The spectrum of understanding professional translation services among the general public is extremely wide.
Many companies today operate globally. Some are parts of multinational corporations, some are expanding their business to new markets or using an overseas partner to promote their products, and still others are opening up their first new branch in a foreign country (or continent). It’s not easy, and it requires extensive research and direct communication with potential partners who may not even speak your language.
Usually the first thing that comes to mind (you might recognize yourself here) would be to hire an assistant or even a project manager who speaks the language of the country you are moving your business to. That sounds like a good move—but is it your best move?
Imagine that you are in a meeting in France with your bilingual project manager, who seems to have it all: they are well prepared, they possess in-depth knowledge of the products you plan to put on the market there, and they even speak French fluently! But once the meeting starts, they quickly take over the role of the presenter, selling your product to the potential partners while you, the general manager, sit on the sidelines. Just like that, you’ve been cut out of the process.
You would want to know what they were saying and how the partners were reacting to the proposal—but most importantly, you should be the one making the deal, not your PM. Now we begin to see why you want an interpreter by your side (and on your side), making your own voice heard.
A high-quality interpreter has many years of experience and a professional approach to both verbal and non-verbal communication. They have been trained to memorize long sentences and deliver an accurate translation without stammering, interrupting the speaker, or dropping parts of the conversation; they can find exact cultural references or specific idioms for the language they are interpreting into; and they have a working knowledge of the subject matter.
In contrast, even though an employee who is also familiar with the subject matter and also happens to be bilingual might seem like a perfect option, they may not be prepared to handle stressful situations or convey the speaker’s entire message. A professional interpreter is trained to follow any discussion objectively, no matter how heated it may get, without dropping a single word.
Another problem that might arise is that your employee (who, unlike an impartial professional interpreter, may have a personal stake in the meeting) might even get too involved in the discussion and take over the meeting, building a special relationship with your business partners. Eventually, they may not even see the point of including you in meetings at all.
All the points above highlight the most critical differences between bringing along a bilingual employee and hiring a professional, highly skilled, trained interpreter. They are the best at what they do, and they always mind their own business—so you can keep minding yours.
So! You’re convinced. Now what? How do you find a skilled professional interpreter—in the right location, for the right languages, and with the right industry experience?
That may sound like a lot of extra time and effort—and for you, it would be. But for a professional, vertically integrated language service company like Trusted Translations, it’s all in a day’s work. We work with thousands of seasoned, professional interpreters all over the world, in every language you can think of, with experience in every field from App Development to Zoning Law.