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Tips on How to Work With an Interpreter


Working with an interpreter is a valuable skill in today’s multicultural and multilingual world. Whether in business meetings, conferences, or other professional settings, effective collaboration with an interpreter is essential for successful communication. This article provides valuable tips on how to work effectively with an interpreter, ensuring a clear and accurate exchange of information, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and maximizing collaboration.

Here are some tips on how to work with the interpreters that you have hired for your company.

Communicate Your Objectives and Expectations

Clearly communicate your objectives and expectations to the interpreter before the interaction begins. Provide them with relevant background information, meeting agendas, and any specific terminology or jargon they may encounter. This ensures that the interpreter is prepared and understands the context and goals of the conversation.

Choose Professional and Qualified Interpreters

Select professional and qualified interpreters who are fluent in the languages involved and have expertise in the subject matter. Look for certified or experienced interpreters who possess a deep understanding of the cultures involved. This ensures accurate interpretation and cultural nuances are effectively conveyed.

Establish Ground Rules

Set clear ground rules and expectations for the interaction. Communicate guidelines for turn-taking, speaking pace, and any specific instructions regarding interruptions or clarifications. Ensure that all participants are aware of the interpreter’s role and the need to speak one at a time, allowing the interpreter to provide accurate and complete interpretations.

Speak Clearly and Concisely

When working with an interpreter, it is essential to speak clearly and concisely. Articulate your words, maintain a moderate pace, and avoid using complex sentence structures. Pause periodically to allow the interpreter to convey the information accurately and give participants time to process the interpretation.

Maintain Eye Contact and Address Participants

While speaking, maintain eye contact with the participants, not just the interpreter. This helps build rapport and connection with the individuals you are communicating with. Address your remarks directly to the participants, as if the interpreter is not present. The interpreter will interpret your words into the target language for the participants.

Avoid Slang, Idioms, and Cultural References

To ensure accurate interpretation, avoid using slang, idioms, or culturally specific references that may not have direct equivalents in the target language. Simplify your language and use universal terms whenever possible. If there are important cultural references that need to be conveyed, provide additional explanations to the interpreter beforehand.

Be Patient and Allow Time for Interpretation

Working with an interpreter requires patience and understanding. Allow time for the interpreter to provide accurate interpretations. Avoid interrupting or rushing the interpretation process, as it can lead to miscommunication or confusion. Embrace the slightly slower pace of communication necessary for effective interpretation.

Foster Cross-Cultural Understanding

Interpreters serve as cultural bridges between participants. Embrace the opportunity to learn from different cultures and perspectives. Respect cultural differences and demonstrate open-mindedness and inclusivity. Engage in active listening and show appreciation for diverse viewpoints, enhancing cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.

Provide Feedback and Seek Clarification

After the interaction, provide constructive feedback to the interpreter regarding their performance, accuracy, and any areas of improvement. Similarly, if you have any questions or need clarification on the interpretation, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from the interpreter. Clear communication and feedback help improve future interactions.


Working effectively with an interpreter is crucial for successful cross-language communication and collaboration. By following these tips, you can establish clear communication objectives, choose qualified interpreters, set ground rules, and communicate clearly and concisely. Embrace cultural diversity, foster cross-cultural understanding, and provide feedback for continuous improvement. Working collaboratively with an interpreter enhances communication and strengthens relationships in our globalized world.


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