People often ask me what the most difficult field in translation is. My answer is always “conference interpreting” – also known as “simultaneous interpretation”. Would you like me to justify my answer? Let’s see what you need to start doing conference interpreting.

  • Strong command in both languages
  • Field expertise
  • Fast and analytical thinking
  • Troubleshooting attitude
  • Clear speaking voice and diction
  • Perfect memory
  • Awareness of cultures and dialects

You know what else is needed? Ability to read minds. Because when you are interpreting simultaneously, you need to end the sentence before the speaker does. You simply need to analyze where the sentence is going and you need to do it well. The process time is extremely limited therefore you need to take interpreting one step ahead and interpret things the speaker hasn’t told yet. What I am trying to say is this: interpretation, especially simultaneous/conference interpretation is a very difficult task. That is why I prepared this list of dos and don’ts for you to consider before hiring interpretation services.

I need to hire an interpreter for an event in two weeks.

Do: Start looking for interpreters and inform them about the event as soon as possible
Don’t: Wait until the last moment and hire the first interpreter you find on Google.

I found a couple of companies offering conference interpreting services

Do: Check their credentials. Question the qualifications and experience of the interpreters.
Don’t: Choose the cheapest. They are all interpreters, what harm can it do, right? Wrong. Always go for quality when it comes to interpretation.

Okay, I decided on the person to work with and I informed the company.

Do: Contact the interpreters and ask what they need. Ask about the technological requirements. Inform him/her about the booth.
Don’t: Assume that they don’t need anything. They need support and can only function at their best when they are informed of your expectations of their translation duties.

Time to plan the event.

Do: Consider the needs of the interpreters. Plan breaks at least once in two hours. Don’t forget a lunch break. Be considerate.
Don’t: 8 hours of non-stop interpretation. Lunch? Do Robots eat? No! So why would interpreters?

There are some specific issues which will be discussed during the event.

Do: Inform the interpreters. Provide as much as you can for them to prepare themselves for the event. Don’t forget interpreters determine the quality of the events. If they fail, the event will fail too.
Don’t: The title of the event is clear. The interpreters have to prepare themselves. I pay for them, that’s all I am supposed to do.

Language pairs…

Do: Contact the interpreters to be sure that they are able to work in the language pairs. Better safe than sorry.
Don’t: Let’s check their CV. B1 level Japanese, okay. It means they can work in Japanese as well. I see that he was born in Berlin. Berlin is in Germany, so German is okay too.

The booth is…

Do: The booth should be located to see the stage directly. If this is not possible for some reasons, the interpreters should be able to watch the stage on screens.
Don’t: It is not important if they see the stage. They are not here to watch the event. All they need is to listen and interpret.

The sound is…

Do: The sound system should be tested and it should prevent interpreters from hearing their own voices. Don’t you get annoyed when you hear yourself back on a Skype conference?
Don’t: I don’t care. I pay for this service, so they have to function no matter what.


Biggest Do: Be considerate.
Biggest Don’t: Don’t be hasty.

The comfort of the interpreters increases the quality of their interpretation. Quality of the interpretation increases the quality of the event.

Link Translations provides conference interpreting services in various fields and languages. Don’t hesitate to contact us and do get a no-obligation quote.