Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a bit lost ? Unsure about how to hire simultaneous translation for your congress?

Are you concerned about the quality of interpretation and cannot tell a good from a poor interpreter?

Do you need an interpreter with specific technical expertise and don’t know where to look?

We can help you. Read the answers below.

1- What’s simultaneous interpreting or translation?

2- My congress lasts six hours; can I hire a single interpreter for the job?

3- My congress lasts one hour; how many interpreters do I need?

4- What are the regular and maximum working hours for interpreters?

5- The room where my congress is to be held is much too small for a full translation booth. What can we do about it?

6- My audience will comprise participants from various countries and language backgrounds. How can I cut translation costs?

7- We will need simultaneous translation into English and Spanish all day in the same room for our upcoming seminar. How many interpreters and booths do we need?

8- I need to hire interpreters with expertise and/or qualification in a specific field, for instance engineering or medicine. What should I do?

9- The topic to be discussed at our meeting is strictly confidential. How can we make sure the information is protected?

10- How can we find out whether an interpreter is actually good before we hire him/her?

11- I am the organizer and I have access to the speakers. How can I help interpreters do a good job ?

12- I’m the speaker and I’ve never worked with interpreters before. How can I help them do a good job ?

13- What’s consecutive interpreting ? What are its advantages and disadvantages? What kind of events lend themselves to consecutive interpreting ?

14- What options are available to avoid consecutive interpreting while keeping costs down?

15- Is it compulsory to hire the full package – interpreters, booths and sound equipment – from a single company or can I hire interpreting services from provider A and the translation equipment from provider B? What are the advantages/disadvantages of hiring the whole thing from a single provider?

16- Is there a machine voice translation system that can satisfactorily replace human interpreters ?

1- What’s simultaneous interpreting or translation?

In simultaneous translation, also known as  simultaneous interpreting, one person speaks language A (speaker) and many listen to language B through headphones (audience).  Thanks to the interpreters, who sit in a sound-proof booth listening to language A and translating in real time into language B.

Audio transmission and reception equipment is often used, though under certain circumstances it is possible to make do without any  equipmentbooth or glass screen, in the mode known as whispered interpreting (chuchotage, in French).

2- My congress lasts six hours; can I hire  a single interpreter for the job?

Absolutely not.  All reliable international  interpreters’  associations establish that conference interpreters working by themselves in the booth should not exceed one hour, owing to the taxing nature of the job.

Always hire two interpreters to ensure the best possible interpreting quality.

3-My congress lasts one hour, how many interpreters do I need?

Only one, if the need  is for two  languages (English and Portuguese, for instance).

4-What are the regular and maximum working hours for interpreters? 

Interpreters usually work six-hour shifts, which can be extended to eight hours.  In this case,  overwork is charged per additional hour.  For events longer than eight hours it is recommendable to hire three interpreters or two teams.

5- The room where my event is to be held is much too small for a full translation booth. What can I do about it ?

When space is a limiting factor and the audience is small, it is perfectly all right to use  portable interpreting devices,  that require no booth and offer excellent results.

6- My audience will comprise participants from various countries and language backgrounds. How can I cut

simultaneous translation costs?

An experienced interpreter can help you distribute the presentations throughout the day  so as to create cost savings.  Contact us and send us the agenda of your event. We’ll send you a quote right away.

7-  We will need simultaneous translation into English and Spanish all day in the same room for our upcoming

seminar. How many interpreters and booths do we need?

In this case, you will need four interpreters working from two  translation booths,  one going into English and the other going into Spanish.

If you are unsure how many interpreters are needed in other situations or for other language combinations, please  contact us, we’ll be pleased to help you to the best of our ability.

8- I need to hire interpreters with expertise and/or qualification in a specific field, for instance engineering or

medicine.  What should I do?

Get in touch with us. An experienced and well connected interpreter knows the expertise of his colleagues and can help you pull together a qualified team for your event.

9-How can we make sure the information is protected?

One of the most important pillars of   interpreters’ code of ethics is total confidentiality of what goes on at meetings or conferences.

Send us your corporate confidentiality agreement – we’ll be pleased to sign it.

10- How can we find out whether an interpreter is actually good before we hire him/her?

Simultaneous translation is an art in which experience is key.

Ask the prospectives interpreters how long they have been on the market (preferably over 10 years),  their professional references and testimonials by other clients, check their professional certifications and membership with interpreters’associations that are considered benchmark such as APIC, AIIC.  Please, check out  the profile of  Voicelink2′s interpreters and founders, Maria Eugênia Farré and  Fabiene Rocha .

11- I am the organizer and I have access to the speakers. How can I help interpreters do a good job?

Organizers can play a very important role in ensuring top quality translation by providing interpreters with the following documents well in advance:

arrow Electronic invitation and agenda of the event  (grid with times, breaks, speaker and panel names, speakers’ bios, MC’s scripts, rooms etc. )

arrow Speeches that will be read, Powerpoint presentations (with notes if any) and videos that haven’t been subtitled or dubbed.

arrow Master of Ceremony’s script

arrow Other reference material such as press releases and literature on the products and services to be discussed.

12- I’m the speaker and I’ve never worked with interpreters before. How can I help them do a good job?

You can cooperate with the organizers by providing a copy of your presentation to the interpreters in advance and answering any questions they may have after looking through it.   Sitting down with the interpreters and making your presentation to them is usually poor use of your time and theirs. It’s not necessary. Additionally, remember to:

arrow Pace yourself, don’t rush through your content.

arrow Speak categorically,  clearly pronouncing the words and reinforcing key messages.

arrow Pause between long sentences,  specially if they also involve numbers and acronyms,  sip some water.  A little suspense will keep your audience on hold for your coming remarks and give them time to process the informaton.

arrow Always talk to interpreters before your presentation to brief them about any unrelated or funny anecdotes you may wish to include to surprise and relax the audience that could however throw interpreters off.

13- What’s consecutive interpreting ? What are its advantages and disadvantages? What kind of events lend themselves for consecutive interpreting?

In consecutive interpreting, the speaker talks for up to 10 minutes, then stops and lets the interpreter translate what he has just said.  No equipment is used in this translation mode.   All the interpreter needs is a note pad, pen or pencil and excellent memory and summarizing ability.

The disadvantage is that it can be tiring for the audience to wait for the interpreter’s interventions which double the time of the presentation.

In simultaneous translation,  listeners hear a continuous and pleasant flow of  speech in their native tongue.  Additionally, the interpreters, woking  in a sound-proof booth at the end of the room, are heard but rarely seen, which does away with the distraction of two extra persons beside the speakers on stage.

Consecutive interpreting is not recommended for technical, long or complex events.  It may work perfectly fine for short events with small audiences, such as press conferences, small meetings and interviews.

14- What options are available to avoid consecutive interpreting while keeping costs down?

In small spaces or with audiences of up to 20 people, portable devices are an effective and reasonable option.  Get in touch with us to rent a kit of  portable simultaneous translation equipment which includes a transmitter and  up to 30 headphones.

15- Is it compulsory to hire the full package – interpreters, booths and sound equipment – from a single company or can I hire interpreting services from provider A and the translation equipment from provider B?  What are the advantages/disadvantages of hiring the whole thing from a single provider?

No, the client is not under an obligation to contract the full package.

It is perfectly all right to hire the interpreting team from one company and the equipment from another.

On requesting a quote, tell the provider what you need, always bearing in mind that the careful choice of  your interpreter will save you trouble and will give you greater control over service quality.

When requesting a quote,  tell the provider what you prefer, always bearing in mind that choosing a competent and seasoned interpreter will give you greater control over the quality of the job.

We point out however the technical quality of the sound and translation equipment is just as important.  Get in touch with us to receive the contact information of the reliable equipment companies in several Brazilian cities.

16- Is there a machine voice translation system that can satisfactorily replace human interpreters?

No. There is no such system, for the time being.

Although several companies are committed to creating a “universal voice translator”, for now the result is unsatifastory and interpreters continue to be irreplaceable  to bridge the communication gap between people that speak different languages.