Making the Connection - Chapter 2 A Sound Performance

Successful Interpreting Techniques

Before the client arrives, the meeting facilitator should undertake a pre-briefing session with the interpreter. In the meeting, the client is seated in a position directly opposite the meeting facilitator with the interpreter seated a little to the side. This seating arrangement allows for direct eye contact between the facilitator and the client, emphasizing the facilitator’s role as controller of the meeting and the interpreters impartiality.

The meeting begins with introductions of the key participants and a brief explanation of their roles. This is followed by a brief summary of the meeting’s agenda. Dialogue is delivered in manageable bites or chunks of information, sentences being kept short and succinct.

Both facilitator and interpreter speak in clear voices, using a measured tone and volume. The facilitator speaks directly to the client, not the interpreter, and plenty of time is provided for the interpreter to interpret. The facilitator tries to avoid the use of technical terms and jargon, but where a term is not understood, the interpreter is given time to clarify the term with the facilitator. The interpreter ensures that he or she explains any interruptions to the client to avoid causing concern.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the facilitator and the interpreter hold a de-briefing session to ensure that salient points were covered to the satisfaction of both parties.

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