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How to find the right interpreter for your event?

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Previously, we’ve discussed that choosing the right interpretation system for your multilingual event is half the success. Another half goes to the interpreter hired to provide interpretation at your meeting. Today we’ll look at 7 things you should consider when choosing a suitable language professional for your event.

6 main factors to consider when choosing the most suitable interpreter

Specialization 

Remote simultaneous interpretation is a very complex skill. Conference interpreters need to listen to, understand, and memorize what the speaker is saying right away and then deliver an interpretation in a matter of milliseconds. 

That’s why we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to communicate the focus of your event. Just imagine if a professional medical interpreter had to interpret in a fintech conference - it would be tough.

There is no universal classification for interpreting specializations, but consider looking for an interpreter in one of these topics as a starting point:

  1. Healthcare. Focuses on terminology that health professionals use at hospitals and other medical institutions.
  2. Education. Can provide different terminology based on the level of education - primary, secondary, college, or university.
  3. Court and legal. They have a deep understanding of the vocabulary that professionals use in courts or law firms, police departments, and so on.
  4. Social service. These interpreters focus on the public sector, and some of the examples include refugee centers, immigration or emigration offices. 
  5. Houses of Worship. They usually interpret community gatherings at faith-based institutions.
  6. Conference. Such interpreters work at huge gatherings with many other interpreters, and since the speakers usually present a wide range of topics, this specialization is very broad.
  7. Business. Focuses on private meetings and has experience in situations where negotiations happen.

After you decide on the specialization of the interpretation, you can move on to the next step - previous experience. 

Experience

In general, experience is the most common factor that pops up in our heads when we’re choosing a new hire for a team. However, in the language industry, experience is more than just the number of years spent interpreting. 

In most countries, it is customary for an interpreter to have a diploma in one of the following degrees: interpreting and translation, modern languages, British Sign Language (BSL), American Sign Language (ASL), or interpreting deaf studies.

Additionally, there are many certificates in specific fields that a professional interpreter should hold to qualify for a specialization. For example, healthcare interpreters might have to acquire certificates from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) or The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI). Legal interpreters have entirely different certifications from the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and other institutions.

Once you figure out the interpreter’s specialization you’re going for you can also check national institutions that provide certificates to interpreters in your area. 

The easiest way to find these national institutions is through national associations. Most countries have their own interpreter associations, and you can find a full list here

However, national institutions are not the only way to validate the experience of interpreters. 

Interpreters associations

International interpreters associations unite experienced and trustworthy professional interpreters who work in your region and specialize in the event’s field. 

Here are some of the leading organizations you can turn to for help: 

  1. AIIC (Association Internationale d'Interprètes de Conférence) unites conference interpreters - over 3,000 professionals from all over the world. AIIC values the highest standards of quality and ethics in the profession.
  2. FIT (International Federation of Translators) is a group of over 100 professional associations and training institutes. They represent more than 80,000 interpreters, translators, and terminologists in 55 countries.
  3. EST (European Society for Translation Studies) is an international network of translation and interpreting learners. It is especially valuable when looking for additional information about the industry and its trends - it serves as a center for research resources.
  4. IAMLADP ​(International Annual Meeting on Language Arrangements, Documentation and Publications) is an international conference for translators and interpreters. It is an excellent place to learn about and exchange the best practices in the area.

In-house or freelance interpreters

After hearing all about the specialization and experience, you might be asking yourself a golden question: do I need an in-house or a freelance interpreter? 

Many conference interpreters work as freelancers - currently, 75% of language industry professionals worldwide work as freelancers. The world network of freelance interpreters has been growing constantly, especially with the booming increase of remote interpretation services. In the US, the number of freelance interpreters, almost 15000, has also reached its peak in 2020. Freelancing provides interpreters with more independence and flexibility and allows them to choose assignments that appeal to their expertise and personal preferences the most. 

Choosing a freelancer is reasonable if 

  1. You need interpreting on a one-time basis;
  2. You organize events with different specializations;
  3. You want to provide different dialects and accents depending on the audience; 
  4. You seek flexibility in your interpretation process; 
  5. You outsource the interpreting services to an RSI provider. 

On the other hand, in-house interpreters are your full-time employed interpreters. Working with in-house interpreters is the best choice for organizations that use interpretation on a daily basis. It’s your best choice if you expect your language professionals to be familiar with the brand’s mission, vision, values, and services and easily reflect it in the interpretation. 

Budget for interpreting services

Knowing the budget, you’re willingness to allocate to interpreting services early will help you find the best match for your event. 

Remember that interpretation rates depend not only on the years of experience but also on: 

  • Rarity of the language
  • Dialect or accent
  • Specialization
  • Urgency of the event
  • Membership in prestigious interpreters organizations
  • Level of expertise demonstrated by language professionals 

Remote simultaneous platforms like Interactio work with different event budgets and employ  internal qualification procedures to deliver high-quality interpretation. 

Though many variables can impact the interpretation budget, we kindly encourage you to be mindful of the interpretation rates. Interpretation is a skill professionals master for years: significant cost cuts can impact your interpretation experience. 

Preferred dialect or accent

Most languages have many accents and dialects. For example, around 20% of Canadians speak in the Canadian French dialect. 

When studying interpretation, students usually receive training in standardized languages, such as English Received Pronunciation. However, when they need to interpret a speaker who speaks Scottish English, things get complicated.  

When people speak in a specific accent or dialect, some differences between a standardized language are too major. It might be impossible to say that it is the same word. Let’s not forget that in remote simultaneous interpretation, interpreters need to understand and interpret the speech immediately. If these words are essential, only the interpreter that understands the dialect will carry out the main message to the audience.

Depending on your event’s speakers, audience, and location, you can consider the need for a dialect or accent to better connect with your attendees. 

Interpreter’s location

Just a few years ago, the interpreter’s location used to be one of the decisive factors in the simultaneous interpretation industry. With many infrastructural cues and logistical hassle getting in the way of organizing interpretation on-site, the interpreter’s location was key. 

If some interpreters were not available in the event area, event organizers used to buy tickets and provide accommodation for the language professionals traveling to the destination. This often led to delays and even cancellations beyond the power of the event organizers. 

Right now, logistics is not a problem. Remote simultaneous interpretation providers, such as Interactio, match you with interpreters working virtually from any part of the world. Rare languages, accents, dialects, specializations per your request!

Does Interactio offer interpretation-only services? 

No. At Interactio, we offer a full solution for your multilingual event - software technology, interpretation services, and technical support. RSI platforms such as Interactio build databases of freelance interpreters who go through a robust qualification process to interpret on multilingual meetings. What’s more, all Interactio interpreters are technically proficient to use the Interactio interpreters console and ready to deliver high-quality interpretation in any language of your choice. 

Learn more about Interactio remote simultaneous interpreting services

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Published on

September 20, 2021

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