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8 Tips for Working with an Interpreter

Working with an interpreter is easy to do if you follow these simple tips.

#1 Prepare your interpreter with a brief of what the conversation will entail. By prepping the interpreter, you both can discuss the topic and clear up any potential confusion before the actual interpreted conversation.

#2 Speak clearly and in a normal tone. There's no need to exaggerate speech or go slower. It's important to speak as naturally as possible so you and your client can interact and engage in a regular manner.

#3 Avoid the use of idioms, slang or other content specific words and phrases. Some words and phrases don't translate well to another language, so it's important to use clear and simple speech as much as possible. If there are terms or phrases you have to use to communicate to your client, then make sure you communicate that with your interpreter in the pre-interpreting meeting.

#4 Pause between ideas to give your interpreter time to interpret. Without a pause, it will be more difficult for the interpreter to remember and convey the meaning of the message as accturately as needed. If you pause between ideas, this will ensure that your message is interpreted correctly.

#5 Look at the client during the conversation, not the interpreter. By looking at the client, the focus is on the client, and the conversation will flow more naturally. Remember, the client understands, but simply needs it explained in a different language.

#6 Ask the interpreter to keep everything the same. Your message is your message, and the interpreter should be interpreting it word for word as much as possible. As stated above, some things don't translate well and a substitution may be required to achieve the same meaning, but otherwise, the interpreter should interpret word for word.

#7 Create a signal with the interpreter. If speech needs to be slowed or repeated, a signal is an inobtrusive way to show a need for slower speech or a repeated word or phrase without interrupting the flow of the conversation.

#8 Treat the interpreter as a professional. The interpreter has had years and years of training in language and most likely has advanced degrees along with an intimate knowledge of another language. They are highly educated and should be treated as the content experts they are.

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