Author Archive

A tribute to the late Russian interpreter Victor Sukhodrev

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News


“You cannot stop to ponder. You just can’t. If you do, you fail. (…)

An interpreter at that level cannot – not ‘should not’ – simply cannot make a mistake.”

– the late Russian interpreter Victor Sukhodrev, 1932 – 2014

As the chief interpreter for every Soviet leader from Krushchev to Gorbachev, the late Russian interpreter Victor Sukhodrev attended more meetings of the Cold War superpowers than almost any person in history. His words will resonate with any interpreter, Russian or otherwise, involved in high-level, high-stakes meetings, international conferences, court hearings, contractual negotiations etc. For professional interpreters, every word spoken matters and conveying your exact message is our priority.

Here, the Washington Post pays tribute to Sukhodrev’s outstanding career as a Russian interpreter in the Soviet era and sheds some light on what drove him to such a mastery of the English language.

Russian interpreter Sukhodrev interpreters at a summit toast

Interpreter Viktor Sukhodrev (centre) with Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon.



Share Button

Central African Republic Interpreters Appeal

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News


Former staff interpreters at the International Criminal Court now in a dire situation due to the fighting in the Central African Republic.

Help interpreters in the Central African Republic repair their ransacked homes before the rainy season.

Former staff interpreters at the International Criminal Court now find themselves in a dire situation due to the fighting in the Central African Republic, but we can help by donating here.

This is their story:

In March 2010 a group of Sango field interpreters joined the ICC to be trained as simultaneous court interpreters, the first Sango booth in the world. After qualifying as simultaneous Court interpreters at the ICC, they went on to interpret between Sango and French in the case The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the Central African Republic. The trial started in November 2010 and continued until November 2013, when their contracts ran out and they had to leave the Court.

As you will know, civil war has once again broken out in the Central African Republic. One interpreter has sought asylum in Paris, leaving behind his home in Bangui that was ransacked and his car stolen. Another made it to Cameroon with his family, but is running out of funds. Others remain trapped in Bangui. One had the entire contents of his house ransacked by a mob on Christmas day 2013, only to have what little was left (roof, doors) stolen or smashed by another mob on 23 January 2014: “Le sacrifice consenti pendant plus de dix ans pour construire cette maison s’est envolé en moins de deux heures”. On 20 February he was held up by a group at gunpoint and had his car stolen. He and his family are now internally displaced persons who cannot go back to their homes due to the security situation. Those out of the CAR are out of danger but have major financial difficulties. Those in the CAR are just glad to be alive at the moment.

But all is not lost. We can make a real difference. All the interpreters need funds, whether for essential repairs to a home before the rainy season renders it completely uninhabitable, or to pay for transportation out of the CAR to a safe location, or for basic subsistence until they can find or are allowed to work in the countries to which they have fled.

Make a difference today! Thanks so much for your support!

Click here to give to the appeal fund.


Share Button

Happy New Year from all the CIAP team

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

CIAP wishes you a Happy & Prosperous Lunar New Year

Share Button

Botched interpretation at Nelson Mandela’s funeral

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

The world media has given wide coverage to the fact that the sign-language interpreter who was standing next to world leaders interpreting their speeches at the funeral for Nelson Mandela badly botched his job and may have been an impostor. As testified by many deaf people present at the ceremony or following from all over the world, his sign language was gibberish and incomprehensible. As a result, they did not get the message.

An interpreter’s role is to convey the message of the speaker in a different language. More than translate the words spoken, she or he conveys the message of the speaker. In that regard, this interpreter failed.

Unfortunately, similar situations occur fairly often with spoken language interpretation too. That is because those who recruit interpreters often are not interpreters themselves, do not understand what is needed, nor the difficulty of the task, and tend to go for the cheapest.

In this case, the interpreter was hired by a fly-by-night agency that has since disappeared. He was left to work alone in a high-pressure situation without a second colleague and was clearly out of his depth. Now the poor fellow is being put up for international ridicule, and the government (i.e. the client) is also under attack, all because they used a bad agency.

Mandela sign language interpreter was not working under the recommended conditions for AIIC interpreters

The interpreter (right) next to President Barack Obama.

The South African deputy minister for women, children and people with disabilities has since recognised that Guidelines say we must switch interpreters every 20 minutes.That is because interpreting is a highly stressful activity that requires full concentration all the time. The level of concentration needed cannot be sustained for more than 30 to 40 minutes, after which it is likely that lapses and errors will occur.

The International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) has established professional standards and recommended working conditions that make it possible for interpreters to perform their difficult art under the best conditions.To find professional conference interpreters, members of AIIC and others, your best bet is to contact an AIIC accredited?consultant interpreter. CIAP is a network of AIIC accredited consultant interpreters.


Share Button

Put your message in good hands

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

With CIAP, your message is in good hands

Research has shown that the brain doubts the accuracy of messages delivered in a foreign accent. While this is indeed bad news for proponents of Globish as the new lingua franca, the good news is that hiring qualified simultaneous interpreters can level the playing field. Skilled conference interpreters allow speakers at international events to use their native language to bring their message home and communicate fully without the distraction of a foreign accent or hesitant speaking.

Read more here, from AIIC conference interpreter and trainer Michelle Renée Hof writing on the AIIC blog.

Share Button

CIAP interpreters and the UN

Written by Singapore on . Posted in News

The United Nations Building in Bangkok, Thailand

The United Nations Building in Bangkok

Organisations within the United Nations system are major organisers of international conferences requiring simultaneous interpreting services. All CIAP members work regularly for UN agencies and their related projects, and even the UN assisted Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia.

This recent article from the UN News Centre?highlights some of the challenges faced by UN interpreters, especially when dealing with delicate diplomatic matters. As interpreters at some of the international community’s marathon negotiations, we are in a unique position to watch the debates unfold and see how sticking points are resolved.

This article in French from Le Monde offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the 5th session of the International Seed Treaty’s governing body, held in Oman in September 2013, where former CIAP associate Annie Trottier was part of the interpreting team.

Share Button

How much will it cost?

Written by Singapore on . Posted in articles



Conference interpretation requires highly qualified professionals and dedicated simultaneous interpretation equipment. In addition, you usually need a whole team of interpreters, not just one.

To get the best cost-quality ratio, ask your Consultant Interpreter for advice.

How much does this kind of multilingual communication service cost?

In relation to the total costs of a conference, probably less than you think.

Take a five-day conference in Bangkok

An individual participant’s costs from another Asian country would come to about US$2500, allowing US$750 for airfare, US$250 per day for hotel accommodation, meals and incidentals and US$500 for registration. Dividing this by five, a typical participant would be spending about US$500 per day to attend the conference.

The collective costs of organizing the conference, such as rental of meeting rooms, tea or coffee breaks, documents, field trips, interpretation, audio-visual and simultaneous interpretation equipment, are usually financed by delegates’ registration fees and sponsorships. The registration fee for a typical conference might be about US$5600 per participant, including the interpretation service in three languages..

Here are some examples of the cost per participant, per day, of providing professional conference interpreters and equipment, for meetings of varying sizes and number of languages, calculated on the basis of this example of a five-day conference in Bangkok:

Cost of SI per participant per day, in US dollars (conference in Bangkok)

Participants 2 languages 3 languages 4 languages
100 45 76 113
200 25 40 59
300 18 29 41
400 15 23 32
500 13 19 27

As these figures reveal, when spread out over the number of participants, the cost of simultaneous interpretation is not high compared to the daily cost each participant incurs in order to attend the conference and, in fact, modest compared to its advantages:

a. better communication which, after all, is the purpose of the conference;
b. higher attendance, as more participants will come;
c. more varied and interesting contributions from different regions and cultures;
d. greater prestige for the meeting;
e. less frustration resulting from not understanding participants who are forced to speak in a language they do not master.

Dealing with interpreters directly

If you ask a consultant interpreter to put together your team of interpreters you will find that the cost is less than if you go to another intermediary.

Other intermediaries, such as translation agencies, subcontract interpretation and take a commission on interpreter fees or the total cost of interpreters. The level of commission may vary from 20% to 100% of the costs. To be competitive and optimize optimise their profit, other intermediaries may end up hiring non-professional interpreters.


Professional interpretation at a major conference usually costs less than just one of the traditional banquets or receptions offered. Don’t be tempted to skimp on the cost of interpretation. Take international communication seriously, as we do. You won’t regret it.

Share Button

simultaneous translation or interpretation requires special equipment
Our Services

CIAP is your single point of contact for all your interpretation needs.

simultaneous interpretation in Singapore Thailand China and across Asia Pacific
Our Consultant Interpreters

Meet our Consultant Interpreters across Asia-Pacific.

delegate listening to a simultaneous interpreter through headphones
Our Clients

CIAP has serviced over 500 conferences in Asia-Pacific and beyond.

conference interpreting news and updates
News & Articles

More information and updates from the world of interpreting.


Sign up now to receive our newsletter InterpretAsia:
* = required field


     Like us on Facebook
     Connect on LinkedIN


Photo Credits
Find interpreters
Click for a quote