- Zineb Outnouna
3 Tips on working with interpreters!
Have you ever wondered about how to effectively work with an interpreter? Do you worry that your message might get lost in translation? If that is the case, we suggest you implement these three tips. Whether you have worked with an interpreter before or this is your first time, implementing these tips will help you have a very productive and successful meeting.
1- USE SHORT SENTENCES:
In addition to speaking clearly and, somewhat, slowly, using short sentences is the most important tip that you should keep in mind. Even the most skilled interpreter cannot remember everything you say and would need time to process the message in its entirety. Interpreters are not allowed to alter, add, or omit anything that you say; it is a violation of profession ethics if they do so. Using short sentences in the conversation will ensure that the message is conveyed properly and accurately.
2- REFRAIN FROM ASKING THE INTERPRETER ANY QUESTIONS OR HAVING A SIDE CONVERSATION WITH THEM.
Remember that the interpreter is there for the sole reason to facilitate the conversation between you and the person you are trying to communicate with; that person is not incompetent; he/she simply does not speak your language! Speak directly to your target audience and maintain eye contact with them, having side conversations with the interpreter is not only disrespectful but unethical as well.
3- ALLOW AMPLE TIME FOR THE MEETING.
Languages are not the same; a sentence that takes 4 words in English might take 7 words in other languages; plus metaphors, acronyms, slangs or idioms always take so much time to convey to the audience, hence longer speaking time. At times concepts, ideas and practices that are established in the United States (welfare, social services, therapy...) are foreign concepts in other parts of the world. Your target audience might need additional time to understand these concepts in addition to the message that you are trying to convey.