Translating On-site During an Interpreting Gig

On several of my interpreting assignments, I have been asked to translate documents during break-out sessions when I am not interpreting. They are generally less than a page or so, which is why I have never refused. However, by doing this, I am working for free since I was only hired as an interpreter, not as an on-site translator/interpreter combo. I have thought about this and talked to co-workers who have shared many great insights.

On the one hand, I hate being the “bad guy” for saying no to the client and being perceived as difficult, but on the other hand, this is separate work that deserves separate compensation. Continue reading

Interpreting Tips

Even though I’m relatively new to the field of interpreting, I’ve gathered a few tips over the past few years: some from school, some from real life. Here are a few things that I like to focus on when I’m interpreting:

-Before any conference, I still get pretty nervous. What helps me the most in calming my nerves, is preparation. The more I know about the conference, the speakers, their bios, their presentations, handouts… the more I feel in control of the situation. As soon as you book a job, always ask the organizers for an agenda, speaker bios, and their presentations. It might take them a while to get back to you, which is why it is essential to ask for these as soon as possible. Clients need to know that preparation is a huge part of our job and that it can greatly affect the quality of our interpretation.

-I always prepare a glossary, either using the materials provided by the client or if no materials are provided, I just do my own research to create one. If the conference is on tractors for instance, I will open Google and type “tractors + glossary”. This will give me a monolingual glossary which I can then translate and enter into my own document. Continue reading

The Importance of Client Education


I have been wanting to quit Facebook recently, but I still follow some of the translation and interpreting groups on there, which makes it impossible to quit cold turkey. I really enjoy scrolling through people’s questions, comments, or even silly photos related to the profession.

Well, yesterday someone posted the following comment in one of the groups: “I have an odd scenario: another interpreter (not really qualified or trained) has been hired at the same event I have. She is asking me for my rate so that she can match it or not charge too high/low. Not sure what/how to answer her? Suggestions?” Continue reading

Preparing for an Assignment

Interpreters work well beyond the hours of the conference, or the event that they are interpreting for…indeed, a big part of the job is preparation.

Here are some of the documents that I always ask for before working on an interpreting assignment: Continue reading

Ask and You Shall Receive

Next week, I am returning to the CDC for another 3 week conference during which I will be interpreting simultaneously. This is a difficult and a technical conference. I have worked at this conference twice in the past though so I am getting pretty familiar with the vocabulary.

When I got the call for the job, I was offered the same day rate as before. No surprise there, after all, why would they decide to increase the rate? But since the rate had not changed since my first time there (1 and a half years ago) and since I am getting comfortable with the vocabulary, I decided that an increase would be welcome.

Continue reading