Selecting the best interpreting company is not a simple and straightforward process. You can’t just fire a Google search and choose one from the top results. It’s a critical process that requires meticulous vetting and adequate knowledge in how interpreting works. If you are thinking of getting interpreting services for whatever purpose, consider the following tips and recommendations.
1. What You Need
As mentioned, it’s unlikely for you to find the best option if you couldn’t ascertain what you need. Before you proceed to doing a search and shortlisting interpreting companies, examine subject matter and the other technical details first. Ask the following questions:
- What kind of interpreting do you need? Is it a simultaneous or consecutive interpreter? Do you need on-site interpretation or telephone interpretation? Or does is video remote interpretation service a more appropriate solution to use? These are the things you need to take into account so you can inquire about the specialization and experience of the companies you are considering. Some companies don’t always have the expertise and relevant experience in both types of interpreting.
- What is the nature and subject of the interpreting job? If you need interpreting for a technical conference, interview, or meeting, it only makes sense that you hire someone with suitable experience and proficiency. This would be an important detail to take into account as you examine your options.
- What language pair(s) is (are) required? Obviously, you have to be mindful of the languages that will be used. Don’t expect language service providers to be proficient in all languages. Also, bear in mind that being able to provide interpreting services for certain languages does not equate to competence. Carefully evaluate the ability and relevant language experiences of the companies you are thinking of hiring.
It’s imperative to clarify the technical aspects of the interpreting task. You may also want to coordinate with the other parties you will be dealing with. They may have demands for the interpreter to be used during the conversation, negotiation, discussions, or conference.
2. Terms and Conditions of the Service
Dealing with an interpreting service company means dealing with a business. As such, you have to be unambiguous with the terms. You can’t just treat the interpreter sent to you like a slave or some casual assistant. You have your expectations, and the service provider has parameters on what they are supposed to do. You can’t make them work overtime unless the contract specifically states so. If you need an interpreter to work for flexible hours, it has to be clearly indicated in the service agreement.
Being particular with the service contract terms is not only for the sake of the interpreting service provider. It also serves as a protection or guarantee for the client. It defines what the client can demand from the interpreter, so if the latter fails to do what they are obliged to perform, the client can sue for breach of contract and ask for the corresponding damages.
Moreover, the pecuniary details of the service must always be clearly indicated. Whether it’s for an hourly rate or a package deal paid in lump sum, everything should be agreed upon in writing. Overtime work pay and the pre-termination fee for the service should likewise be stated.
The absence of clear and written terms for a service can easily lead to issues, which can aggravate into major problems. Professional interpreters may be adept with the usual flow of an interpreting job, but there are many instances when the process does not follow some form of typicality. Clients may expect the interpreter to use a particular tone, pace, verbiage, or even the infusion of an accent to match a speaker’s. All of which must be stipulated in the contract.
3. Equipment and Software
Interpreting does not always mean having interpreters stand or sit between two parties to interpret what each of them is saying. There may be instances when special equipment and accessories are needed. Interpreters who work in the United Nations, for example, are supplied with microphone and earphone sets so they can clearly listen to the source audio and have their voices transmitted to the appropriate receiving parties. For conferences, some of the participants may be supplied with portable systems also known as the “whisper” system, so they can instantly hear the audio output of the simultaneous interpreter. To connect the interpreters’ microphones to the speakers or headphones used by the intended audiences, wireless receivers are often used.
Obviously, it’s difficult to have everything wired. Connecting earphones or headsets with wires to the multitude of delegates in a conference is just impractical. A wireless system is the no-brainer option, and something interpreting service companies that serve big events should be familiar with.
Reputable interpreters have their own equipment and should be able to set them up in the optimum arrangement for the benefit of all parties. They should also be doing audio tests before the actual interpreting job. Equipment failure and inadequacies are simply unacceptable. Businesses
In some cases, an interpreting software or some applicable voice conferencing software may be required. These software are for doing interpreting over a conference call, wherein the interpreter serves as the third party who provides verbal translations for the other two in the line. The interpreting software could be a mobile app just like Day Interpreting, which conveniently connects people to proficient interpreters whenever, wherever.
4. Experience or Training?
Which is more important: the training of an interpreter or the experience? Arguably, neither should be regarded as more important than the other. When hiring an interpreter, both should always be taken into account. An experienced but inadequately trained interpreter does not cut it, just like how a well-trained but inexperienced interpreter is similarly less than enough.
Paying for the services of an interpreting company should come with the assurance that the interpreter knows what needs to be done and works within the terms and conditions of the service contract. Training makes interpreters fully acquainted with the processes and requirements of most clients. Experience, on the other hand, allows them to adjust with the needs and preferences of a client and more importantly, to be adaptable to the nuances of conversations or speeches that need to be verbally translated. Both are highly important and neither cannot be relegated to a lower priority when scrutinizing an interpreting service provider.
So how do you evaluate an interpreter? It’s important that you examine their credentials and list of previous clients. These will help you determine their level of professionalism and (some aspect of) the quality of their work. However, you need more than these to find the right interpreting service company to hire.
As much as possible, you need to do an interview or personal interaction with the interpreter who will be assigned to you. You can ask them to do a demonstration to assess the following:
- The clarity of the interpreter’s voice. Not everyone is gifted with the fluency and vocal clarity that almost everyone easily connects to. The interpreter who will be working with you may be highly intelligent and extensively experienced, but their voice may not be that easy to understand maybe because of their natural accent or their less-than-pleasant adopted foreign accent. Or their voice might just not be to your preference.
- Pace of speaking. An interpreter should not speak too fast that they become difficult to comprehend, but they shouldn’t also be uttering their words too slowly that they become prone to not keeping up with the speakers they are supposed to interpret.
- Proficiency in interpreting complex messages with optimum brevity. Competent interpreters know how to convey messages with the least amount of words possible without compromising the message and disregarding the context. If an interpreter struggles to verbally translate lengthy messages that could actually be translated with fewer words, you need to look for other options. Experienced professional interpreters don’t interpret as they hear words. Instead, they try to listen to the full message first or anticipate what the speaker will say before they interpret.
- Presentability of the interpreter. In some cases, presentability matters. This is not about the physical face, skin color, or other physical attributes of the interpreter. This is about showing a professional appearance and avoiding excessive gestures and unnecessary movements.
6. When to Book the Service
Interpreting is different from written translations. It does not provide the interpreter the luxury of time to come up with the most contextually accurate translations, carefully decide on the choice of words, and adjust the resulting translations for possible improvements. An interpreter must be quick to generate verbal translations particularly when doing simultaneous interpreting.
Don’t expect simultaneous interpreters to be superhumans, though. Even the best interpreters rarely produce the best interpretations all of the time. Generating precise interpretations is a difficult task, and interpreters could use some time to prepare, especially for important functions such as big events for government agencies and international organizations. That’s why if you want to book an interpreter, don’t do it at the last minute. This is one of the mistakes often committed by those who request for interpreter services.
Interpreters for courtrooms, medical conferences, or scientific events, for example, need some time to be familiar with the jargon and facts that will be discussed on the event. You might be able to find interpreters who can do it at a moment’s notice, but don’t expect them to deliver the best results.
Don’t be hasty with your choice of an interpreter. Take the time to examine your options and consider the pointers briefly discussed above. This does not mean you have to disregard services that quickly connect you to interpreters. These services are also useful but are generally not applicable for functions wherein interpreters must be given ample time to prepare.
Make Sure Your Interpreting Service Provider is Topnotch
We can confidently Day Translations, Inc. embodies all of the attributes of a dependable and reputable interpreting service company. We have been providing high-quality services to thousands of satisfied clients for several years. Our global network of interpreters are always ready to provide the service you need whenever and wherever you may be.
For all your interpreting needs, don’t hesitate to contact us via telephone at 1-800-969-6853. You may also drop us an email at Contact us. Our services are available 24 days a week all year round.