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FEBRUARY

79

Despite their importance, some companies hire interpreters around the same time as they

book the refreshment trolley. For those businesses, it is seen as an optional service…”

BUSINESS

INTEL TIME

A

lthough the explosion of the web and

cheap flights have given businesses

the opportunity to reach

international audiences more easily than

ever before, business leaders have been slow

to realise the importance of interpreters in

helping them communicate effectively

across national boundaries. Yet the skills of

recruiting great interpreters and working

with them are becoming increasingly vital

in our globalised world.

Without interpreters and their skills in

spoken or signed languages, you can’t have

effective product launches, conferences or

negotiations with people whose first

language isn’t English. Although the level

of English spoken in many countries is

undoubtedly impressive, it takes only a few

minutes in a meeting to see the impact of

bringing in interpreters.

Professional interpreting always pays off

Take, for example, the construction experts

from Italy who chose to address a big

Dr Jonathan Downie

of Integrity Languages explains the importance

of getting language right – and how best to work with interpreters

How interpreters multiply your

INTERNATIONAL IMPACT

European conference in imperfect English.

The audience got the gist but their speech

actually made their company look

unprofessional and definitely did not help

them win any plaudits… or sales.

The next speakers learned the lesson and

gained a warm reception after their

simultaneously-interpreted presentation

wowed the English, French, Spanish and

Italian audiences at the same time. If your

language is not the only one spoken,

partnering with professional interpreters

will always repay much more than it costs.

A specialist manufacturing company in

Scotland noticed the difference a

professional interpreter can make when

they almost lost a multi-million-pound

contract from a French buyer, due to a

misunderstanding over a single word.

Within a few hours of the interpreter

explaining to either side that they were

measuring “quality” in different ways, the

deal was sealed and everyone went home

better off.

Plan interpreting early

Despite their importance, some companies hire

interpreters around the same time as they book

the refreshment trolley. For those businesses, it

is seen as an optional service, with roughly as

much value as a good espresso. It is little

wonder that they tend to go for the cheapest

provider and then complain about the quality of

the service they get!

To maximise the impact of any

international event, it is vital to involve a

good agency or experienced consultant

interpreter as early in the event planning

process as possible. They can then advise on

things like equipment hire, room set-up and

the number of interpreters you need. In

addition, the better they know the purpose

and audience of your event, the more specific

they can be with the interpreters they

recommend, leading to even better results.

What interpreters do

Wherever they work, the stereotype of

interpreters being walking dictionaries or