5 most common mistakes of news interperters

Inexperienced interpreters often try to catch up with the speaker by taking note and remember all details rather than focusing on other factors affecting interpreting process. Besides, they also suffer from fear and stress of their first time, resulting in unelaborate preparation which not only disturbs the conference but also leaves clients with distorted impression. Let’s find out some common mistake with which new interpreters are usually face and recommendations to nail it.

1. Speak way too softly or too loudly.

Rookies normally consider their job merely interpreter and forget to check the conference sound system bringing about inappropriate volume of speaking. Even sometimes, while speaking excitedly and confidently, the interpreter suddenly mumbles as he cannot figure out what speaker is sharing.

All of these aforementioned factors create a bad impression about the interpreter on clients. Speaking too loudly may disturb delegates while speaking too softly may impose boredom upon audiences. Keep in mind that despite of your precise content, interpreters are not highly praised if their volume of speaking were inappropriate.

Recommendation: Well prepare before working. Interpreter should come to the conference early to have enough time to get ready and test the booth sound system including mixer, microphone, and headphone. Also, the interpreter should have information of technical person in charge in case of emergency.

2. Fail to read name and title of speakers and delegates

Many interpreters (especially the rookies) only concentrate on the topic and key information related the speeches but downplay of general information about speakers and delegates.

However, these “pieces of cake” have embarrassed interpreters for certain times as they present delegates with their wrong names or titles. This awkward mistake often confuses not only delegates but also participants.

Recommendation: Keep yourself informed about the delegates by contacting organizing committee first. In case of having trouble contacting organizing committee, acknowledge that names of participants are often listed in conference kit or report of the last conference. Coming early, grabbing these documents, quick researching about pronunciation and special titles via google if you are uncertain are good ideas to avoid such embarrassing situations.

3. Error 404: Memory not found!

Having nothing to say is a common problem among interpreters, especially beginners. Apart from “interpreting-friendly” speakers, there are still unpleasant with a lengthy and unclear manner of speaking, leaving interpreters with burdens of interpreting.

In fact, interpreters’ memory has its own limit, especially with rookies. When delegate’s speech is too lengthy, interpreter easily loses his confidence, therefore, surrender voluntarily to the mission.


Why don’t you apply these techniques below?

- Embarking on memory exercises.

- Human’s memory is comparable to computers’ RAM. For computers, an additional RAM can be always inserted to enhance their memory. How about the human being? Yes, it is note taking skill. Taking note is like an additional RAM for interpreters. Practicing rapid note taking skills is also an effective way to deal with memory shortage.

- Besides, interpreters should be able to seize main ideas and key words through practicing with inspiring speeches on TEDtalks or Youtube for instance.

- With a view to providing toolboxes for interpreters to successfully complete their missions, Sao Khue will introduce readers with more detailed articles.

4. Unmatched tone and intonation: Delegate 1- 0 Interpreter

 Professional speakers usually form their nature style of speaking in public. The confidence and flexibility in their voice as well as their body language are often used to enhance their speeches.

Yet, some interpreter suffers from speech delay due to speaker’s speech rate plus their lack of confidence in communication. Hence, they often use their flat, unemotional and detached tone of voice to perform with audiences, which leads to an “epic fail” regardless of how interesting the speaker is.

Recommendation: To avoid communication distortion, interpreters should notice speakers’ tone of speaking, as well as practice expressing their emotions with their voice. Besides, interpreters can also register for voice coaching or interpreting courses to gain more confidence in performing their job.

5. Manage to listen but fail to interpret.

As mentioned above, rookies often face with the lack of confidence. The fear for using wrong terminology, non-sense sentences are the intangible barriers prevents interpreters from shining though their ability of speaking and listening is good. Sometimes, the difficulty of conveying messages is driven from interpreter’s poor preparation and research.

Recommendation: Interpreters should try to balance his mind, health and voice. Besides, adequate preparation and background knowledge would boost interpreter’s confidence in interpreting mission. Interpreters can also try to practice meditation as a way of balancing their soul under pressure.

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