What to look for?
Your conference interpreter must not only be able to provide the basic interpretation services, but also be fluent in the context of your meeting.
For example, if you are holding a meeting where the global financial department of your company is presenting last year’s results and this year’s financial goals, your conference interpreter must be acquainted with financial terminology. If your conference refers to the presentation of last year’s KPIs and this year’s projections, your interpreter must have knowledge of performance indicators. If your company is merging or acquiring other companies abroad, your simultaneous translator must understand international negotiation protocols.
Overlooking the translator’s professional background and proficiency may not seem like much, but it is actually the costliest mistake in a Corporate event.
Imagine setting up the logistics for 50-100 people to meet for a Conference in Miami. This includes air tickets from all over Latin America and the Caribbean, hotel accommodation, food, setting up the board rooms for the conference, audiovisuals, mingling activities, etc. All so that the conference that you set up everything around, is not understood by half of the attendants because they didn’t speak the language.
Don’t allow all your efforts in configuring your Corporate Seminar go to waste. You are not setting up an office party, you are delivering significant information. The party comes after the seminar is over.
If the objective of your event is a conference where you are communicating crucial data, then make sure that information is effectively transferred in any language.
Choosing an adequate conference interpreter should be as much a priority as selecting your conference speaker. The translator is the voice of the orator and therefore, must be in sync with the subject of the conference as much as the speaker.
A simultaneous translator is a human machine that processes information from an expert’s mouth, directly to the audience’s ear in real-time, successfully. This activity requires deep understanding of the subject being translated.
Even though the translator may not be an expert in the subject itself, the terminology and thought process must be part of the translator’s experience.
In many cases, a conference translation job is hired based upon costs. The cheaper the better, says the purchase manager. But when you think about it, not providing the proper translation of your event will jeopardize the main objective of the entire activity.
In the end, cheaper is really not, since sacrificing experience for budget may result in not being able to communicate properly with your staff.
It is always best to shop around. Look for translators with professional backgrounds that agree with the content of your event. Look for companies that will provide you with a few options on translation professionals. Ask for resumes, references, certifications, and or previous experience.
What can you do?
But most of all, when you do decide to hire an interpreter for your event, talk to them prior to the event. Let your simultaneous translator know what your event is about, who the target audience is, and what you want as a result of the conference.
This will make the translator’s job much easier. When the simultaneous translator has the information available, he or she can actually study it. Understanding becomes an activity of preparation to the event and not part of the execution of the conference. Terms can be appropriated; phrases and elements can be cleared out.
Communication between the interpreter and the speaker, prior to the event, is again, a plus. Being able to talk to the owner of the conference about any situation that may arise, tactical or technical, is vital to eliminate externalities that may threaten an effective communication during the conference. Capturing the speaker’s tone and accent, is also essential for a successful transfer of information.
Having the audiovisual material at hand, to study the content of the conference is always a good idea. So, when you make your decision on hiring a simultaneous translator, make sure you provide him or her with the proper information. If the content of your conference is confidential, let them sign a confidentiality agreement. Most translators will agree that this is the safest way to reproduce your session in the target language.
In short, always make sure you have a person who can respond to your needs. In the end, it is your company’s communication and message that must be delivered. Look for professionals who are prepared and carry out your part as well. A translation job is complete when both the hiring party and the translator have an open communication channel that works in two ways: Providing information in the original language, and delivering it in the target language.