Face to face interpreting involves a lot more than hiring a translator. Yes, language expertise is an important part of any interpreting services but linguistic skills alone won’t get you the standard of face to face interpreting you and your audience need.
So today we’re looking at five key things every face to face interpreting service should offer. Your specific needs may vary from one project to another but any good agency will be able to provide the following five essentials.
#1: Knowledge of your industry or subject for face to face interpreting
Face to face interpreting can take place in the courtroom, an international conference hall, a private business meeting and all kinds of other environments. All of which require a certain level of industry or subject expertise for translators to effectively interpret dialogue.
At the very least, your interpreter needs an understanding of the key terminology in all languages, for every topic of discussion. In most cases, you’ll want an interpreter with sufficient knowledge about the industry you’re involved with.
#2: An interpreting services process tailored to your specific needs
As we say, face to face interpreting can take place in all kinds of environments. Which means each project comes with its own set of individual requirements. So you want a flexible team that can provide an interpreting services process tailored to your specific needs.
The most obvious variable is the languages you need to cater for. However, the kind of venue and audience you’re dealing with is actually a more complex issue to handle. For example, if you’re offering interpreting services for an audience of hundreds or thousands, you need to think about audio systems. If you’re interpreting for a dozen different speakers, then you’ll have to consider how many interpreters you need and how to integrate them effectively into a single interpreting system.
#3: Language and culture expertise
Of course, language is the core skill behind any face to face interpreting service – but culture is often important too. Each language comes with its own cultural history and your speakers may live their daily lives in a culture distant from your own, or even your audience. Which means cultural understanding is a vital skill for interpreters who need to quickly communicate meaning and context across language and cultural barriers.
#4: High-end technology
For small business meetings, you might not need a lot in the way of technology. However, many business meetings these days are conducted over video conferencing systems – particularly the kind of meetings that often need interpreting services.
Even if you’ve got these systems already in place, you want to know your face to face interpreting process is going to fit in seamlessly.
Your needs for high-end technology might be a little more demanding than the average business meeting though. An international business conference, for example, could need a full network of PA systems, HD displays throughout the venue, in-ear monitors for speakers and interpreters and a subtitles team integrated into the face to face interpreting process.
#5: An on-site technical team
Whatever interpreting services system you go for, the final touch should always be an on-site technical team to ensure everything runs smoothly. How large your team will be depends on how much of that high-end technology your face to face interpreting system consists of, of course. It’s their job to make sure everything works on-time and continues to do so throughout the interpreting process.
This is incredibly important for large events and more complex interpreting environments.
So there you have it. If you’re in need of face to face interpreting services, make sure your team or agency can provide more than language experts to make sure everything runs smoothly. Finding the right interpreter(s) for your project is important, of course – but it’s only the start of providing the kind of interpreting services your business needs.