We always ask you to consider the following:
a) Always be clear about why you are hiring an interpreter. Will they serve any purpose beyond straight language translation? You may need someone with a particular knowledge of an industry sector or you may need someone with negotiation skills.
b) Always give us sufficient background information on the situation the interpreter will find themselves in. What outcomes do you expect? Are there any potential issues or problems such as difficult personalities or sensitive issues?
CHECKLIST FOR CONFERENCE ORGANISERS
You have recruited professional conference interpreters to provide a high-quality service during your conference. Here are some guidelines to help them do a better job for you.
• Speakers: Please give each speaker a copy of the "Guidelines for Speakers" which your consultant interpreter will be happy to provide.
• Documentation: Interpreters have a wide range of knowledge but cannot be experts in all subjects. In order to familiarize themselves with the topic of your conference, please make sure they receive the conference papers in all languages as early as possible. They will study these documents and prepare their own glossaries. This will help them gain a better idea of the subject under discussion and understand your speakers better, especially those who have difficult accents or speak very fast.
• History: Apart from the agenda and written speeches, please send the interpreters minutes of previous meetings on the same subject, background information on the organization or association, curricula vitae for key speakers, the names of officers of the organization and speakers. Interpreters should receive the same documents sent to the delegates.
• Papers: When papers are circulated during the meeting, in particular texts for discussion, please ensure the interpreters obtain a copy before they are discussed. Each booth should receive at least one copy of such papers, if possible in all conference languages.
• Briefing: If the conference is very technical, it is advisable to organize a briefing between the interpreters and the speakers. Interpreters will thus be able to ask questions on terminology and procedure.
• Liaison: For smooth coordination it is advisable for you to appoint one person who will be responsible for the liaison with the interpreters through their team leader. The payment of the daily subsistence allowance, stipulated in the contract, should be handled by these two persons in the course of the meeting.
• Team: Conference interpreting is team work and it would therefore be advisable to introduce the interpreters to your staff and to the technician before the meeting.
• Technical Equipment: Ensure the equipment supplier is providing the number of booths and channels required for your meeting, that the equipment is reliable and that there are enough receivers for all the delegates. Before the meeting opens, ask the consultant interpreter, or the team leader, and chief technician to check that the equipment is working properly.
• Projection: If films, slides or transparencies are to be shown and require interpretation, please ensure that the screen is clearly visible from the booths and that the interpreters have received a script or a copy of the texts to be projected in advance.
• Interpreters' room: If possible, make available an office or an area where the interpreters can collect documents, study conference papers when they are not working in the booth and where messages can be left for them.
GUIDELINES FOR SPEAKERS
The organizers of this conference are providing English-Russian and Russian-English interpretation. The interpreters are your allies in conveying your message to the audience. You can help them by following these simple guidelines.
• If you have a written text or notes for your speech, whether or not you intend following them closely, please hand them to the conference secretariat for distribution to the interpreters. Interpreters do not simply rely on words, they interpret the meaning and should therefore familiarize themselves with your subject and terminology. You are free to depart from your text or add to it as you go along. Our interpreters are bound by professional secrecy, and the content of your document will remain confidential at all times and will be returned to you on request.
• If your paper is technical, please give the interpreters any terminology you may have or any background papers on the same subject in other languages. You may also ask the conference secretariat to organize a briefing with the interpreters. Meeting the speakers would be useful in order to clarify specific points which will help improve performance.
• If you wish to show a film, slides or transparencies, please make sure that the interpreters receive the script or a copy of the transparencies. The booths are often situated far away from the screen and it would be helpful if the interpreters had copies of the projected text in front of them.
• When reading from a script one tends to speed up which means that the audience will find it difficult to follow and, as a result, parts of your message will be lost. If you have not spoken at meetings with interpretation before, it may be advisable to pace your delivery beforehand. Ideally you should allow 3 minutes per page of 40 lines.
• Before you speak, please make sure your microphone is switched on. Knocking the microphone or blowing into it as a test will merely be amplified in the interpreters'' headphones and cause an unpleasant noise. To test the microphone just say a few words like "Good afternoon" or "Thank you Mr. Chairman".
• Please do not speak too close to the microphone as this creates interference and avoid leaving your receiver set close to the microphone when you speak to prevent feed-back whistling. The technician will be able to advise you on this.
• If you need to move away from your seat, i.e. to point at a slide or transparency projection, please use a neck or lapel microphone. Without a microphone the interpreters cannot hear you, however loud you speak.
• If you are speaking from the rostrum or a lectern and want to reply to questions from the floor, please make sure you have a receiver set with you to follow the questions as they are interpreted.