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Getting the Best Interpretation Services with the Right Interpreter

hiring for interpretation services

Last updated on January 7th, 2019 at 05:02 pm

tips for hiring an interpreter

How to Look for the Best Professional Interpreter

What Does a Professional Interpreter Do?

A professional interpreter provides interpretation services by verbally conveying the meaning of speech from one language to another.  Interpretation is different from translation in that a translator converts written text from the source language to a target language, while an interpreter deals with spoken language.

 What Should You Consider When looking for Interpretation Services?

The decision to hire a professional interpreter has a lot of factors going into it, and a lot of potential for error.  It is always best to be well-prepared for the sake of all parties because the potential for great results is also present.  Interpreters play an important role in human interaction, from opening doors to new business ventures to saving lives by helping doctors communicate with patients.  Today we will look at how you can hire the right interpreter for your needs by considering a few questions.

What Language and Dialect Do You Need?

When choosing a professional interpreter, you want to make sure you select someone with interpretation skills in the correct target language.  However, it is not as simple as that.  After choosing your target language, you must narrow your choice to the correct dialect, as you should attempt to localize as much as possible.  This is not an area to make guesses in.  Take Chinese, for example.  There are many spoken Chinese dialects that are very different from one another, such as Wu and Yue.  Your client will be more at ease and the experience will be smoother for everyone than if you did not make the effort to choose a professional interpreter skilled in the correct dialect.

Always be certain that you are making the right choice.  You cannot assume someone’s language based on their background.  You may know that your client is German, but you may not know that they grew up in Canada and will be most comfortable with an interpreter who speaks Canadian French.  You also cannot assume what language a person will speak based on where they are from, as many nations have a mix of several prominent spoken languages.  For example, you should not assume an Indian client will need an interpreter who speaks Hindi; they might speak Tamil, or Gujarati, or another language.

What Will You Be Talking About?

To help the interpreter be prepared, it will help them to know in what capacity they will be serving and the content of the conversation, as there are several specialized terminologies to sort through in various industries.  The subject matter will also influence what sort of interpreter you will need.

If the conversation is of medical or legal nature, you may need a certified interpreter.  Interpreters working in medicine and law must be certified on the state and national levels, with medical interpreters requiring certification from the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters or the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.  Legal interpreters are certified by the Consortium for Language Access in the Courts.

What Method of Interpretation Do You Need?

The work environment and your client’s needs will influence the method of interpretation used.  There are different types of interpretation services which, if chosen well, can be used to great effect to benefit your audience and presenter.

  • On-site interpretation, where the interpreter meets with you and the client. In this scenario, you direct your attention to the client when speaking.
  • Phone interpretation. Interpretation via telephone is an excellent way to have a productive conversation when one or more parties are not able to be physically present.
  • Video Remote Interpretation Service, or VRI. This is a web-based video-calling service suitable for sign language as well as spoken language.
  • Simultaneous interpretation is a practice that can be used in tandem with other methods. During simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter relays the message back in the target language, while the presenter is communicating his message in his language, at the same time..  A variant of this is UN-style interpretation, where the recipients use earpieces and the interpreters work in a separate area.
  • Consecutive interpretation. The interpreter waits for the first speaker to finish a sentence or thought before delivering her interpretation.  This is a popular method and ideal for courtrooms, press conferences, and speeches.

How Can You Be Prepared?

Poor preparation for an interpretation project can result in the loss of an expensive business deal, result in preventable pain and suffering, and cause unnecessary losses of all kinds.  The best way to prepare is to look for professional interpretation resources that fit your specific needs.  Here are a few other ways you can help interpreters help you:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure to reach out to the interpretation company early so that you can be sure that there is time to form a plan with the interpreter you need.
  • Supply the interpreter with information on the nature of your project with industry-specific materials such as glossaries, terminology, style guides, etc.
  • How long will you need their services and in what environment?
  • Work environment. Will this be a formal event or a worksite that requires hard hats?

It Pays to Hire the Best Interpreter

Professional interpreters are valuable resources, giving us a chance to communicate our thoughts to each other by bridging language gaps.  Making sure to use only the best interpretation services not only elevates your brand but clears the way for new business deals, increased clientele and customer satisfaction.  Word of mouth is powerful advertising; imagine the power of adding new languages to the words spoken about working with your business!

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.