Face to Face Interpreters: How to Make a Good First Impression

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As a face to face interpreter, you’re called to interact with the general public on a daily basis. The first impression you make could be the difference of whether you’re remembered or re-hired. Whether you are a freelance interpreter, or working for an interpreter service provider, the first impression is a representation of yourself. You’ve most likely already received information about the client or meeting, now here are some helpful tips to make your first impression with the client a lasting one:

Preparation:  If you’ve already received information regarding the meeting or appointment, it’s a good idea to read through the material to gather as much information as possible.  Arriving with this knowledge assures the client you have taken the time to understand why you’re there, and in stressful situations, this may help put them at ease.

 First Impressions: Even if you have a specific dress code from the agency you work for, professionalism will always be a requirement.  Unless otherwise specified, always show up in nothing less than business attire. Dressing professionally indicates to clients that you take your role as a professional interpreter seriously.

 “I am your interpreter:” With face-to-face interpreter meetings, take the initiative and introduce yourself as the client and provider’s interpreter.  If this is a returning assignment with the same provider, let the new client know that you’ll be present for the entire meeting or appointment.  Advise the client that the conversation is confidential.  Let them know they will need to speak to the person they’re communicating with, and you will interpret what they are saying in the first-person.  If they start to speak to you directly in the beginning, gently guide them to voice themselves to the other party.

Remember: you do not need an elaborate way to introduce yourself.  The confidence in your abilities as a face to face interpreter will shine through the entire session. If yourself, or your business, is looking for a professional and reputable interpreting service, Telelanguage offers 4,000+ professional interpreters ready to speak in over 300 languages. Now, for even faster service, download the Telelanguage app for iPhone, and connect to a live interpreter in just seconds!


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