The Benefits of Sharing Your Company’s Materials with Interpreters
The skillset required to be a talented interpreter is much more involved than language fluency alone. It includes characteristics like being well-spoken, a quick thinker, able to remain two steps ahead at all times, multi-tasking, as well as having an intuitive sense of people and their intentions. Without these qualities, an interpreter will have difficulty conveying your company’s message and communicating across linguistic and cultural lines; the message you receive back may not be exactly what was intended.
Even with all those skills in place, interpreters do their best work when they have an in-depth understanding of your company, its brand and voice, and as much information as they can get their hands on regarding the subject matter they will be interpreting.
Be generous with your interpreters
While professional conference interpreters are prepared and trained to do cold interpreting, meaning to work off the cuff with no background information, a lack of connection and shallow depth of knowledge can show up in ways that affect the impression you make on the clients. Take a moment to think about it: would you send a new employee to give a key presentation with little preparation or background information? Of course not. It would reflect negatively on your brand.
Instead, we recommend taking the extra time to prepare background materials and an outline of how you see the meeting, conversation, event, etc., proceeding. In essence, your interpreter will act as an extension of your company for the span of time they are contracted to be its voice. The more generous you are with providing information, videos and other brand-building materials, the more your interpreters will sound and feel the part – and their interpretations will be the better for it.
Tips on helping interpreters prepare for a meeting or event
Do your interpreters’ continuous requests for more information seem excessive? We get it. However, we would also say, “beware the interpreter who doesn’t pepper you or your staff with requests for materials.” That is a sign they may not be as invested in their performance as they should be, or are perhaps over-confident.
Whether you use interpreters once in a while or are looking for a language services provider to partner with on a more regular basis, this Event Preparation List is a good thing to nail down so you can easily provide helpful background information. Submit the materials/information automatically once the contract is signed, and we bet those slightly irritating requests for information will slow down considerably because the interpreter will already have what s/he needs.
Links to your website and marketing materials
We like to have links to your website, social media accounts and paper marketing materials whenever possible. Any photos and bios for the interpreter’s direct contacts are also helpful. This allows us to get a sense for who you are, what your company does and stands for, and your company culture. Whenever possible, we like to match our approaches, attitudes, voice and tone to that of your team’s and your company’s general style.
The schedule or agenda
This may seem like a non-issue but, in fact, it helps a great deal. While interpreters are along for the ride, it is still nice to know the order of the day, when each topic will be discussed, and when break and meal times are planned. Any information regarding an event’s speakers’ résumé or speaking notes are extremely helpful as well.
Information from previous meetings, conferences or events
Is this an annual meeting or conference? Have you hosted or attended a similar event in the past? If so, any recordings, videos or actual scripts or minutes can be instrumental in helping your interpreter team get a better idea of the tone, content and approach, as it will give them a better feel about what the overall experience will be like.
Speeches and PowerPoint presentations
Of course, interpreters are trained to speak extemporaneously and they will do so. However, it is so much more effective to have the actual text and information on hand ahead of time so they can mentally map out the prospective route, even if it is a draft. Of course, we do not memorize it and you are welcome to take impromptu detours – we do not look at it as set in stone. It is simply a useful guide. Having the information ahead of time is like the difference between running through a speech a few times before you walk up to the podium, or walking up to an audience and reading it cold from a teleprompter for the first time: the more familiar with the content you are, the more natural the delivery and inflection will be.
Schedule a pre-event Q&A or slide review
Finally, if at all possible, we appreciate when clients make the time to schedule a pre-event Q&A session with our interpreter(s). This is especially important if the information is highly specialized, niche or more technical.
Last but not least, we pledge to keep all materials provided to us under the strictest confidence. All of our interpreters are bound to this via NDA and our Code of ethics. You can rest assured your information will not go beyond those who need to review it.
Looking for native-speaking interpreters who will make sure your company’s message is delivered exactly as you intended at your next meeting, conference or presentation? Contact us here at Chang-Castillo and Associates. We look forward to showing you why we have earned the reputation as the platinum standard in translation and interpretation services.