Interpretation Tips

Listed below are a few tips for working with an interpreter.

  • Speak clearly and slowly. Try to construct short, compact sentences. If the subject is complex, repeat and explain yourself several different ways.
  • Use visual aids wherever possible.
  • Avoid puns and humor based on wordplay-it usually won't translate.
  • Avoid complex quotations, such as from the Bible.
  • Don't interrupt the interpreter. Don't be concerned if the interpreter seems to be taking longer than you to explain your point.
  • Be courteous and considerate. Allow for breaks. Interpreting is an arduous mental task that requires special concentration and can be very fatiguing.
  • If you are giving a presentation or speech, consider that it will take twice as long through an interpreter. Consecutive interpretation takes time.
  • If confusion arises, ask the interpreter for advice. An experienced interpreter will pick up on tone and reactions and will also be able to provide cultural clues.
  • Summarize and confirm all agreements (or disagreements) in writing. Don't rely on verbal discussions as a record.

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