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FAQ

What is a Consultant Interpreter?

A Consultant Interpreter is a conference interpreter who organises teams of interpreters to suit your meeting's needs. Locate your nearest CIAP Consultant Interpreter here.

What is a conference interpreter?

Conference interpreters are professional multilingual communicators who have undergone specialised training in conference interpretation techniques (simultaneous, consecutive, whispered). They ensure that participants speaking different languages at a meeting understand each other. A vital aspect of the profession of interpreter is confidentiality. Read more

Why should I hire professional interpreters?

Conference interpretation is a difficult task and requires such enormous concentration that there is no time for the interpreter to fish for words. Professional interpreters have received specialised training in conference interpretation techniques and work only into their active languages. They research the topic of your meeting, prepare vocabulary and mobilise their extensive experience in multilingual and cross-cultural communication to accurately convey your message. Read more.

How much does this kind of multilingual communication service cost?

In relation to the total costs of a conference, probably less than you think (see this sample breakdown of costs.)

Participants come to a conference to share with others what they know and hear what others have to say, in short to communicate. To do so, they prefer to speak and hear their own language or at least a language they feel comfortable with. Your delegates are making long and costly trips to attend your event. Make sure they are able to follow proceedings by hiring a CIAP Consultant Interpreter.

Are the interpreters properly trained?

Conference interpreters deal with a vast range of subjects and cultural references. They need very broad general knowledge and the ability to quickly grasp complex and technical issues. Conference interpreting is a technique which needs to be learned properly. Education to a university honours standard with a post-graduate diploma in conference interpretation is highly recommended. Membership of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) is the best guarantee.

What is the difference between an interpreter and a translator?

Interpreters deal with the spoken word while translators deal with written texts. Simultaneous interpreters are sometimes wrongly called simultaneous translators. Read more.

What questions should I ask a vendor of simultaneous interpreting services?

  • How will they recruit the interpreters? Directly or by sub-contracting to another provider?
  • What is their track record in organising meetings with conference interpreters? Is it simply something they do on the side?
  • Who are the interpreters?
  • Can I see the interpreters? references, CVs, professional affiliation and language combination?
  • Will I be able to liaise directly with the interpreters or their team leader before and during the meeting to help them prepare?
  • Is the vendor willing to provide a breakdown of costs with the actual fee the interpreters will receive to ensure transparency?

How many interpreters will I need?

The total number of interpreters is determined chiefly by the number of languages used and the timetable of sessions where interpretation is actually required. If there are concurrent sessions, your Consultant Interpreter will tell you if you need to hire more than one team of interpreters. Read more

What are language combinations?

Interpretation occurs between a 'source language' and a 'target language'. Conference interpreters translate orally from one or more source languages into one or more target languages. The set of languages spoken by an interpreter is her/his language combination, also known as working languages.

What is an ?active language??

Since there is no time to fish for words that convey the same meaning as the speaker's message, the right translation must automatically come to the interpreter's mind. This occurs first and foremost in the mother tongue, the language which you grew up speaking and in which you were educated. For many people, it is the language in which they dream. This is why for most interpreters, the 'active' language is their mother tongue.

Is confidentiality guaranteed?

Yes, because CIAP Consultant Interpreters only recruit professional interpreters who are bound by the AIIC Code of Ethics, which demands confidentiality about anything the interpreter hears at a non-public meeting, in a manner similar to a lawyer's or doctor's oath of secrecy.

Will I need to hire special equipment?

The success of a congress depends to a large extent on the quality and reliability of sound transmission and simultaneous interpretation equipment.

It is in your best interest to use standardised equipment and competent technicians to set it up and run it. A good SI equipment vendor will liaise with your conference venue to check compatibility. Your Consultant Interpreter can recommend reputable conference equipment suppliers near your event.

Here is a helpful checklist for hiring simultaneous interpretation equipment.

What languages do you provide?

CIAP provides interpreters for English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malay, Khmer, Burmese, Tetum?and other languages.

What information will my Consultant Interpreter need from me?

This article explains everything a Consultant Interpreter needs to know in order to provide you with a quote for the conference interpreting team that meets your needs.

Read More

Tips & checklists for conference organisers or hotel managers

If you are using the services of professional conference interpreters, some helpful tips can be found here.
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