20 Tips for Journalists Working with Interpreters | Metaglossia: The Translation World | Scoop.it

Working as an international journalist often means interviewing people with whom you don’t share a common language. Even if you spend months or years studying a language, you may be better off using a trained interpreter, who can translate not just the words but the nuances of what your source is saying.

But working with an interpreter can be challenging. You must learn to slow down, read body language and form a connection with your source in ways that transcend words. Here are some tips for getting the most out of an interpreted interview.

Before the interview

Build rapport with your interpreter. Get to know your interpreter as well as you can in the time you have. Try to find out the person’s background and perspective and reveal some of yourself. You will be partners in the interviewing process and need to have the interpreter on your side.
Discuss the purpose of the interview. Make it clear what you are looking for from this interview, whether it be colorful quotes, background information, statistics or some combination of the three.
Make sure you speak the same language. Review any technical, slang or obscure words you are likely to use. It might be useful to have a bilingual dictionary or reference text, such as a medical dictionary, with you.
Ask for direct translation. Request that the interpreter translate as literally and completely as possible and avoid paraphrasing.
Remind the interpreter to speak in the first person when interpreting. The interpreter should say, “I have worked in this factory for 12 years,” not “He has worked in this factory for 12 years,” when interpreting the source’s statement.