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Hiring an Interpreter? 9 Dos and Don'ts to Get the Most Out of Your Partnership

From Marie Kondo to the tiny house movement, the concept of “less is more” is undergoing a resurgence of sorts. Yet, in one area at least, the practice of “more is more” still rings true. If your upcoming meeting, conference, keynote speech, or business transaction requires a communication expert, such as an interpreter, you may think it’s as easy as having someone show up and translate a language either verbally or with sign language. However, overlooking the proper preparation and briefing that go into effectively hiring an interpreter can cost you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the line.
There is no shortage of ridiculously translated menus or embarrassing government mistakes, such as when the UK published a German version of its Brexit white paper that was widely ridiculed for its “archaic” and obtuse style of writing. The same can happen with interpreters. It’s due in part to the nature of language itself; its complexities, nuances, and myriad possibilities don’t allow for even the best interpreter to be a “walking dictionary.” It’s also due to the fact that communication is always an exchange of ideas in a given context.
Preparation is vital to ensure the communication experts you hire add value. If you treat your interpreters like members of your team, they can focus on their expertise: language. Take a look at these dos and don’ts to ensure your next partnership with a language expert translates to a success:
Do Consider Your Interpreter’s Field of Expertise
Before selecting an interpreter, ask about their expertise in your specific setting or field, not just their years of experience. A court interpreter might be a great fit for a deposition on a patent dispute, for example, but only if they have experience in that setting and are given pertinent technical information ahead of time. Poorly trained interpreters have been shown to make 2-3 times more mistakes than trained ones.
Don’t Hold Back for the Sake of Confidentiality
Don’t be afraid to brief your interpreters fully in advance. Qualified, credentialed interpreters are required to abide by a strict code of ethics and are normally happy to sign your confidentiality agreement. Keep in mind that words themselves don’t communicate full meaning, and interpreters need to know about relevant background contributions to what is unfolding in the conversation or transaction in order to convey the full picture.
Do Provide Names and Titles Ahead of Time
Let the interpreter know who will be present at your conference, negotiation, facility tour, etc., and what their roles are in the discussion. Names are helpful, and not just of participants. Knowing division, unit, and project names ahead of time will speed things up during the actual conversation.
Do Share Meeting Details and Goals
Your team and your Spanish-speaking counterparts across the table might know why you are discussing a contract, but an external contractor won’t. The purpose of the meeting will greatly inform the interpreter’s work. What are everyone’s goals? Are the stakes high and the situation tense? Think of interpreters as extensions of your team and brief them accordingly. If they know your purpose(s), they can better understand you and transmit your message accurately [...]

Source: Recruiter.com - Daily Articles and News

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