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What type of interpreter do I need?

An interpreter can unlock many doors for you, and enable you to do business overseas as smoothly and effectively as if you knew the language yourself. There are many different types of interpreter, so you should be mindful when choosing one. The two main types of interpretation however are:
Liaison interpreting – The interpreter acts as a translator between two or more people who speak different languages. This kind of interpreting service is usually used for business meetings and other small events. It may also be of use to business managers and private individuals who are visiting an overseas country. As well as providing literal translations, liaison interpreters can also help communicate the subtler nuances of the conversation.
Simultaneous interpreting – This type of interpreting service is usually found at conferences and other large events. One or more interpreters will instantly translate speeches or media feeds as they take place into the languages of those delegates who require it. This is usually done via a headset and microphone arrangement.
While some interpreters may offer both types of interpretation, others may specialise in one or the other.

An sector-specific interpreter

If your meeting or event is relatively simple and straightforward then an interpreter who is a generalist may be a suitable choice to meet your needs. If however you are part of a technical or scientific sector with a large number of unique terminologies and concepts then it is highly recommended that you seek an interpreter with direct experience of your industry.
Some sector-specific interpreters may be actively involved in the industry at present, and will carry out interpreting as a sideline. Others have spent decades in the industry before using their language skills to move into full-time professional translation.

Independent interpreters Vs translation agencies

There are interpreters out there who offer their services independently to UK businesses. While using the services of such an individual can mean that you know exactly who you’re dealing with, if your needs and requirements change further down the line they may not be able to accommodate these. Additionally, an independent interpreter can only do so much work, and will inevitably be unable at certain times.

If you require regular interpreting services at short notice, enlisting a translation agency to work on your behalf may be a more suitable option. Translation agencies will have many interpreters on their books, either on a freelance or full-time employed basis. This means that as well as being able to provide interpreting services to your company whenever it is needed, they can also match your specific needs from moment to moment, and provide multiple language interpretation.

The type of interpreter you need will depend largely on your industry, and the type of event you are attending. Hopefully the above information will assist you in your choice and enable you to make an informed decision.

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