Time has come to deliver your speech to a foreign audience. In order to effectively adapt your words for a different language and culture, you will need a professional interpreter. As for interpreting modalities, you may choose between consecutive interpreting or simultaneous interpreting.
There are many differences between consecutive and simultaneous interpreting. In consecutive interpreting, a speaker takes frequent pauses during his or her speech to allow the interpreter to translate it into another language. In simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter hears a speech through headphones and talks into a microphone to deliver the interpretation, which is streamed in real time to the audience through headsets.
If you opt for consecutive interpreting, there are some tips you should bear in mind in order to ensure the success of your event. Here is a list of tips on working with consecutive interpreters, which we have divided into preparation steps and tips for the day of the event.
Before the event
Schedule interpreters in considerable advance
Exactly as keynote speakers need time to prepare speeches, we need time to find the most suitable consecutive interpreters for your event and check their availability on the date of your event. Demand for qualified interpreters is very high and we always look for interpreters whose specialization fits them ideally for a specific interpreting task, therefore finding them may be a time-consuming process. To sum up, the sooner you request our interpreting services the better.
Be prepared for a longer-than-scheduled conference
In consecutive interpreting, interpreters have to wait for a speaker to take a pause before delivering their interpretation into another language. After that, the speaker will go on with his or her speech, then he or she will take a pause, and so on. This means that consecutive interpreting approximately takes twice as long in comparison to what a single-language event would last. So, when you book event venues and/or consecutive interpreting services, always bear in mind this extra time.
Provide consecutive interpreters with conference materials
As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success”. Therefore, be sure to give us all available conference materials. We will send them to the interpreter we have selected for your event in order to allow him or her to properly prepare it. You don’t have to worry about confidentiality of your contents: we have all of our interpreters and team members sign non-disclosure agreements. Some examples of useful materials for interpreters are:
– PowerPoint presentations
– background information on the company and/or the even
– speeches or drafts of speeches
During the event
A best practice in conference speaking consists in keeping a normal elocution pace. This means that you should not speak too quickly, otherwise your interpreter won’t have enough time to realize what you are saying and to take notes. Moreover, it is important that you adopt a correct pronunciation, without garbling words. This way the interpreter will be able to understand every single word and to convey your message accurately.
Talk to your audience, not to the interpreter
Always remember that with your speech you are addressing the audience, not the interpreter. He or she is solely a mediator between you and the audience, and does not take part in the conversation. Therefore, direct your speech and your eye contact to the audience, not to the interpreter. From what has just been said it should be clear that you mustn’t talk to the interpreter during your speech. However, before the event we advise you to agree with the interpreter some simple signals (e.g. raising a hand) he or she might use to communicate with you during your speech. You might need to speak louder, slow down, articulate words better, or take a brief pause.
If you follow the tips above, no doubt you will achieve effective cross-cultural communication and, at the same time, ensure the success of your event.