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Tips for Buyers of Interpretations

Faced with a bewildering freelance market of interpreters, the task of choosing an interpreter and organising an event where interpretation is required might appear daunting. A couple of tips for buyers of interpretation services are presented here to help with this task.

Finding a interpreter
    Consult websites of professional interpreters organisations (i.e. CIoL, SFÖ, ADÜ Nord, AIIC, STF, VKD)
    Check out your regional Chamber of Commerce or equivalent organisation
    Ask the potential interpreter for a list of his/her customers and/or interpreting colleagues, and contact them for a reference

Defining the assignment

   Negotiate a contract about the
    Occasion/subject(s) to be interpreted
    Duration of requested interpretation
    Type(s) of interpretation required
    Arrangements for accommodation, travel, parking, board, entry tickets etc.
    Interpreting team
    Payment terms
    Requirements (interpreting equipment, specific terminology etc.)
    Advance supply of information about the subject to be interpreted
    Copyright issues
    Provisions for cancellation, force majeure and/or dispute

Tips for speakers

    Ideally, speak in your mother tongue and freely
    Try to supply the interpreters in advance with as much material about the subject of your talk as possible
    Provide necessary information about acronyms, abbreviations, technical terms
    Speak naturally
    Pronounce figures, names and acronyms clearly
    Speak into the microphone
    Avoid jokes that are too culturally specific
    Note that play on words, quotes and sayings are often difficult to interpret
    In discussions, try not to speak simultaneously with another delegate

Tips for organisers

    Ensure well in advance that the interpreting equipment works
    Appoint a person for checking the interpreting equipment during the meeting/conference
    Contact your interpreter team as much in advance as possible
    State clearly to your delegates which languages are spoken and interpreted into
    Avoid interpreting over a third language (relay interpreting)
    Supply interpreters with a clear agenda (i.e. talk, discussion, vote)
    Provide the interpreters with well-marked copies of all documents and audiovisual aids to be discussed


    You are invited to communicate your positive and negative impressions for future improvements
    Payment within the contract terms is appreciated

Further information for buyers of interpretation services is available under:

 European Commission, Directorate General for Interpretation
  in English:
  in German:
  in Swedish:

  in English: Choosing the right provider of interpretation services:
  Checklist for conference organisers:
  Checklist for hiring simultaneous interpretation equipment:
Guidelines for speakers:

 Nordens Språkråd:
  in Norwegian:

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