Liaison interpreting at negotiations, trade fairs and exhibitions etc.
How does professional liaison interpreting work?
In liaison interpreting, the interpreter transfers short passages of a conversation section by section and with a delay. The communication still clearly takes place in the form of a dialogue, in spite of the slight delay caused by interpreting. However, a certain amount of time has to be taken into account for the conversation because every statement of any participant has to be translated before the next participant starts speaking. Liaison interpreters usually translate up to five sentences at a time into the other language, relying on their well-trained memory. In contrast to unilateral consecutive interpreting, where the interpreter only translates into one language, bilateral liaison interpreting is done in both directions. Interpreters generally don’t take notes with this form of interpreting. Depending on the level of specialization of the conversation, liaison interpreters are in most cases provided with information material on the subject area of the conversation in advance. It is crucial that all participants can see the liaison interpreters, but it is equally important that they can hear the interpreters loud and clear. This is the reason why negotiations that require interpreting usually take place at “round tables”.
What are the abilities and soft skills required for liaison interpreting?
For starters, qualified liaison interpreters must have excellent command of both their working languages as they play a very important role in the communication between the interlocutors. They must also be able to clearly express elements of non-verbal communication like body language, if necessary. Even with an emotionally charged atmosphere, e. g. in economic, politic or diplomatic discussions, the liaison interpreter has to keep calm in order to transfer the contents objectively into the other language. It is of particular importance that professional liaison interpreters understand the relations between the interlocutors as well as their cultural differences. Even though liaison interpreters do not need as much preparation for their job as simultaneous and consecutive interpreters, they must have detailed knowledge of the event, location and subject of the conversation and they have to coordinate the appointment beforehand with their clients. Only then can the conversation be a full success for the participants as well as the interpreters.
When and where are liaison interpreters needed?
Trained liaison interpreters are commonly used in important discussions with a small number of participants. This includes political negotiations that are not to meant for the general public, interviews, confidential consultations or first meetings of business partners with different native languages. In particular, liaison interpreters are preferred over simultaneous interpreters when there are fewer than four or five interlocutors. Negotiations at the “round table”, conversations between doctors and patients in clinics and hospitals, civil wedding ceremonies, GMP audits, appointments at authorities or technical discussions like machine instructions, plant or factory tours - all of these are typical occasions where liaison interpreters are used.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of liaison interpreting compared to simultaneous interpreting?
A major advantage of liaison interpreting over simultaneous conference interpreting is that no conference equipment (interpreting booths or portable interpreting equipment, also known as a tour guide system) is needed. Moreover, in many cases only one interpreter is needed for an event with only a small number of participants and where the conversation has to be rendered in no more than two languages. If needed, liaison interpreting can even be combined with simultaneous whisper interpreting. This means that the liaison interpreter translates the negotiation into one language aloud but whispers the translation into the other language for certain participants. However, the prolonged speaking time that results from liaison interpreting is sometimes seen as a disadvantage for interlocutors, interpreters and event managers. This form of interpreting is also less suitable for conversations that have to be interpreted into more than two languages. In these cases, simultaneous interpreting is commonly used.
What makes the liaison interpreters of AP Fachübersetzungen stand out?
The highly qualified interpreters at our Nuremberg-based translation agency AP Fachübersetzungen have many years of experience and work in their native language, transferring important conversations of all kinds - such as business negotiations, initial conversations with potential clients at trade fairs, political discussions or diplomatic consultations. Our interpreters translate into many languages of the world, including Russian, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, French, Ukrainian and Polish. We are furthermore specialized in the fields of technology, law, medicine and pharmacy. We have also interpreted at numerous national and international events, e. g. technical trade fairs, court appointments and GMP inspections. These occasions gave us the opportunity to further increase our already extensive client base and to be recommended to other businesses by our clients.