Picture of attendees listening to simultaneous interpretation tips with interpreter booths in the background

8 Simultaneous interpretation tips

These 8 simultaneous interpretation tips enhance the quality of the simultaneous interpretation at your next event.

Good interpretation is not only about having good interpreters and technology, but also about good preparation and proper meeting procedures. It is definitely worth taking the trouble to learn how interpreters work.

1. Keep your meeting on a steady leash.

Everything that is said in a microphone reaches the interpreter and may be interpreted. An interpreter can only reproduce the content of one speaker at a time. You will quickly notice that the discipline that is required for simultaneous interpretation also improves the quality of your discussions.

2. Select good speakers.

Good interpreters will try to make sense of rambling or incomplete sentences, but the quality of the interpretation will always be based on the quality of the speaker.

3.  Structure.

Ask the speakers to clearly structure their presentations. A structured presentation will always be interpreted better than an unstructured one.

4. Avoid word play.

Puns are not suitable for simultaneous interpretation. Please use a different type of humour.

5. Help interpreters to prepare.

Interpreters must be able to prepare for a meeting. Do not be afraid that the interpreters will simply parrot a written text. Interpreters always reproduce what is being said. If they have a copy of the text or the outline of a presentation, it can help them understand what is being said.

6. Speak at an appropriate rate.

If possible, consult with the interpreters in advance about the appropriate speaking speed.

7. Know what languages.

Are many languages involved or are the debates fast and heated? Ensure that the interpreters know what language each speaker will be speaking.

8. Speak your native language.

Impress upon the participants the importance of using their own native language. The correct language will then be interpreted correctly. The use of a ‘corporate language’ often leads to incorrect or inaccurate formulations that the interpreter can no longer rectify.

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