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  • Writer's pictureStefania The Interpreter

Exploring the Benefits of Hiring a Professional Interpreter

Updated: Oct 13, 2019

(Hint: It’s Worth It)

Think of images from important international conferences, or of government bodies in heated debates; you will have likely noticed the fast talking, half-headphone wearing folks seated in back rooms, packed full of high-tech kit. Yes, the interpreters. While one would expect to find professional interpreters in such high-stakes environments, these masters of communication stand to benefit a host of engagements, functions, or business engagements.

It is a common practice in many businesses to lean on staff who happen to know more than one language: “Hey, can you come here and talk to these people, please.” While this may be sufficient in answering a simple question like: “Where is the snack machine?” or “Do you have change for this?”, what it is not sufficient for, however, is serious business. When you need to negotiate a deal, or reach clients, or market effectively, or educate, communicate with, and direct clients or partners in a professional manner, then you need a professional interpreter. Don’t risk mistakes or miscommunication; go for the professional.

If your car needs an oil change, or a new belt, calling up your cousin may be an appropriate and low risk way to save a few bucks. If your car needs a new set of main bearings, or a new head gasket, you call a professional, because you know it is worth the extra investment for a person who is qualified and experienced, and who won’t waste your time or destroy something which you value greatly. An interpreter is like a mechanic who, in this case, can not only complete difficult tasks for you, the first time, but can also ‘soup-up’ your ride to get you more horse-power – some serious ‘bang’ for your ‘buck’.

The idea that any translation is better than no translation is flawed, as a poor or incomplete translation can actually be worse than no translation at all. This is like saying that bad directions are better than no directions; if you’re lost, does it help you to go further still down the wrong path? If people are moved to act by information that is inaccurate, or incomplete, it can have negative or even serious implications for a business relationship, reputation, event outcome, or profits (you know, if that sort of thing is important!). Interpreters are more than just language specialists, they are communicators which function as professional consultants that can provide great assistance to you in your work, and critically, owing to their strong command of both language and culture, are able to free you up to focus entirely on the decision making or matters which are at the heart of the discussion.

Are you willing to risk the success of your business or event on the skills of a non-professional in order to save a small amount of money? Would you do this for accounting? For marketing? For security? Don’t risk this critical and fundamental component to success – effective communication – by putting it into the hands of someone who is not qualified to handle it. Hire the professional who, like you, takes their work very seriously, and who has staked their livelihood on this ethic.

In addition to closing language gaps, and bringing people together who may otherwise be unable to communicate effectively, the interpreter is able to:

  • Free you from the limits of what you are able to say in another language, and empower you to say what you want to say.

  • Ensure that the information you receive is complete and reflects exactly what it is meant to.

  • Accurately translate the entirety of what has been said without miscommunication or misunderstanding.

  • Mediate conversations, meetings, conferences, phone calls, or any other medium of communication.

  • Avoid potential cultural offenses, taboos, or accidental disrespect.

  • Utilize industry specific terminology, nuance, slang, or acronyms.

  • Maintain professionalism, confidentiality, and trust.

  • Protect and project the professional image of your business or organization; the presence of the interpreter demonstrates your commitment to calling on the very best to ensure success.

Hiring a professional interpreter offers a wide range of practical benefits to any organization. In many domains, such as electrical, computer, or financial works, one would not compromise in hiring less than an experienced professional; this is true for communication as well. Don’t put your hard work, your time, or your financial investments at risk: hire a professional interpret. You won’t regret it.

What's your experience working with an interpreter? Leave me a comment! 👇

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