Effectively Engaging an Interpreter

Echo International highly recommends using professional services for your interpreting needs, as it reduces risk and gives you a greater assurance of quality. 

The following document outlines specific tips to follow when engaging an interpreter. Whether you have utilized interpreting services many times or are a relative newcomer, these helpful tips and guidelines will give you valuable industry perspective and enhance your interpreting experience.

Before the Meeting

  • Build trust with the interpreter.
  • Inform the interpreter of the target and agenda and provide contextual information.
  • Make sure you clarify his or her role and provide specific guidelines.
  • Agree on the pace and pause intervals you will use during the meeting.
  • Explain any significant technical concepts and important technical terms.
  • Ask the interpreter to avoid any linguistic cultural misunderstandings, such as taboos and sensitive topics.

During the Meeting

  • Allow the interpreter to introduce himself and explain his role.
  • Avoid dialects and colloquialisms.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. Enunciate.
  • Maintain eye contact with your audience, not the interpreter.
  • Always address your questions directly to the client.
  • Allow the interpreter time to translate by taking one- or two-minute breaks.
  • Use more than one interpreter for longer sessions or when simultaneous interpreting is required.
  • Allow each interpreter to take regular breaks and do not expect him or her to interpret during these breaks.

After the Meeting

  • Coordinate with the interpreter to ensure that agreements or contracts are completed in written form.
  • Review the meeting with the interpreter, clarify uncertain issues, and write a short report.
  • Ask for his or her informal opinions as a cultural mediator.


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