Imagine a business situation: you are supposed to engage in a video conference with your potential business partner who happens to be in Germany, and he does not speak English. Before the conference, you decide to hire a whispered interpreter to sit beside you and provide the necessary assistance and guidance.
You ask friends or associates about any language interpreter they know, and you quickly hire the first one that calls you back. The meeting is set. Everything seems ready. However, as the appointed time of the video conference approaches, and as you review all the related documents regarding the impending business partnership, you realize one slightly disturbing fact: everything that you can know about this video conference with your German business partner depends solely on the proficiency of the interpreter you have hired.
If he botches up the translation—as consecutive interpreters in the Miss Universe beauty pageant sometimes do—your deal would fall apart. All those months of negotiation and painstaking (and expensive) efforts just so you can reach this point are now resting on the fragile shoulders of your interpreter.
This scenario is typical, especially among those businessmen who hire whispered interpreters for the first time. If they are lucky, they might have had hired the best person to do the job without realizing it. However, if they are less than lucky, then bitter lesson learned.
Whispered interpreting services have their particular role in business. Sure, consecutive and simultaneous interpreters are also often used in business conferences and meetings, but there are many small business meetings in which such forms of interpreting services would be out of place or incompatible.
Whispered interpreting services are best suited for small but still important business meetings where participants speak different languages. And often, despite the meeting’s size, the import of what is being discussed could have immediate and significant repercussions—it can make or break a deal.
As a client, it is also your responsibility to make sure that the job of the whispered interpreting professional would not be harder than it already is. For instance, consider the site where the meeting is scheduled to take place: you should make sure that the site is secured as much as possible, with the noise level minimal.
A site where there is significant sound coming from neighboring sources would distract the interpreter and might cause them to perform poorly, whereas you as the client might find it difficult to hear the interpreter’s words. Moreover, you should meticulously discuss with your interpreter any concerns prior to the meeting.
You should be frank about matters such as your ability to hear spoken words clearly (there are people with a certain hearing impairment who are not even aware of it), or any other personal considerations. If possible, perform a “test run”: rehearse or have the interpreter do a sample performance in order to gauge their voice and what level of loudness you find acceptable.
That is why it is of paramount importance to make sure that the whispered interpreter you will hire is no less than the best in their field—consider the interpreting service as one of your vital investments toward achieving your business goals.
Charlene Lacandazo is a member of the marketing team for Rosetta Translation, a leading, full service translation company in London, UK.
Rosetta Translation provides high quality translation services as well as interpreting services, including whispered interpreting to business professionals.
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