Monthly Archives: April 2013

Interpretation Best Practices

By | Interpretation | No Comments

Today we’re going to share some of AZ World’s best practices for working with an interpreter.  Interpreters are professionals and will do their utmost to help you present your ideas, but here are a few things you can do to improve communication even more.

–          When writing your speech or presentation, avoid acronyms or abbreviations as they may not be present in the target language.

–          Always provide the interpreter with your speech or presentation materials early on so they have time to prepare for any less common words.  Update them with the latest versions if possible.

–          Confer with the interpreter prior to the presentation to confirm the main objectives of the presentation and to adjust for any last minute modifications.

–          Warn the interpreter about any jokes, they don’t always translate well and the interpreter may need time to prepare.

–          Following standard public speaking advice like speaking clearly and at a steady pace will not only improve your presentation, but also the interpretation.

–          If you plan on saying a few words in the audience’s language, such as words of thanks at the end, ask the interpreter to proofread it so that it has the most beneficial impact.

–          Expect delays; interpreters will operate a few words behind you, so the audience may react at different times, with those waiting to hear the interpretation reacting later than others.

–          Similarly, leave slides up for a few seconds longer as the interpreter will be behind you.

–          Interpreters will also interpret an audience member’s question, so don’t worry about repeating questions

–          Always provide feedback for the interpreters to help them improve and consider requesting feedback from the interpreters too.

These tips and guidelines will really help the interpreter, which will in turn help you better communicate your message.  Your interpreter can be your best friend if used properly!

Communication is Key When Working With Translators

By | Translations | No Comments

What are you really expecting from your translator? Yes you want accuracy and on-time delivery.  That’s pretty basic.  But it’s important to really be sure that you know what you’re really trying to get from this translation.  Are you looking for a way to expand into new markets?  Do you want to non-English speaking engineers to be able to understand your software?  These are different goals and need to be communicated to the translator.  Does your company prefer one term to another?  Let the translator know. As we’ve discussed previously, synonyms are not errors and terminology can change.

Translators are not mind readers; you need to talk to them.  Context can both clarify and obviate so at times the client must provide some direction to the translator.  Translators are professionals and are more than capable of working independently.  They will always produce a high quality and polished product, but if the client doesn’t communicate effectively, it might not be the right high quality product.

Technology Increases Translator Productivity

By | Interpretation, Translations | No Comments

Chances are that when people think of technological innovations and advancements in the translation industry they’re thinking about the latest version of Google translate or other machine translators.  They’re probably not thinking about powerful advances in translation memory technology, despite the fact that these have been huge in increasing the productivity of professional translators.  And innovations in translation memory have still probably had a much greater impact on the translation world than machine translation.

This is the future of translation technology; the advancements will enable professional translators to further leverage their own skills.  A new piece of technology in this vein is the ELSA device that Minnesota Public Radio recently reported on.  This device is simple, but its applications are enormous.  It is basically a small speaker-phone that quickly connects first-responders with interpreters.  We’ve discussed before how essential proper medical interpretation is in emergencies and this device can help provide it.  The ELSA device can reportedly connect first-responders with professional interpreters in as quickly as 30 seconds and operators can even help determine what language is needed.

This kind of device is certainly more effective than other handheld machine translation devices that have been developed for tourism or even military purposes.  These kinds of technological advancements, which further enhance or enable a professional linguist’s existing skills are the future and will have a much greater impact on the industry than advances in machine translation.

It’s worth noting that the MPR report refers to translators, not interpreters, we’ve discussed the difference before here.