HR Best Practice:
Here we give advice on how to hire the best interpretation services.
Hiring decisions are always difficult: there are many factors to consider, and there should always be a healthy balance between cost and benefits.
A competent and honest interpretation services agency will always try to hire local interpreters first, but only if these two conditions are met:
1) if the local interpreters are available and
2) if they produce the interpretation of the best quality in the given language combination.
The overwhelming majority of conference interpreters is freelancers, and they accept the first firmly confirmed assignment. It means that if the client is trying to find good interpreters at the last moment (a no-no if you want quality), there will be only a very limited pool of available local interpreters, if any.
Sometimes, there are simply no competent interpreters in a particular geographic market, so interpreters have to be flown in; trying to sell substandard interpreters to the client is – to some degree – similar to selling substandard food: it may look nice but may not be fit for human or even animal consumption.
Some unscrupulous interpretation agency may get away with it once or twice, but – in the final analysis – it may be detrimental to its reputation, both among clients and among professional interpreters.
Another option, therefore, is to rely on proven, experienced, top notch interpreters, who already have the reputation of being the best professionals in their language combinations. In that case, it matters less where they live, compared to what quality they produce.
And we, indeed, see this trend at the high-end of the market: world’s most experienced interpreters work internationally for events the budget of which accounts for that option. Just like with any high-end purchase, the result is reliable, consistent, and the client is spared the hassle of having to “change horses” in the middle of a discussion.
Eventually, each project is individually tailored to what the client needs, and there is always room for maneuver.
However, if your project is critically important, and millions of dollars or hundreds of human lives may be at stake, if milestone decisions are to be made, should you really hinge it on the price of an airplane ticket? Professional interpretation services is not a commodity.
See more on conference interpreters in InterStar Blog.