Embrace Your Interpreter

Originally published on LinkedIn as Embrace Your Interpreter to Guarantee Success and Greater ROI, on March 6, 2016.

Successful communication remains the most important ingredient in business. And approaching customers in their own language is the best solution available to multinational corporate players to reach their target audiences with full impact, intelligently and in a manner that will ensure the highest ROI conversion.

Embracing your interpreters and translators as ad hoc members of the marketing, sales or training teams, as an investment, and a means to a well-defined end is a strong strategy. You should strive to ensure that language professionals can reflect an accurate and coherent image of the company and its products.

Corporate buyers of language services need to know that:

  •  Translators and Interpreters are not necessarily Subject Matter Experts (SME).
  •  We are not human encyclopedias or dictionaries.
  • We are bound by professional Codes of Ethics* and observe standards of professional practice.
  • We do strive to put our best effort forward.
  • Our work is copyright protected. More on this later.

* Most conference interpreters subscribe to the Code of Ethics of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), which is available online.


Interpreters are not necessarily Subject Matter Experts

And of utmost importance: there is no certification for conference interpreters. If there were one, it would ensure that we know how to listen and speak almost simultaneously, coherently, and in different languages. It would not certify that we fully understand the intricacies of a company’s sales program or of that new surgical procedure their training focuses on.

Interpreters sound knowledgeable because we are professionals and prepare for each event with a very specific and strong focus. The success of our preparation process depends greatly on our client’s trust in our adherence to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and sharing information intelligently. A well-designed Interpreter Language Service (ILS) Package can greatly improve the success of any event or meeting.

I envision ILS Packages to be similar to press packages, but event-specific and less complex. They should be made available to the coordinator at the language service provider (LSP or the agency) for delivery to the interpreters. A recommended time gap is 2-3 weeks prior to event’s date, this will give your language team time to study the material and better deliver on your ROI.

Understanding the purposes of the ILS Package…

  • Assist the LSP in pre-qualifying and selecting the best professionals for the event.
  • Ensure that the company’s image is safeguarded by a well-prepared team of professionals;
  • Protect company’s confidential information early in the process;
  • Collect the necessary consents, if warranted, for broadcasting, recording and future use of the interpretation.

… is important for the development of its content.

  • Link(s) to online depository of material, including consent forms
  • Preliminary program
  • Event URL (current or past)
  • Texts or links to presenters’ biographies
  • Guest password(s) for accessing event website, if applicable
  • Presentations or their abstracts if available; past year material also helps

The Berne Convention and its impact on your event

The Berne Convention stipulates that when committed to fixed media of any nature the performance of the conference interpreter becomes a translation and its author has exclusive rights. And ASTM International’s publication F-2089-01, 10.13, page 7**, states:
“When commercial use of any recording is contemplated, questions of intellectual property rights may be involved… all parties involved should be consulted beforehand when a recording of a meeting is being considered.”

Furthermore, AIIC’s standard contract has language that addresses the issue by stating that the interpretation is provided “…solely for direct and immediate use by the listeners; no recording may be made, either by the listeners or anyone else, without the prior consent of the interpreters concerned.” A path has been created that requires the language professional’s consent in order for recording to take place. Those familiar with the Henrietta Lacks case may better understand the reasoning behind these protections.

A well-assembled ILS Package will ensure your professional language team is well prepared for the event and that your company’s rights and interests – as well as those of your professional language team – are duly protected.

Learn more about how to prepare for your multi-language event at AIIC.

**ASTM F2089-01, Standard Guide for Language Interpretation Services, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2001, astm.org – historical
ASTM F2089-15, Standard Practice for Language Interpreting, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, astm.org – updated
AIIC – Your multilingual event – http://aiic.net/page/6756/your-multilingual-event/lang/1
More than words by Barry Slaughter Olsen, Laura Burian and Miguel Garcia: https://youtu.be/5zTLg-Ax2M4

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