Conference interpreting :
How do I determine the interpretation mode that best fits my needs?
We base our quotes on the number of people taking part in the event, the venue, the duration of the gathering, the languages that will be spoken and how well the audience knows the speaker’s language. When requesting a price quote, please give us as many details as possible to help our customer service agent define the best interpretation mode for you.
How do I know how many interpreters my event will require?
If the event lasts less than two hours, you will only need to hire one interpreter.
When the event requires simultaneous interpretation and will last between two and eight hours, two interpreters can cover the assignment.
When the event requires simultaneous interpretation and will last more that eight hours, you would have to pay overtime or hire a third interpreter.
When the event requires consecutive interpretation—depending on the nature of the event—you may only need one interpreter (if there are long breaks) or more (if interpreters are required to work nonstop), and for this same reason, the rate can be higher.
Which interpretation mode is best for a business meeting?
If only two languages are used in the meeting and one or two participants are not bilingual, whispering would be the most suitable choice. One interpreter can cover the assignment if the meeting lasts up to two hours. More interpreters are needed if the meeting is expected to last several hours.
If two languages are used in the meeting but not all the participants are bilingual, then simultaneous interpretation is the best solution. For small groups (fifteen to twenty people) and in small venues, a body pack or portable, simultaneous equipment can be the best alternative. With larger groups and venues, the booth will most definitely be the wisest choice. If the event lasts less than two hours, one interpreter can cover the assignment. More interpreters will be needed as the duration of the event extends.
We will be holding a multilingual event. Which interpretation mode is the best?
Simultaneous interpretation is, by far, the only interpretation mode that will bring the best results for a multilingual event. You can use as many booths and channels as languages to be spoken. Its configuration may be a little complicated, but our team of experts will be there to guide you.
Which interpretation mode do you recommend for a press conference or an interview with the media?
Consecutive interpretation is the best option because it allows both versions (source and target language) to be heard. The note-taking technique makes the interpreter look professional; the audience (and your customer) will be impressed by it, not to mention the delight of the bilingual participants.
Which interpretation mode do you recommend for a roundtable?
The most important thing to consider is the audio system for the interpreter. Given that different people will be speaking at the same time, in louder and softer voices, without an optimal audio system, the interpreter cannot deliver an outstanding performance. If you require the interpreter to step out of the booth, you should consider a body pack or choose consecutive interpretation for this type of exercise. (Remember that time may double with this interpreting mode.) You would also need to think about the language combination; the use of more than two languages at the same roundtable may complicate the configuration and require a trilingual interpreter and/or two interpreters per roundtable, which will further complicate the configuration and be more expensive.
Which interpretation mode do you recommend for an audit, a visit to an industrial plant or an official visit?
With escort interpreting, an interpreter accompanies a person or a delegation on a tour or visit, or to a meeting or interview. Depending on the nature of the event, the interpreter can use the consecutive or the whispering mode, or alternate both. A body pack or portable interpretation system may be very useful when visiting a plant or for an audit, but then again, it is important to consider the number of participants and the site because the portable system has limitations. If the event lasts less than two hours, one interpreter can cover the assignment. More interpreters will be needed as the duration of the event extends.
Why do I have to share the presentation materials with the interpreter before the event? Our materials are highly sensitive and our company is very strict about our Confidentiality Agreement.
Preparation before each assignment is essential for an interpreter. Therefore, having the materials to do so becomes crucial to the interpreter’s excellent performance. Because two events—even in the same field—will never be identical, the interpreter needs to know the specific topic and get acquainted with the terminology, authors, quotations and jargon. In this sense, the speakers’ presentations are very valuable, as they allow the interpreter to get acquainted with the topic and find out beforehand if there would be any questions s/he should ask the speaker (about an acronym, a specific term, a formula, etc.). This way, the interpreter can have a complete understanding of the speaker’s topic, which will be reflected in her/his performance and, of course, in the success of the event.
Every interpreter abides by an ethics code in which confidentiality is indispensable. Moreover, all of our interpreters have signed a Confidentiality Agreement with which they pledge not to disclose any information from our clients. If you wish to benefit from a higher level of confidentiality, you can share your information in a format that cannot be altered, i.e., a link to a webpage with the presentation, a PDF with a password, a CD (non-rewritable) and/or printed materials that will be returned to you at the end of the event.
How do you select your interpreters?
All of our interpreters have received training in the best conference interpreting schools of Mexico and abroad. They have at least four years of experience. Their outstanding performance and professionalism have earned them the recognition of their peers. We will choose the interpreters with the best knowledge on the topic of your event. It is therefore very important for us to know the specific theme to be addressed.
Can we meet with the interpreters before the event?
We will choose the interpreters that will help you succeed in your event. All of our interpreters have received training in the best conference interpreting schools of Mexico and abroad; they have several years of experience and have earned the recognition of their peers. You should feel confident of their abilities.
If you feel, despite all this information, that you must interview the interpreters before the event, you would have to compensate them with a half-day rate, because, as freelancers, the interpreters would not be able to take up another assignment while meeting with you.
We can of course arrange a telephone, Skype or Google+ interview free of cost at a time that will suit everyone.
Why can’t an interpreter work alone? I have heard of interpreters that do so.
It’s a matter of occupational health. Interpreting is a highly mental activity that requires full concentration and demands a great deal of effort, let alone the amount of stress that this implies. In order to help interpreters maintain the highest level of quality, they should not work more than half an hour alone to allow their brain to rest. For this same reason, if the event is expected to last more than two hours, two or more interpreters will work in teams and will relay each other every thirty minutes. The maximum effort that an interpreter should do per day is three hours, with respective breaks. It is only if the event will last less than two hours that one interpreter can do this job alone.
Interpreters who do not observe this working scheme will be exposed to serious health issues like: burn-out, cumulative fatigue, hyperacusis, kidney or back problems because they are seated for long hours, etc.
Some people are surprised at the interpretation rates. What would you say about it?
Professional interpretation at a major conference usually costs less than just one of the traditional banquets or receptions offered. Don't let yourself be tempted to skimp on the cost of interpretation.
How fast can you translate a document?
It depends on the target language, the type of document, the amount of words and the format.
For each document, a professional translator has to look for information and terminology, a task that could take more or less time depending on the resources available for each language pair and the cultural, technological or informational barriers. The turnaround for an English into Spanish translation of the Friends series will not be the same as the turnaround for a German into Swahili translation of an article on the latest research on breast cancer.
The amount of words is also key. Translating betwen 2500 to 3000 words per day is a reasonable pace that ensures a translation of quality, but the pace will depend on the topic. If the text is very complex, the turnaround will be longer. A text can be difficult because the wording isn't clear or because the subject is very technical. Also, when customers need a substantial amount of words to be translated in the fastest turnaround possible, the only way to respond to this needs is having a team of translators working on the same document and assigning revisors to unify the style.
The format of the text will also determine the turnaround, it will be longer if there are tables, graphs and figures that accompany the text. The less the translator has to edit such objects, the faster the turnaroud. We advise you to hand in documents that can be edited, so that the translator only has to type int his/her translation. This will also reduce the cost of bringing in a designer or DTP team to work on logos and graphs that can't be localized without graphic design tools.
If you want to have an estimate of the turnaround for your document, consider the average of 2500 to 3000 words per day. When requesting a quote, please give the total amount of words and a sample of the text to be translated.
Why do some documents take longer to translate than others, even when there are less words in it?
Don't be surprised if you send in a document containing 5000 words and you get the translation faster than a much shorter document. The explanation is simple: the text was longer but uncomplicated. The more the translator has to deal with objects, terminology, accronyms, highly technical content, the longer the turnaround will be, even for documents of a couple of thousands of words.
But just about any person that can speak a foreign language can translate, right?
This is a myth, and maybe this was the case some hundred of years ago in the advent of the profession. Today, there are Bachelor's degree programs that prepare students to this highly skilled occupation. Being fluent and knowing the grammar of a foreign language do not suffice. Deep understanding of the syntax, semantics, spelling, grammar, semiotics, style, uses and functions of language is need in order to convey a message from a source language into a target language. Knowledge of the field is also necessary. But then task doesn't end there, the translation hastto go through a series of filters -sucha as proofreading, editing, copy editing- and the final reading. A document that did not go trhough these different steps cannot be called a translation.
What about Google Translate?
Machine translation seems like a great tool, but it isn't, at least not yet. Google Translate relies on a memory that has not been revised and for which no context is provided. Knowing that one word has very different meanings and senses, context is paramount for an accurate translation. The problem with machine translation is that anyone using this tool can feed this memory without specifying the context and without any stylistic rigourosity. Quite often the resulting text lacks clarity, presents punctuation errors and has a style that does not reflect our use of the language. Google can be useful to read simple content but it would be perilous to use it for a more formal setting. Going to a specialist for the treatement and cure of a disease and looking up a remedy on the net are two very different things, the same comparision can be made between a translator and machine translation.
Can translators work with just about any topic?
A translator cannot translate a topic for which he/she doesn't have full command. It is impossible to cover all the topics, and just like in any other profession, the translator must pick a specialty field. There lies the importance of hiring a professional. A technical translator (say automitve industry) should not accept to translate Romeo and Juliet if he/she does not know how to produce a text with a rhythm and style other than a handbook for Toyota. If you want to learn more about the different types of texts we can translate click here.