Due to the internationalisation of daily life and business, the likelihood that you will need the services of a professional interpreter is growing every day. This is why it is essential to know how to work with them effectively in order to gain the most benefit.

Man and woman sitting opposite each other, and woman pointing to a sheet presumably choosing an interpreter.


Here are some tips on working with interpreters:


The selection process

When selecting an interpreter, look for a qualified and trained professional that can take on the challenges of your assignment.


  • Think about what you need for the assignment and make a shortlist of your requirements. For example: Do you need an interpreter with specific educational background, expert terminology in a certain field, such as medical or legal, or a particular cultural understanding?
  • If possible, interpreters appreciate that you book them well in advance of a meeting.
  • Log in to your TikkTalk account and use these criteria to filter TikkTalk’s database.
  • TikkTalk will provide you with a list of interpreters matching your requirements.
  • Now just select the one that suits you best.

Pre-session process

Before the actual session starts, you can take some steps to prepare for it so it goes smoothly:


  • If you have an in-person assignment, be ready before the session starts to meet the interpreter in time. Remember that, as a rule, the interpreter should not be left alone with the person you are speaking to.
  • If you use video, check your technical equipment in advance.
  • Provide detailed information about the subject of the session so the interpreter can be thoroughly prepared. For example, provide copies of written material you will use during the session.
  • Go over your confidentiality and privacy policies with the interpreter.
  • Plan the seating arrangements. For example, for an in-person meeting, arrange it so that the interpreter will be sitting close by without obstructing the line of view between the speakers.
  • If the interpreter is joining the meeting on a screen, a moveable stand or holder is a very useful tool for placing a tablet.

During the session

Now you are in the session. Here are a few ways that you can work with the interpreter and ensure a successful session:


  • Speak directly to your client in a normal manner and maintain eye contact. Even though you are using an interpreter, run the session as if you are communicating with each other.
  • Only ask one question at a time and wait for an answer before continuing with another question.
  • Don’t speak too fast or too loud, and pause after each complete thought. Allow time for the interpreter to consider the information and present it correctly.
  • Don’t involve the interpreter in the conversation by addressing him or her directly.
  • Use vocabulary that suits the client. Don’t use terminology they are unfamiliar with; but at the same time, don’t oversimplify either.
  • Avoid using idioms or complicated sentences.
  • If you feel that the client or patient has not understood something, restate it or ask them to repeat the key points. It is especially important during medical or legal interviews that all information is understood.

Communicating through language barriers is challenging. Being prepared is the key to success. It takes patience and good organisation. With TikkTalk’s reliable and state-of-the-art platform, you can manage the entire interpretation process hassle free, from finding an interpreter to holding a successful session. This saves you work and effort, giving you more time for the important things in your working day. Be more productive and efficient with TikkTalk!

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