Organizing Interpreting Teams

How do I organize interpreting teams for my next conference?

See also "Speakers"

Important information for the conference organizer:

  • Be sure to book interpreters and technicians well in advance: we also have our high season.
  • On your invitation to participants, be sure to indicate that professional conference interpreters will beproviding simultaneous interpretation into various languages. 
    Prepare an overhead transparency for the day of the conference with approximately the following text: 
Your interpreters Ihre Dolmetscher Vos interprètes
E = channel x D = Kanal y F = canal z

and project this while the participants enter and find their seats.

  • Print out scripts of speakers with double-line spacing: interpreters need space to add vocabulary and other pointers!
  • Provide conference papers (an outline is often sufficient), annual reports, slides - but DO NOT SEND PowerPoint presentations or other large files by e-mail! Please send each interpreter printouts in black and white on paper by regular post, product lists, list of abbreviations used in the company etc. in all available languages for the preparation and orientation of the interpreters. If biographies/résumés of speakers are going to be read out, please add these too to our preparation documents.
  • Always inform conference speakers that you are working with interpreters. Point out to speakers that if they read out papers at top speed, then their listeners will go back home having grasped little or nothing!
  • Always ask all speakers what language they intend to speak (not always their mother tongue) so that we can take this aspect into account for the language split within the team of interpreters.
  • Please provide comfortable chairs in the interpreter booths: 6 hours on a bar stool or plastic chair do not really help us give our best.
  • Badges: please remember to also prepare a badge for your conference interpreters, with their name and “ Conference interpreter” below. More than once, after a break, re-accessing the venue was refused to us because we could not be identified as such. Thank you!

FINAL TIP: if you require interpreting services, always make sure that the intermediary (or agency) does not offer interpreters with three mother tongues or one person who will interpret for 3 hours alone (generally substandard and overpriced). Professional training takes 4-5 years, and professionals will only work simultaneously into a foreign language in exceptional cases! There is a grey market, of course, but there are also professionals. The latter are the ones who will always give you good value for your money, as well as the discretion customary to the profession.