How to choose the interpreting service that's right for you

Best Practices

Interpreting services

International conferences, cross-border business negotiations, press conferences, academic meetings… there are many situations where speakers of different languages come together, whether in person or on a conference call. In each of these cases, participants need to fully understand what is being said and be able to express exactly what they want to say.

Hiring an interpreter so that all participants can speak and listen in their native language is the best way to guarantee effective communication.

 

Who is equipped to provide interpreting services?

Choosing a professional interpreter has many advantages. Interpreting is a skill that is developed through thorough training and a lot of practice. It is mentally demanding and requires a high level of concentration.

One reason to use professional interpreters is that they will not miss any details in the speech they are interpreting and will follow the correct protocol to ensure that their service is unbiased and confidential. Another key advantage is that professional interpreters specialize in particular areas, meaning that they will come equipped with the specific vocabulary required for your event.

Professional language service providers are able to adapt their services to meet their client’s needs, including allowing a choice between various types of interpreting and between onsite and remote interpreting. On top of this, professional language partners are often equipped with dedicated platforms for interpreting remotely; alternatively, they can work with whichever platform you normally use (see the section on remote interpreting below).

interpreting guide

What are the different types of interpreting services available?

There are four main types of interpreting available:

Simultaneous interpreting

Working from a booth with a headset, the interpreter relays the message as he/she hears it spoken, often at a large international conference. If simultaneous interpreting is needed into more than one target language, multiple interpreters can work in separate booths at the same time.

  • Most suitable for large events/audiences
  • Use of headsets (for interpreter) and earpiece (for audience)
  • Allows for interpreting into multiple languages at the same time
  • Transmission of message is uninterrupted
Consecutive interpreting

When interpreting consecutively, the interpreter takes notes while the speaker delivers a section of his/her message (usually for about 5 minutes) and then relates the message in the target language to the audience.

  • Most suitable for small meetings
  • Can be used when interpretation is only needed from one source language into one target language
Liaison interpreting

The key difference with liaison interpreting is that the interpreter conveys the message phrase by phrase between the two languages.

  • Most suitable for very small business meetings or negotiations
  • Allows for a two-way exchange between two languages
Whispered interpreting

Whispered interpreting is similar to simultaneous in that the interpreter relays the message as it is being spoken. However, as the name suggests, he/she speaks in a low voice into the client’s ear.

  • Most suitable when only one person needs interpretation
  • The message is uninterrupted 

All four interpreting types can be used onsite and all but whispered interpreting can be used remotely.

 

What about remote interpreting?

If your meeting or event is taking place as a conference call, whether over the phone or via video link, there are interpreting solutions available to suit your needs.

Interpreting style

Overview

When used remotely…

Simultaneous • One or multiple target languages
• No interruption for speaker
Simultaneous interpreting is supported by some video conferencing software. Alternatively, a specially designed interpreting platform can be provided by the interpreter.
Consecutive • One target language
• Speaker and interpreter take turns
If you require remote consecutive interpreting, this can be done by simply using your normal video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams, Webex, etc.
Liaison • Two languages, both directions
• One-on-one meetings
As with consecutive interpreting, an interpreter can join your online meeting to provide a liaison interpreting service.

 

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Up-to-date technology allows for the same high-quality service, whether the interpreter is onsite or working remotely. Many language service providers can set up the technical aspects of remote interpreting, including testing the audio before the event; this is very important as good sound quality is essential for good interpreting. A technician can be available during the meeting and he/she can record the meeting for you, so there is one less thing to worry about.

Remote interpreting has some of its own advantages: it saves on costs and a remote interpreter can even be available immediately to assist with last-minute meetings or to cover unforeseen circumstances.

 

What are some of the techniques used by interpreters?

Glossaries

For many types of events, specific vocabulary or technical terms are likely to be used, so the interpreter will need the right translation at their fingertips. As well as being specialized in certain areas, interpreters will prepare for your event by compiling a glossary and doing research, if necessary.

Note-taking

Consecutive interpreters take quick, efficient notes while the speaker is delivering their message to make sure that all details are captured.

 

In summary…

A professional interpreter can make all the difference in ensuring clear communication during your international meeting or event – a worthwhile investment that can greatly benefit your relationships with clients and partners around the world.


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