The World’s WORST Interpreting Advice

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Now, onto the show…

It’s hump day and to make it more palatable, I decided some humor was in order. I read a lot of advice blogs because, quite frankly, I’m not good at a lot of things. I need all the advice I can get. I am, however, an expert in doing this WRONG. So heed this warning:

The Following Interpreting Advice Should Not Be Used Under Any Circumstance.

You have been warned…

Tip #1 – Give the “gist”

Doctors, lawyers, and insurance brokers are often in a hurry. Time is money or so the saying goes. Do them a favor. When interpreting for one of their clients only relay the gist of the conversation. Details are not as important as you may think.
Example – If a patient tells you “I think I’m having a heart attack and I can’t breathe” save the doctor, the patient, and yourself sometime by giving the gist –“I am not feeling well”.

Tip #2 – Always Be Late

As an interpreter, you don’t want to look overeager! Arrive fashionably late. Not only will you look cool but it’ll also give your clients some extra time to sit in awkward silence. If you can, arrive with latte in hand. It’s a signal to everyone that coffee was more important than being on time. You’re an interpreter rock star.

The only thing cooler than being late is…

Tip#3 – Don’t Show Up at All

Supply and demand! This is basic economics people! If demand is high and there is little supply, you can charge a premium. But don’t wait until the scale tips naturally, give it a nudge by giving the impression that you’re too busy to take on new clients. If they really want you, they will cough up the extra dough.

Tip #4 – ABT

Everyone has heard of the acronym ABC (Always Be Closing). It’s a classic sales tip that reminds you that everything you do in sales is to put you in a position to close (strike a deal). ABT is similar. It stands for Always Be Texting. People LOVE gadgets and with the iPhone 5 recently debuting, your clients will surely be impressed when they see your fingers a-flyin’ across that remarkable device.

Tip #5 – Fake It ‘til You Make It

This is my last piece of advice to interpreters. If you don’t know the equivalent of the word in the target language, make something up. Don’t forget, you’re a professional. If you skip a beat or have to pause to think of the word, you’ll look amateur. Besides, neither of your clients will know that you switched a word. After all, you’re the only one in the room that knows both languages!

There you go folks, straight from the horse’s mouth. As a connoisseur of doing things poorly, these must be the WORST pieces of advice that I could give to interpreters.
Now get out there and interpret!

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