Translators and interpreters are here to help you, your project, company or event, and to present you in the best possible light. Each profession has its own specific features, and ours is no exception. The more efficient our cooperation, the better the results. Many customers want to know more about the services they are ordering, or want to help us achieve an even better result. We are extremely grateful for such clients. We have prepared the following advice and tips (not only) for them.
If possible, send your translator the text you need to translate in an electronic format, ideally one which can be edited. Why will the translator be delighted by a text in a standard, easily editable format? In the first instance because scanned texts often need to be deciphered and are more difficult and slower to work with. Copying directly from the original makes our work faster. Text in a standard format can be edited and is easier to put through an electronic analysis which may be necessary before providing the service. We can also ensure the original format is preserved in the final version. An editable format improves the quality of the resulting translation.
If you ask questions, it means you want to provide a better service
Translators who ask you questions on receiving your project aren’t incompetent or incapable, quite the opposite. They want to make sure the result of their work comes closest to what you need. If you want to help your translator out, and thus improve the final product, provide all the information you have about the text.
What could be of help to the translator?
- Completed translations of similar texts which you have will help the translator standardise the terminology. One word can be translated in dozens of ways, and if someone else has already done translation work for you, it will help us find the right term in an ocean of possibilities.
- Terminology, abbreviations and slang which appear in the text and which are commonly used in your company or organisation. The translator can use these to learn to speak your language and to express your needs as best he or she can.
- Additional information, resources and background texts which will make your text clearer to the translator, thus enabling him or her to express its essence better.
Take aim at your target (group)
Translators want to adapt the results of their work to its intended audience. Translators should know who the translation is for, and for what purpose it is intended. Translating a text for professionals and one for the lay public are different matters and require different styles, just as we address children in a nursery school in a different way from secondary school pupils.
What type of interpreting do I need?
If you can’t decide what type of interpreting is right for your event, ask the interpreter directly; he or she can provide the best advice.
There are two basic types of interpreting:
The interpreter works section by section. First the speaker speaks, before leaving a pause for the interpreter to give the same information in the other language. The interpreter (usually) takes notes to help him reproduce the original speech.
Interpreters sit in an interpreting booth and interpret as the speaker is talking. They speak at the same time as the speaker, overlapping his speech. Only listeners with specially connected receivers on headphones can hear the interpreter.
Requires no technical equipment.
Requires appropriate technical equipment (interpreting takes place in an interpreting booth with special equipment).
Prolongs the event.
There are no time losses.
Requires one or several interpreters.
A minimum of two interpreters are always necessary in the booth.
Not suitable for interpreting into several languages.
Suitable for interpreting into several languages.
Whispered interpreting (so-called chuchotage) is a special type of simultaneous interpreting where the interpreter whispers into the ear of one or two, but never more than three, clients. This type of interpreting is used when only a small number of people in a large-scale event do not understand the main language and require an interpreter. This technique is extremely taxing on the vocal cords and should not be used when interpreting for more than three hours. Before using it, the acoustic conditions of the room used for interpreting must be taken into consideration.
How can I help the interpreters?
- Interpreting is a task for which a professional prepares in advance. As a client, you will not see this preparation, but it will be reflected in the quality of the interpreting. For interpreters to prepare themselves well, they need to know the exact subject of the event. They should have enough time to prepare the specialist aspects and terminology before the start of the job.
- If you are organising a conference and have the presentations by the speakers at your disposal, the interpreters will certainly appreciate them being made available to them. This will contribute significantly to the quality of the performance.
- In order to carry out their task, the interpreters require suitable acoustic conditions. If they cannot hear the speaker properly, their performance will naturally suffer as a result. The constant need to “prick up one’s ears” is incredibly tiring, thus leading to a fall in the overall quality of the task.
- Depending on the type of interpreting (see above), the interpreters require suitable working conditions. High quality and reliable technical equipment is particularly important for simultaneous interpreting.
- In the case of simultaneous interpreting, ask your interpreter directly about providing technical equipment and a second interpreter for the booth. It’s more than probable that they have a colleague they are used to working with and that they know companies which can provide the required technical equipment.
I have found out that my speech will be interpreted/ that I will be communicating through an interpreter. What should I do when someone is interpreting for me?
If you are asking yourself this question, or a similar one, you have come to the right place. Here you can find out what is important when working with an interpreter. At the end of the day, efficient communication is you and your interpreter’s joint goal. Read through these useful recommendations and tips.
- If you have the opportunity, arrange a meeting with your interpreter. In the course of a short conversation, the interpreter can learn how you communicate, get used to your speaking tempo and how you express yourself. During this time, you can explain your goals, intentions and what is important for you at this event.
- Try and speak clearly and loudly enough. Make sure the interpreter can hear you and doesn’t need to “prick up their ears”.
- If you will be using consecutive interpreting, it’s a good idea to agree with the interpreter in advance how often you will stop to give him or her time to interpret. Speak freely and naturally, the interpreter will find it easier to remember coherent ideas; there is no need to speak in half-sentences, on the contrary, this will do more harm than good.
- Talk to your interlocutor naturally, as if there was no interpreter with you. Speak in the first person and maintain eye contact with your partner in conversation.
- If you want to use plays on words, jokes, idioms or slang, these might be lost in translation, as they might not have an equivalent in the other language. Your interpreter will do his or her best, but some things simply cannot be translated.
- The interpreter acts as a link in the communication, so it is not appropriate to involve them in the conversation.
- Sometimes one word in Slovak needs to be described in a whole sentence in English. At other times, the opposite applies. Different languages have different word orders, set terminology and may use different forms of expression in general. Perhaps you are expecting a specific word and the interpreter chooses a synonym. If you have your own preferred terminology, you can point this out and ask them to use the words you expect. If they use a different term, it does not mean they are wrong.
- With consecutive interpreting, the interpreter might ask you an additional question to clarify what you want to say. This does not happen often, but such questions are a normal part of interpreting, and if the interpreter does ask one, it can only be of benefit.
- The interpreter’s task is to interpret at the agreed time, to and from the agreed languages. It is not possible to take proper minutes from a meeting when interpreting, so you should not expect this from your interpreter. If you require further services from your interpreter (for example a translation or to act as a guide), or interpreting from or into another language, make sure this is agreed in advance so that he or she knows what to expect.
- Even interpreters need a break, so grant them some time when they don’t need to concentrate on someone else’s ideas and can recover before another round of interpreting. If your event overruns the scheduled time by more than 10 minutes, ask the interpreter if he or she is still capable of interpreting (particularly in the case of all-day events). If it is in his or her power to do so, when asked the interpreter will be glad to help even after the agreed time.