You've already spent thousands of pounds on organising this meeting/event. So why saved a few hundred pounds on a professional interpreter? Sometimes, with or without a professional interpreter present at a meeting / event can really mean success or failure.
Although more and more UK companies employ Chinese speaking staff and an increasing number of Chinese visitors coming to the UK can speak some English, it is more than likely that you will still need a qualified professional interpreter for formal meetings. If it is a business negotiation or if you wish to resolve a long running dispute with your Chinese partner who constantly ignores your emails and phone calls (our guess is, it is not because they are rude, but because they do not understand you and are too embarrassed to admit it), then you certainly require the service of a professional interpreter. To avoid a disappointed business meeting or miss a business opportunity, always hire a professional interpreter. It will be money well spent. Not only can an interpreter make your meeting run smoothly and get the message across, they can also help prevent any potential misunderstanding or avert a diplomatic disaster due to a lack of cultural awareness. In addition, it demonstrates that you are committed to whatever you intend to do and will impress your potential partner or clients.
Like accountants, lawyers and doctors, before becoming qualified to practice, interpreters have to go through the same process: receiving specialist trainings, sit for exams and then becoming a member of a professional body, such as the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). Experience/practice is equally important. Therefore someone being bilingual does not automatically make them an interpreter. This has been proven to be the case time and again.On one occasion, our Chief Interpreter, Connie interpreted for a UK High Court judge and a judge from China. The discussions involved the pros and cons as well as the criteria of imposing an interim junction against a party being accused of IP infringement. A qualified IP lawyer who worked at the British Embassy Beijing was one of the people present. She is a UK educated native Chinese speaker and her working language is English. She told Connie afterwards that she could not have handled the interpreting herself, as it required specialist skills, such as the speed to render one language into another with precision, fluency and accuracy.
Never underestimate an interpreter's role as they are vital to successful communication. Here are some suggestions and recommendations for working with an interpreter:
It means you speak a few sentences and then pause to allow your interpreter to translate. It is a common form of interpreting used for small scaled meetings, discussions and negotiations. You can achieve the best results through consecutive interpreting if the meeting is attended by just a small group of people and you want to go into small details or make it more personal.
It means two interpreters working as a pair, interpreting simultaneously while you speak (i.e. you do not have to pause for the interpreter). You have to have special audio equipment or even a technician on site. It is a costly option. Simultaneous interpreting is usually used for large seminars and conferences.
Level 1 (General) interpreters may be employed for most business meetings but if technical or specialist terminology is used then you should consider a more experienced Level 2 interpreter who is either a member of the Institute of Translation (ITI) or the Charterted Institue of Linguists. Our Chief Interpreter Connie is a long standing qualified member of both professional bodies.
Speeches and presentations. Remember that the need to interpret everything will cut your speaking time approximately in half (unless using simultaneous interpreting). Make sure that the interpreter can cope with the technical or specialised terminologies of the presentation. More importantly, the interpreter should always be given the text well in advance. If you change your speech later, make sure that your interpreter is forewarned, otherwise he or she may just stick to your original text rather than follow what you actually said. Last minute ad-libs from the text may well not get interpreted.
Without an interpreter, your message will be lost to your non-English speaking clients/partner. Without a professional interpreter, your message will be 'Lost in Translation'.
Bear the above points in mind, the chances of your meeting with your distinguished guests go wrong are massively reduced, if not eliminated.
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