Speakers usually go talk to the interpreters a few minutes before the event, either to give a copy of the presentation or speech and frequently ask what they should pay attention to taking into account they are going to be interpreted. They usually promise they will speak slowly and will “keep an eye” on the booth so the interpreters can signal if they should slow down. But actually two minutes into the talk they are already hurrying. That’s not bad. What’s important for the speaker, and especially for the audience, is that the message is conveyed as naturally and nicely as possible. However, to help the interpreters do a good job conveying that message there are some important things to remember: The interpreters are there to make the event happen as if everybody spoke the same language, and do it in a way participants almost do not notice it. Therefore we have some suggestions that can contribute to reaching this goal:
- Speak in your native language, if possible. This way there is no need to concentrate on vocabulary or structures and you will be able to focus on the content.
- Speak naturally, at a reasonable pace. We are aware of time constraints, but it is important to consider if the core of the message is being conveyed.
- Speaking is better than reading. The speed of reading is naturally higher than that of free speech, and the structures are more complicated.
- Take off you headset and turn off the receptor. If your translation headset is on you will still listen to the interpreters and it is very confusing. This also interferes in the interpreters audio input.
- If you are going to read your speech, give a copy to the interpreters.
- Pronounce names, numbers and acronyms as clearly as possible.
- Do not shift languages during your speech. Even when there is translation between the languages you are speaking. This demands time for channel change where content can be lost. Always speak in the same language. Of course, the initial greeting in the local language is always welcome.
Have a nice event!