You wouldn’t go to trial without a lawyer, right? Why would you go to a meeting overseas without an interpreter?
There are a million different ways for a business meeting to fail, but a pretty good chunk of them can be traced to some form of miscommunication.
When doing business in another country, in another language, the risk of miscommunication increases exponentially. Hiring a professional conference interpreter is the best way to ensure that your message — and your business — arenot lost in translation.
Get it right — the language and the ideas.
Big ideas are important, and not always simple. There can be a lot of nuance and sensitivity in a single sentence, not to mention a full presentation. Details are also important — the specific whos, whats, wheres, whens, and the ever-critical how much. If these ideas and details aren’t being communicated properly, what’s the point of having the meeting in the first place?
Conference interpreters specialize in ferrying complex ideas and minute details across the language barrier as accurately, efficiently, and eloquently as possible. This means a lot more than just listening to a bunch of words in one language and finding the corresponding words in another — it means a genuine comprehension of concept, structure, nuance, and semantics, followed by a complete deconstruction and reconfiguration of all those same elements using an entirely different set of linguistic tools. It’s tricky business — that’s why you want to work with a pro.
Many multinational companies have bilingual staff; it can be tempting to just pull one of the local associates into a meeting and have them interpret for the boss. After all, they speak both languages and know all about the company, right?
While that might be true, how do these other ideas sound?
“We don’t need lawyers to review this contract. Everyone on our staff can read.”
“Our analysts crunch numbers all day — we’ll just let them do our taxes!”
Maybe not such a great idea, huh?
Companies hire professionals for a good reason — they possess skill sets that go above and beyond a basic aptitude. Just like lawyers and accountants, conference interpreters are professionals; they are properly trained, certified, and have the confidence to deliver a mission-critical service when doing business with foreign partners.
Don’t forget that by conscripting your junior analyst to work as an interpreter, you’re also depriving yourself of an analyst. Your staff has their own sets of expertise and responsibilities in your organization — being whisked off to do ad-hoc interpreting (that they aren’t properly trained for) can be an uncomfortable and unproductive burden for them.
Context and Security
It’s true that many business discussions involve context that a freelance interpreter might not be familiar with — internal references and abbreviations, the names of individuals or institutions involved, technical terminology, etc.
Fortunately, professional interpreters always come prepared. They’ll start with background research into your industry and its jargon. If you have any presentation materials for the meeting, it’s a good idea to share it with your interpreter in advance so they can review them and ask questions if necessary. If possible, spending 15–30 minutes with your interpreter either on the phone or in person beforehand is usually enough to make sure everyone is on the same page.
And don’t worry — professional ethics (and the non-disclosure clause of any standard contract) ensure that anything you discuss in front of your interpreter will be treated as strictly confidential.
An Interpreter is an Extension of Your Brand
Your interpreter is literally speaking on your behalf — a competent and professional interpreter helps to project your own confidence and trustworthiness to your partners across the table. This is especially important if you have senior executives attending the meeting — they deserve to be represented with as much eloquence and professionalism in a foreign language as they command naturally in their own. An untrained interpreter lacking proper industry knowledge can reflect the opposite – lack of preparedness as well as insincere and inarticulate expression of message. Make sure your brand and company image are in the hands of a seasoned professional you can trust.
At Cadence Translate, we only hire professionally trained and properly vetted conference interpreters.
We're always looking for talented linguists to join our ranks. If you're a professionally-trained translator or interpreter with work experience in financial or consulting fields, we'd love to get in touch.