Which interpreting mode is best suited for my event?
For multilingual events such as specialist and executive conferences, meetings and symposia I offer simultaneous interpreting. Due to the vast and complex content at a conference, we work in teams of two or three interpreters. We perform our work in an interpreter's booth and the sound is transmitted to the participants via headphones. The major advantage of simultaneous interpreting is the real-time transmission, which results in virtually no loss of time. Equipment such as an interpreter's booth, sound equipment and headphones are required. If it is an event where you want to be mobile (e. g. during guided tours of the plant or the exhibition), I recommend to use a tour-guide audio system. Consecutive interpreting is ideal for events in small groups, such as receptions or after-dinner speeches. During a speech I take notes before I deliver the translated speech. This happens with each segment of the speech, which is no longer than eight minutes. Due to the time delay, this type of interpretation takes longer than simultaneous interpreting.
How much does it cost to interpret my event?
The most common answer to this question is: it's hard to say, it depends on your event. And that is true, because made-to-measure suits always fit better than ready-made clothing. In order to determine the best price-performance ratio for you, you may want to tell me something about your event. As soon as I know how you imagine it, I will provide you with a quotation tailored to your needs at a fixed price you can rely on. If you need a ballpark figure for your budget planning beforehand, you can expect roughly 3200 EUR per day for two interpreters including conference equipment.
Why do I have to pay a full day's fee, even if the event only lasts 1.5 hours?
Our fee is usually called daily rate, but in reality it covers much more. For us, every assignment begins with a background research in the run-up to the event. We thoroughly familiarize ourselves with the specific subject matter, the terminology commonly used in your industry, as well as internal company language rules and abbreviations. So you get much more for your money than just what we could come up with off-the-cuff.
Do I need conference technology?
Yes, you do. It is important to remember that we can only interpret what we are actually hearing, whilst we speak. An interpreter's booth provides us with a consistently good sound quality; we can easily change channels, this means the language direction. The booth is soundproofed, so we are not distracted by ambient noise such as rustling, rumbling and nose blowing. At the same time we do not disturb the audience because the listeners hear us directly through their headphones. There is nothing worse for the speaker and the listeners than if someone (the interpreter) is constantly whispering in the background. If you wish, I can organise the necessary conference equipment for you, such as interpreting booths, sound equipment and headphones.
Why do I need at least two interpreters?
To ensure the consistent quality of interpretation throughout the day. At conferences, people talk fast and the content is usually very dense. Interpreting can be imagined as if you were travelling at high speed, overtaking on the motorway. In order to guarantee that we can transfer your content smoothly and without making mistakes, we work in pairs and switch every 20 - 30 minutes depending on how much concentration is required. The "co-pilot" does not sit idle while it is the other’s turn, but rather supports the colleague by writing down numbers, names, abbreviations etc. and, in the worst case, by jumping in, in case of a hick-up.
How can I be sure that the interpreters are up to the task?
Interpreter is no protected professional title, i. e. anyone with or without training can call themselves interpreters. University degrees and membership in professional associations such as the VKD (Association of Conference Interpreters) in Germany, ITI (Institute for Translation and Interpreting) in the UK, or aiic (association internationale des interprètes de conférence) provide a good indication of the qualifications of the interpreter. These are the criteria I use to select the interpreters I work with. In addition, I have the advantage of having a large network and of knowing my colleagues personally. I know who serves which language combinations and areas of expertise. I am thus in a good position to assemble the best team for you.
Can I have an audio recording?
Of course, you can have the sound recorded. For this we charge a flat rate of 25% of the fee. In order to avoid the chaos and misunderstandings on the day of the conference, we would like to know in advance.
What if the order has to be cancelled?
Unexpected things just happen. Of course it regrettable, if you have to cancel your event, or if you find that the international guests are not coming. After placing the order, I will charge 100% cancellation fee, unless I get another assignment on the same date. The sooner you can let me know, the more likely I will be able to generate another order for this day. This is also in my interest, because I would much rather be paid for my services than for the cancellation of the conference. If you are not sure from the beginning, I can also reserve the date for a while. On the other hand, you do not have to worry about my cancelling. In case something happens, I always plan with a double net, so that I can send you an adequate replacement in case of an emergency. For myself, I can say that thanks to robust health throughout my entire career, I have not yet missed a single conference day.
How can I contribute to an optimal result in advance?
Good communication is also important before the event. If you talk to me and share your ideas, suggestions and concerns, I can look into it and prepare a tailor-made offer, put together the right team and solve any difficulties that might arise on site in advance. The more I know about the course and content of the event, the better I can prepare myself and the team. If you can provide us with documents and presentations in advance, we have the opportunity to study them and take some time to work out concise passages, such as quotations, jokes and allusions, in such a way that they have the desired effect in the foreign language. If you wish, I can also translate presentations or other required documents before the event.
Why is interpreting necessary at all, since everybody speaks English?
It is true. Nowadays most people in Germany have learned English. People who do not spend much time abroad will, however, still find it difficult to express themselves fluently and accurately in English. I have heard many speakers say that they feel it is an additional burden to give their presentations in English.
Germany’s former Foreign Minister Genscher summed it up: "In a foreign language you say what you can say, not what you want to say."
It would be a pity if this were to diminish the professional competence of the speakers, or the benefit to the listeners, wouldn't it? Communication and language is my area of expertise. And that is why I am happy to support you with my expertise.
Are there no automatic interpreting systems?
There are approaches, such as Skype Translator. A group in the VKD professional association is working intensively on monitoring the technical development of such systems. That is why we know that only standardised languages can be translated with this technology. They do not work for conferences. The reason is, while we are interpreting, we do not simply encode what we say into another language, but we analyze the content, meaning, purpose and goal. We connect it with our previous knowledge, the context, gestures and facial expressions of the speaker and the visualizations, e. g. in Power Point presentations. This means that we are drawing from a vast source of information. Every second we weigh up and make decisions in split seconds to "convey" what you want to say. Algorithms cannot (yet) do that. If you do not want to use standard phrases, you need people who are not only able to find their way into the facts analytically, but who are also empathetic. Conference interpreters can do that! And we are committed to ensuring that you are understood correctly.