When faced with a language barrier, it is likely that you may require the services of an interpreter. If interpreting services are unfamiliar to you, what can you expect from your language service provider? eSense Translations shares 9 things you can anticipate when booking these services.
A professional approach to the job
Interpreters take a professional approach to their role, as often their position plays a crucial part to important and sometimes life-changing decisions. This includes arriving to the session prior to the start time, so that they are ready to commence interpreting as soon as required, dressing professionally and carrying all necessary paperwork and identification with them.
The role of an interpreter is to transfer information fully and accurately from one person to another. They do not add or omit anything and are not there to form opinions or judgements on the situation. Interpreters will therefore always remain impartial and not intervene in any of the situations they are presented with, no matter how sensitive or emotional the case may be.
Remaining impartial also extends to the interpreter not entering into any private conversations with the non-English speaker. If you feel that this may be happening and that an interpreter is spending an extended period of time speaking in the other language, then it is worth clarifying this with them. Sometimes conversations in a different language take a little longer, however if in doubt, just ask the interpreter at the time, or mention it to your language service provider and they will be happy to clarify for you.
Whatever the topic of your session with your client, you can be assured that all information will remain entirely confidential. Interpreters are trained in data protection and confidentiality policies; therefore anything that is discussed in your session will not go any further.
Clarification for accuracy
Interpreters are expected to interpret 100% of what is said with 100% accuracy, therefore on occasions an interpreter may request that you repeat or clarify some information to ensure that it is transmitted effectively.
Additionally, as far as possible, avoid making jokes or using idioms, as they do not translate naturally into different languages. Every language has their own sense of humour, and what may seem like a bit of light-hearted chat in our own language, may confuse or worse even offend a native speaker of a different language.
Simultaneous or consecutive interpreting?
eSense Translations has written previously about the differences between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. The skills are quite different and depending on your setting, one or the other will be more suitable for you. Ascertain what service you require and state this at the time of booking and if you are unsure, at eSense Translations, we are always happy to advise you.
Interpreting in the 1st first person
To allow for more efficient interpreting, interpreters will normally speak in the first person; that is using ‘I’ or ‘We’, instead of saying ‘He/she says …’
Flexibility to a certain extend
We know that it is difficult to judge how long an appointment will last and interpreters are normally happy to stay a few extra minutes if a session overruns. However, many interpreters will be completing multiple sessions in one day and any extended delays can affect their punctuality at their next booking. Therefore, although interpreters will always do as much as possible to accommodate your requirements, sometimes it is simply not feasible to do so.
Interpreters working for an agency, such as eSense Translations, will carry timesheets with them as evidence of their work for you. Normally, these will simply require your signature to confirm attendance, but there is also an opportunity to write feedback, if you wish to do so.
Taking bookings directly
Interpreters working for an agency are unable to take bookings directly due to insurance reasons. However, if you have enjoyed working with a particular interpreter and wish to use their services again, just make a note of their name and put forward this request to the language service provider. At eSense Translations, we have numerous interpreters working on repeat bookings, as it enables consistency with our customers and their clients, via an interpreter who is familiar with the case.
A high-quality interpreter, who works according to all of the above points, will simply act as a communication aid between you and your client, making your discussion as smooth and effective as if there was barely a language barrier there. We hope you find the same and would love to hear your feedback on your experiences.
By Lorna Paice