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Guidelines for speakers

AIIC. "Guidelines for speakers". December 1, 1999.

Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférences

The interpreters are your allies in conveying your message to the audience. You can help them by following these simple guidelines.

  • If you have a written text or notes for your speech, whether or not you intend following them closely, please hand them to the conference secretariat for distribution to the interpreters. Interpreters do not simply rely on words, they interpret the meaning and should therefore familiarize themselves with your subject and terminology. You are free to depart from your text or add to it as you go along. AIIC interpreters are bound by professional secrecy, and the content of your document will remain confidential at all times and will be returned to you on request.

  • If your paper is technical, please give the interpreters any terminology you may have or any background papers on the same subject in other languages. You may also ask the conference secretariat to organise a briefing with the interpreters. Meeting the speakers would be useful in order to clarify specific points which will help improve performance.

  • If you wish to show a film, slides or transparencies, please make sure that the interpreters receive the script or a copy of the transparencies. The booths are often situated far away from the screen and it would be helpful if the interpreters had copies of the projected text in front of them.

  • When reading from a script one tends to speed up which means that the audience will find it difficult to follow and, as a result, parts of your message will be lost. If you have not spoken at meetings with interpretation before, it may be advisable to pace your delivery beforehand. Ideally you should allow 3 minutes per page of 40 lines.

  • Before you speak, please make sure your microphone is switched on. Knocking the microphone or blowing into it as a test will merely be amplified in the interpreters' headphones and cause an unpleasant noise. To test the microphone just say a few words like "Good afternoon" or "Thank you Mr. Chairman".

  • Please do not speak too close to the microphone as this creates interference and avoid leaving your receiver set close to the microphone when you speak to prevent feed-back whistling. The technician will be able to advise you on this.

  • If you need to move away from your seat, i.e. to point at a slide or transparency projection, please use a neck or lapel microphone. Without a microphone the interpreters cannot hear you, however loud you speak.

  • If you are speaking from the rostrum or a lectern and want to reply to questions from the floor, please make sure you have a receiver set with you to follow the questions as they are interpreted.

Your Team of Interpreters

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