Get the Best from your Interpreters at Your Next Trade Show
As you build international relationships and expand your market at the trade
show of your choice, you may also choose to hire an interpreting service to help
you communicate. But working with interpreters may look simpler than it
actually is. While their delivery depends mostly on their qualifications and
experience, other factors may also play a role. Hence the following tips.
Hire a team of two simultaneous interpreters
Professional simultaneous interpreters normally work in teams of two, to ensure
frequent breaks and help each other with research and terminology, which is a
widely endorsed standard. Simultaneous interpreting is a very demanding
process that requires mental gymnastics of all sorts and allows no room to
press the pause button. Consecutive interpreting (the speaker pauses to let
the interpreter repeat what has been said in the target language) allows for
questions, clarifications, and repeats if necessary. Note that fatigued interpreters
can easily make mistakes or omissions, or just deliver interpretations that sound
choppy. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of you!
Get them on board!
Let them know about your strategy and timing (how you want a meeting to run,
message structure, tone, objectives, and expectations). Familiarize them with
your brand and values, as well as the who’s, what’s and why’s. If there is any
specific terminology to be used, ask them if they understand it and prepare
them for any tricky issues and your deal closing lines. All of this will only help
them—and help you—sound natural in the target language. At this early stage,
you want your interpreter to become part of your booth team.
Rethink your timing
Although reliable interpreters tend to be quite fast, consecutive interpreting
makes conversations twice as long. If you are making a presentation or giving a
speech, remember that anything you say will be translated, and this may involve
twice as long when using this interpreting technique. You can compensate by
either cutting down your presentation or speaking in shorter, sharper sentences.
Don't let the interpreting become an obstacle.
Share all materials ahead of time
Sharing materials related to the trade show, as well as your own corporate
documents, allows interpreters to fully understand all tasks. From links to
websites and media kits, social media accounts and itineraries and schedules to
dress codes, glossaries and style guides, speakers’ bios and speeches and
presentations. Interpreters are used to both dealing with all sorts of information
and signing numerous NDAs.
Make eye contact and speak directly to your target audience member, and not
to your interpreters. Try to avoid slang and idioms, as these may not have an
equivalent in the target language, making it difficult to interpret naturally. Speak
slowly, and avoid interruptions or side notes, to keep things less confusing; if
you rush the interpreter is more likely to become stressed and the quality of the
translation may drop. Oh, and check with your interpreters whether that opening
joke you love actually works in the target language. You don’t want to find out
A proper introduction, background information, and the opportunity to integrate
your interpreters in your team will offer a real opportunity to seamlessly
implement your strategy at any trade show.