7 Tips for Working with an Interpreter

1. BRIEF THE INTERPRETER – Identify the name of your organization to the interpreter, provide specific instructions of what needs to be done or obtained.

2. SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE CUSTOMER – You and your customer can communicate directly with each other as if the interpreter were not there. The interpreter will relay the information and then communicate the customer’s response directly back to you.

3. SPEAK NATURALLY, NOT LOUDER – Speak at your normal pace, not slower. SEGMENTS – Speak in one sentence or two short ones at a time. Try to avoid breaking up a thought. Your interpreter is trying to understand the meaning of what you’re saying, so express the whole thought if possible. Interpreters will ask you to slow down or repeat if necessary. You should pause to make sure you give the interpreter time to deliver your message.

4.ƒ CLARIFICATIONS – If something is unclear, or if the interpreter is given a long statement, the interpreter will ask you for a complete or partial repetition of what was said, or clarify what the statement meant.

5. DO NOT ASK FOR THE INTERPRETER OPINION – The interpreter’s job is to convey the meaning of the source language and under no circumstances may he or she allow personal opinion to color the interpretation. Also, do not hold the interpreter responsible for what the  not say.

6. READING SCRIPTS – People often talk more quickly when reading a script. When you are reading a script, prepared text, or a disclosure, slow down to give the interpreter a chance to stay up with you.

7. CULTURE – Professional interpreters are familiar with the culture and customs. During the conversation, the interpreter may identify and clarify a cultural issue they may not think you are aware of. If the interpreter feels that a particular question is culturally inappropriate, he or she might ask you to either rephraseto help you in getting the information in a more appropriate way.