Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

How to Overcome Nervousness When Interpreting One-on-one

How to Overcome Nervousness When Interpreting One-on-one
on July, 30 2014
Image credit: FL Guests speaking with interpreter taken by vastateparksstaff under Public Domain.

Image credit: FL Guests speaking with interpreter taken by vastateparksstaff under Public Domain.

Interpreting is not an easy task and nervousness can creep in, but there are ways to overcome your it while interpreting one-on-one so that you can go through the job. Even seasoned public speakers will tell you that they get nervous before going on stage, despite the fact that they will be talking to people that speak the same language. Just imagine how much more difficult it is to speak in another language. Even if you are well prepared, your nerves might get the better of you. Here are some tips on how you can possibly let go of your nervousness when interpreting one-on-one:

  • Know whom you will be interpreting for. If this is a special person, take a look at his or her personal information and background. This will give you an insight on what the interests are or what kind of personality the person has. It will also impress them especially if you took some time to research more about them. It will help you feel relaxed as you have already learned about the person you are to interpret for prior to your first day of working.
  • Don’t try to hurry things up when interpreting. Just sound natural. Talk to the person as if you are conversing with a friend. Also, do not try to sound impressive as it will look unnatural. Deliver everything in a friendly manner and in a way that will make the atmosphere lighter. If you are uncertain of what to say, take time to pause and think rather than provide a fast, but inaccurate answer.
  • Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes. The most important thing is for you to correct your mistakes and have the courage to apologize when you have interpreted something incorrectly. Just make sure not to commit these mistakes often. Repeating the same mistakes frequently will surely hurt your reputation.
  • If you are interpreting for someone who is traveling, make sure that you know the places you will be visiting. If you are interpreting for an event, then read in advance about the said event. Having more knowledge on what the event will be like will give you an advantage. You will be more confident to have the correct facts to give to your client.
  • Always prepare your online translation tool. Use this just in case you really don’t know the right term to use. However, try to minimize using the tool as much as possible. Also, do not be obvious that you are using this translation tool as your client might think that it would have been better to just use the tool instead of hiring an interpreter.
  • Just enjoy the moment. Do not think as if you are working. Think of it as accompanying a friend. Feel good about the situation and also learn from the entire experience. Meet new people during the event or trip and possibly find other clients in the future.

Being well-prepared before the event is one way to let go of your nerves as you interpret. Take the time for research, practice the techniques and learn from others. It is all right to be nervous at the initial stage of the interpretation, but make sure that you will create an atmosphere where you and your client will be comfortable that the interpretation will seem like a regular conversation.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

Join our weekly newsletter for articles, news and ideas

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!