If you are referring to talent and aptitude, best interpreters are born. We all need to encourage young talents to enroll interpreting courses in the university and educate them well to secure the future of our industry. It takes years to train a qualified interpreter. Unless best students do not choose translation & interpreting over law, medicine, arts or engineering, we cannot meet the talent gap.
If your event is tomorrow you are probably too late, because good interpreters have a very busy schedule; better to reach out and book them early.
Finding a good interpreter does not always mean choosing the best fit for your needs. Interpreters have different specialities, i.e. not every good interpreter is very good in medical or legal context. I have prepared the following checklist to help you select your interpreters:
- Screening makes a huge difference: Always ask for detailed resumes. Request a skype/in-person interview if possible.
- Experience counts: And you should count interpreting days on the individual resumes. A consistent performance is normally expected after 150 – 200 days of active interpreting.
- Relevance is relavant: Make sure to select professionals with relevant experience. Minimum 50 days of experience on the same topic is a golden standard.
- Build a short-list of accredited interpreters: And tell your procurement officers/agents to hire approved profiles only.
- Always work with the same team: Interpreting is not an instant magic; it requires long-term memory to feel natural.
- Prepare your interpreters: Prepping your interpreters is equally important as your meeting preparations. Send them the agenda, papers, presentations on advance.
- Build your corporate language files: There is no universal glossary. Draft your internal term list and reference material.
- Observe professional standards: Booth, headsets, microphones and all other equipment must comply with ISO standards. Interpreters depend on their quipment to deliver highest performance.
- Do not take overtime for granted: Interpreting is an exhausting job. Do not assume that your interpreter can work overtime. Make sure to hire adequate number of interpreters.
- Do not overpack your agenda: Make sure to start and end the day at sensible hours and also give regular breaks. Packing a dozen presentations into one day is pure torture not only for your interpreters but also the participants.