Dos and Don’ts of Working with an Interpreting Agency

Interpreting Agency
Interpreting Agency

When you’re about to work with an interpreting agency for the first time. You need to do some work on your end to ensure you’re properly prepared. While any good interpreting agency will guide you through the process and address concerns that you might have. There are still certain expectations towards you in this partnership. Here’s how you can make the process as smooth as possible.

Do: Provide Detailed Briefs About Your Operations – Interpreting Agency

Part of what defines a good interpreting agency is the ability to integrate into your company’s workflow and operations. This means that the agency will need some detailed briefs about your current established processes. Not just about aspects that directly concern interpreters either – it’s a good idea to provide as much context as possible if you believe it’s relevant.

Do: Meet with Interpreters Ahead of Time to Sort Out Specific Details

If a meeting would require specific details to be addressed. You should take the time to meet with your interpreters in advance to ensure that you’re on the same page. This is an extension to the above tip – basically. You should avoid situations where your interpreters might walk into a meeting without proper context about the situation.

Do: Ensure Your Interpreters Know How to Maintain Privacy and Confidentiality

Before picking any interpreting agency to work with. You should ensure that the people you’re going to work with are aware of the implications of confidentiality and privacy in their work. This is not always relevant – it’s possible that you might be engaged in work that has no such requirements.

But if you work with patients, legal clients, or are involved in any other kind of relationship that requires additional attention to confidentiality. It’s crucial that you work with an interpreting agency that understands how to handle such situations properly.

Do: Sort Out Scheduling Issues in Advance

Working with interpreters occasionally involves some complicated scheduling. While any good interpreting agency should be familiar with that and will be able to assist you in figuring out a schedule that works for everybody. You also have some responsibility here.

You need to do your best to sort out any potential scheduling issues ahead of time. If you anticipate that you’re going to need to work with interpreters around the clock, for example, make that known and have a discussion with the agency about how you want that to be handled.

The same goes for remote availability. You may occasionally need to work with interpreters from overseas. Especially if you’re communicating with clients who are also far away. It should be no problem to have an interpreter available on short notice for those scenarios. But this is something that you need to discuss with the agency well ahead of time.

Do: Be Patient in Complex Conversations – Interpreting Agency

Remember that some conversations are going to be more complicated than others. Your interpreters might need more time to process what was said and formulate an appropriate translation. Be patient and give them time to do their work properly. Don’t be pushy, even if you sense tension in the room.

Likewise, try to speak as clearly as you can about these complex issues. Don’t go into too much detail where it’s not needed. And ensure that everything you’re saying can be easily broken down into logical components that can be translated more easily.

Your interpreters might give you certain cues in those kinds of conversations. So do your best to listen to them and follow their lead. In the end, they are the ones with more experience than you in these situations.

Don’t: Ask for Your Interpreter to Summarize Everything as Briefly as Possible

A good interpreter must never leave out any important details from their translations. This can sometimes seem annoying, because it can take a lot of time to parse certain expressions. You should never ask your interpreters to condense things. And always insist that they keep their translations as detailed as possible.

That’s because you don’t know what will actually get lost in the translation. And you should leave the experts to decide what exactly should.  And shouldn’t be forwarded to the other parties in the conversation.

There might be cultural differences in play in those situations as well. They can make the conversation even more challenging. And while a good interpreter will know how to navigate those situations, you most likely won’t.

Don’t: Try to Offload Additional Work on Your Interpreter

Your interpreter is there to translate the conversation – and that’s it. You should never treat them like an active participant in the discussion. And put them under pressure to respond to something for you. Asking your interpreter for their opinion on your business discussions is one example of that.

You might find it strange that this needs to be pointed out. But you’d be surprised by the number of people who attempt to drag their interpreters into their discussions for various reasons. This will never work out well for either party, so don’t do that. It will also reflect negatively on your professionalism and might affect your reputation with your business partners and clients.

Final Thoughts – Interpreting Agency

Working with a good interpreting agency can relieve you of a lot of work. And can help you streamline your communication very easily. However, there are certain things that will be expected of you. And it’s important to approach the situation with the professional attitude it requires. Once you’ve been working with your interpreter for a while. You’ll get the hang of how these conversations should flow pretty quickly.

At The Language Doctors, we take great pride in our attention to detail in our customer relationships. We value your time as much as we value ours.And we know how to help you get the most out of our services. Taking the first step is up to you though – if you need an interpreting agency that knows how to provide you with a quality service from A to Z, we’re ready to take you on board! Give us a call and let’s discuss your initial quote today.

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