An interpreter is a necessity to any meeting between parties speaking different languages, as they bridge the gap between and allow interaction. People want to be understood, but they also want to know the other’s views as well. In the Chinese business world, interpreters are handy when trying to form relations with other international corporations. However, how correct the translating is could mean the difference between a successful partnership and expensive lawsuits.
With so many linguists offering their services, how will you know which one is the best choice? Here are some of the traits of a good Chinese English interpreter:
Has mastered the source and target languages- a good interpreter must be knowledgeable enough about the target language, including its quirks, rules and vocabulary. He must be able to easily use it in expressing himself in its different variations. At the same time, he also must be proficient in the source language, and is able to correctly translate its meanings, proverbs, idioms and expressions.
Has a degree (or something similar) in linguistics/interpreting-hire someone professional and has extensive knowledge and experience in linguistics and translating, and preferably someone who has a degree in law, economics or healthcare. This will help your interpreter be more fluent in legal translations, medical translations, public service translations and other specific translating services.
Has knowledge of the topic/field- interpreters who have offered their services in similar settings in the past will be able to do handle their job better. Chinese English interpreters who have educational knowledge and background about the topic are better able to translate and explain the concepts, terms and jargon used in the field.
Has knowledge of the participants’ cultural backgrounds- this will help the interpreter in understanding better the facial expressions and slang words used by the opposing parties, at the same time helping the interpreter be more objective.
Is Punctual- a late interpreter prevents the different parties from interacting until he arrives. This delay can cause tension, awkwardness and more costs to the clients.
Is tactful- an Chinese English interpreter must be tactful and maintains his diplomacy when tension arises regardless of how the participants may treat her/him.
Has respect for their clients’ confidentiality- interpreters should know that whatever information that was shared when his clients were using his services have to be kept hidden.
Looks professional and is well-dressed- the interpreter will be representing you and your company during a meeting, and as such must be clean and dressed well for the occasion.