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GUIDELINES FOR USING PROFESSIONAL INTERPRETERS 

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Tips on how to work with professional interpreters

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  • Establish and agree ground rules with an interpreter. For example, try and communicate how you want a meeting run, the                number of sentences to be translated at a time, the confirmation of jargon or idioms before they are interpreted, when breaks will      be taken and seemingly trivial matters like seating arrangements.
  • Try and brief an interpreter prior to any face to face meetings. Familiarise them with the whos, whats and whys. If there is any          specific terminology to be used ask them if they understand it. If you foresee any tricky issues or tense topics, prepare them for        it.
  • If you plan to give a speech or read from a script, give the interpreter a copy. The more familiar they are with the subject matter,        the better they will perform their professional duties.
  • While speaking through an interpreter always engage with your counterpart directly. Even though you cannot understand what is      being said, show interest, keep eye contact and remain focused. If you start to converse through an interpreter you lose any            chance of building trust, rapport or confidence.
  • Try and avoid humour. Most interpreters will agree that jokes do not interpret well or at all. If you are giving a speech and plan to      start it off with a joke, it is advisable to consult the interpreter first to see if they think it will work.

  • Plan your time carefully. Conversing through an interpreter makes conversations twice as long. For example, if you are making a      presentation remember that anything you say will first be interpreted, so the likelihood is that a one hour presentation will take          two. Compensate for this by either cutting down your presentation or speaking in shorter, sharper sentences.
  • Do not hurry. Interpreting is a taxing job and is mentally exhausting. To alleviate the pressure as much as possible, speak slowly     and clearly. If you hurry, the interpreter is more likely to become stressed and the quality of the interpretation may be affected.
  • Interpersonal communication, by its nature, involves emotion. An interpreter should never interpret emotions. If the speaker is          annoyed this will be obvious in their body language and tone. Never involve the interpreter at a personal level in any discussions      and if you see an interpreter interpreting your emotions, ask them to stop. The interpreter is there to purely interpret what is             being said meaningfully and in full.
  • Make sure the interpreter is clear that they are never to answer questions on your behalf. 
  • Ask interpreters not to change or alter what you say even if they think it may cause offence. If you plan to talk about a                       controversial controversial issue let the interpreter know. Before discussing it with an audience announce that what will be said is     not the opinion of the interpreter but your own. 

    These guidelines are to assist you to work with a trained and professional interpreter when you are conducting a business meeting, presentation, conference or event.

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