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Are there any times when you are tempted to leave the microphone to your unfortunate colleague during simultaneous interpreting? Let’s see how to prevent this from happening ever again.

When the soundproof door closes behind us and we are alone with our colleague, who can be an old mate or a person that we have just met for the first time, it is time to show our professionalism.

Professionalism is not based only on our previously acquired language proficiency and interpretation technique, but it also depends on our ability to get prepared on the specific topic and vocabulary used in the event in a usually quite short time. Namely, the lapse of time between the first call of the client and the date of the conference.

Firstly, we need to study the client’s website to analyse the specific terminology that is used and create an ad hoc glossary for the conference. When the available time is really short, or if we want to further analyse the website content, we can get help from computer tools like BootCat, allowing interpreters to extract keywords and frequently occurring words from a seeds list or a website. This enables interpreters to create a glossary much faster. Among the useful tools to organise more than one glossary, instead, I feel that I have to mention Interplex.

Secondly, once the conference programme is in your hands, with the list of speakers who are going to be there, the most important thing to do is looking for as many of their videos as you can get from YouTube, Vimeo, etc. You need to actually listen to the speaker’s videos to get familiar with their accent and the way they speak. For this reason, the collaboration you get from the agency and the client is essential, so that you can have the programme as soon as possible and you can get prepared in the best possible way, to deliver the best simultaneous interpreting service.

Useless to say that the interpreter should get any slides and Power Point files in advance, to know the topic of the speech and study it in depth.

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Article by Silvia Cicciomessere, Interpreter in Rome