Başak Balkan I  Interprète  I  Traductrice  I Anglais   Français    Turc

 

How To Communicate Effectively Through An Interpreter *

 

SIMULTANEOUS or CONSECUTIVE

  • Always prepare the interpreter on the subject matter to be  presented or discussed, and when possible, provide written texts and/or supporting documents in advance of the meeting. An interpreter has to prepare for a meeting on specialized subjet such as coal, wheat or wind turbines, find the acronyms and learn the jargon. Give them the time they need to prepare and your meeting will be more fruitful.

 

  • Always inform the interpreter, in advance, of your audience by name and title/status to avoid misprononciations or other types of confusion.

 

CONSECUTIVE

  • If consecutive interpreting is to be used, then you will need to double the amount of time you would need if speaking only in your own language — plan accordingly.

 

  • It is best to spend a little time with the interpreter before the event begins.  The speaker and interpreter should not work together “cold.”  The interpreter will do a better job for you if there is already some rapport.  For example, they will then feel more free to ask you about anything they do not understand. 

  • Always prepare the interpreter on the subject matter to be  presented or discussed, and when possible, provide written texts and/or supporting documents in advance of the meeting. 

 

  • Always inform the interpreter, in advance, of your audience by name and title/status. 

 

  • Maintain eye contact with your audience at all times - not the interpreter!  That is, talk to your audience, not to your interpreter. 

 

  • Speak in the first person. 

 

  • Try to speak in short thought groups, and pause for your interpreter to catch up.  If you do not, you may force the interpreter to omit some of your words, but you won’t know which ones!  Be concise and deliberate in your speech pattern, enunciate clearly, and agree in advance with the interpreter on the pace and pause intervals you will use.  

 

  • Be attuned to the flexibility an interpreter must be permitted to use in getting your meaning across to the audience, a flexibility that increases when the languages in use are from disparate families (e.g. English and Turkish); this impacts greatly on the speed with which the interpreter can operate - don’t rush him/her. 

 

  • Be constantly attuned to your audience's comprehension level - slow down, repeat, or elaborate as needed. 

 

  • Plan on 10 minute breaks for every hour of interpretation to give both the interpreter and audience  time to rest, as well provide an opportunity for the interpreter to go over questions of vocabulary. During breaks, do not make the interpreter interpret – allow him or her to rest, get a drink, go to the bathroom.  Also, be aware that in the evenings, when you are just relaxing over a drink or supper, your interpreter may still be working for you full time. Decide when you really need an interpreter and when you can let him/her rest.  See the next item. 

 

  • Don’t burn-out a good interpreter by over-dependence on just him/her - use other interpreters as available.  If they are not as good, then help them to develop; if that fails - replace them.  If possible, rotate interpreters a minimum of every two hours, or every 15-20 minutes when using simultaneous interpretation. 

 

  • Be aware that mealtime can be the most difficult time for an interpreter. Plan for seating arrangements that make the best use of your interpreters, and ensure your interpreters are rotated out or given some free time - if not, they will not have the chance to eat. 

 

  • Don’t distract the interpreter by passing notes, whispering, or carrying on side conversations. 

 

  • Visual aids - a picture is worth a thousand words - but rehearse and/or translate with the interpreter in advance. 

 

  • Beware of telling jokes.  Unless you’ve rehearsed a joke or humorous comment with the interpreter ahead of time, don’t use it - jokes rarely survive interpretation!  The same applies for prayers and puns! 

 

  • Don’t ever assume that your audience is wholly ignorant of English and so refrain from unofficial comments to the interpreter along the lines of “Now don’t interpret this, but….” 

 

  • Always take the time to provide your interpreter with feedback after the presentation/dialogue/meeting.  Be discrete in making corrections, but do make them. 

 

*Published inNews from the Front, Nov-Dec 03, by the Center for Army Lessons Learned.

+32 (0) 498 297 279

 

72, Rue Alphonse Robert

Sart-Risbart 1315 Belgique