RUSSIAN INTERPRETING GUIDE
THERE ARE TWO MAIN TYPES OF FACE-TO-FACE RUSSIAN INTERPRETING:
CONSECUTIVE OR AD HOC
This is spoken interpreting between English and Russian. It is used, for example, in business meetings, during site visits and social events. Normally, in consecutive interpreting the interpreter is alongside the speaker, listening and taking notes. When the speaker pauses, the interpreter relays the message. Taking notes is a sign of competence. When the message contains many facts, dates and times, there is less risk of forgetting something if it is noted down.
This is a running commentary. The interpreter speaks while the speaker is still talking. Normally in Russian simultaneous interpreting the interpreter sits in a sound-proof booth with a microphone listening through headphones and then conveying the message into the microphone. This method is often used at larger seminars or conferences. You can help a lot by not speaking too quickly and by making short pauses. Simultaneous interpreters normally work in pairs for 20 minutes or so at a time.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT
Good Russian interpreting comes from good preparation. As the interpretation is carried out in real time, there is no opportunity to go back and correct any errors. Background documents or speeches are used by the interpreter to study the terminology and to familiarise themselves with the subject matter. Even at the event when Russian interpreters stop to ask for clarifications, they are only trying to do their job well, so this is a sign of a good, competent interpreter.
YOU NEED A BREAK, SO DOES THE INTERPRETER
The levels of concentration involved in interpreting are very high and interpreters do get tired. If you allow for adequate rest periods and time for a quick snack, they are less likely to make slips. Also, since the conversation will be in more than one language, you need to allow at least twice as much time as you would for an English-only conversation.
RUSSIAN INTERPRETING IS NOT RUSSIAN TRANSLATION
Very often at the event it is necessary to read out a written document or quotation. When text is read aloud, it is particularly difficult to deal with. This is because the structure of written text is different from speech and it is packed with information. Moreover, when reading we normally speak faster, as no time is required for composing what we say. It is important to take that into account, pause more often and where possible provide a copy of the document to the interpreter.
The success of your event depends heavily on the interpreter so commissioning the right people and ensuring that they have all of the background material they need is vital.