Working with Interpreters

These simple guidelines will assist you to fully utilise our interpreting service and avoid any misunderstandings:

  • Introduce yourself and brief the interpreter and the client, explaining the purpose of the interview and that the information will be kept confidential. If you have handouts give them to your interpreter as soon as they are ready. Remember that your interpreter is probably not an expert in your field.
  • Always speak in the first person directly to the client (as you would with English speaking person), face to face, try to keep eye contact with your client and not the interpreter.
  • Pause at regular intervals to allow time for the information to be interpreted. This usually means one sentence or two short ones. Express the whole thought if possible.
  • Try to avoid idioms, colloquialisms, jargon and jokes, as they may not have an equivalent in another language.
  • Please remember that the role of the interpreter is to interpret only, not to advise or advocate.
  • Interpreting requires intense concentration and focus. It is stressful and tiring. This is why interpreters usually work 30-minute shifts and then take a break.
  • Try to avoid private discussions between you and the interpreter; seek interpretation if any occurs between your client and the interpreter.
  • We can also act as multicultural consultants, but it is usually very difficult to combine the two roles in one session.
  • Be prepared that to achieve desired outcome the session will be almost twice as long as with an English speaking person.