reference materials. This is especially important if your engagement covers difficult technical materials, new products and services, or even concepts and ideas not generally know. By providing references materials in advance, your interpreter will be able to do research and fully prepare -- you can only benefit!
    • Run it by the interpreter first, if you’re planning to use humor, slang, and colloquial expressions etc. All cultures have a soft spot for an appropriate joke; however, an appropriate joke in one culture is seldom appropriate in another.
  2. During the Interpretation Engagement
    • Interpretation has been called “verbal karate” -- the longer it goes on, the more mentally paralyzing it becomes! It is an extremely exhausting job. So, schedual regular breaks for your interpreter during long engagements. You will benefit by having a sharp, fresh mind interpreting your message.
    • When speaking do the following to ensure you get quality interpretation:

      • Position the interpreter so (s)he can see your mouth. Believe it or not, this is a great help to interpreters in keeping up.
      • Don’t speak too fast.
      • Do speak clearly and succinctly.
      • Don’t make your sentences so long the interpreter gets lost.
      • Let the interpreter finish interpreting before you continue with the next sentence or thought.
      • Occasionally check with the interpreter to make sure (s)he is keeping up.
  3. Wrapping the Interpretation Engagement
    • Provide feedback to, and request feedback from, your interpreter after the engagement. This will benefit both of you during future engagements, which is especially important if you have arranged a series of engagements with the same client using the same interpreter.


Speaking from personal experience, these guidelines are often discarded in the heat of the moment. This does not benefit anyone, least of all you!

Apply the lessons here, and I guarantee you your interpretation engagements will be a success every time.

About the Author
Ivan Vandermerwe is the CEO of SAECULII YK (Tokyo Japan), the owner of Saeculii Interpretation Agency, Japan (Tokyo). Visit SAECULII for the latest professional articles and news on English Japanese interpretation services

Copyright © SAECULII YK. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this article is permitted with inclusion of the "About the Author" reference as is (including text links, japan-interpreters.saeculii.com/), and this copyright information. Articles may not be altered without written permission from SAECULII YK.

Tags: Interpret · Interpretation · Interpretation Agency Japan · Interpreters · Interpreting · Japanese Interpretation Services



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