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What to Confirm Before Managing Interpretation Projects

What is Interpretation?

Interpretation is the act of explaining, reframing, or showing your own understanding of something.
The person who orally translates one language into another is called an interpreter because he is explaining what a person is saying in one language to someone who does not speak that language. So what are the factors to confirm before managing interpretation projects?

Managing Interpretation Projects - GPI Translation Blog

Interpretation is considered one of the most difficult professions, and this is proven by a study conducted by the World Health Organization, where this profession ranked third on the list of the most difficult professions in the world (after astronauts and pilots of high-speed aircraft). This is due to the many problems and difficulties that the interpreter encounters when performing their work.

At the forefront of these difficulties, the fact that the interpreter is required to translate and to follow up on what he hears at the same time, as the speaker can not stop to wait for the interpreter or to give him some time, which is the main problem that interpreters face in their different languages.


Types of Interpretation

As translation includes different theories and subject matters, there are also several types of interpretation:

  • Simultaneous Interpreting
  • Consecutive Interpreting
  • Whisper Interpreting
  • Escort Interpreting
  • Telephone Interpreting

We will define and cover all of these in detail in our upcoming blog about interpretation. For now, our main focus is about the list of factors that we need to confirm in order to start our interpretation project on the right foot and not to face any surprises. As always this is based on GPI experiences and best practices that we have applied, followed, and developed through our interpretation projects in different countries (USA, Argentina, UK, Italy, Egypt, UAE and Qatar).

List to Confirm for Interpretation Project

Here are the items to confirm, and will explain why it’s important to have this information before starting any interpretation project.

1. Language combinations

It’s a must to know which languages (and dialects) you will require interpreting support for, sometimes you have multilingual interpreters who can fit into different positions.

2. The event topic

The event may be very specialized with its topic, so you will need subject matter experts to cover this field. It can be a medical interpreting topic also the client may provide reference material.

3. Location of the event

You need to know where the event is occurring as you may not be able to provide interpretation support in this country due to distance, cost factors, or risk factors which may include a war field or a prison.

4. Date of the event

Ideally, you want to schedule interpreting support as far in advance as possible, and at minimum this needs to be determined at least one month before the event. Any less time than that, you cannot guarantee an experienced interpreter’s availability (and equipment if needed) and costs may be higher due to the shorter notice.

5. Number of attendees

This factor will determine many things later like the room size, number of headsets, sound systems and finally the number of interpreters.

6. Exact hours of the event

The agenda needs to be confirmed as this will determine the number of interpreters needed for the event.

7. Meeting room dimensions and shape

This will help to decide which devices should be in the room Tables and booths.

8. Type of interpretation

Based on this we will determine what type of technology will be required.

9. Required equipment

One of the success factors we need to provide the right equipment according to the room size and number of attendees, room dimension, and the meeting/event agenda.

10. Dress code and gender preferences

As an interpretation and translation provider you need to ask your client about the acceptable dress code for the event and the gender preferences according to the country and place of the event.


Seasoned interpreters acquired their skills through experiences and challenges they faced during their interpretation projects. As an interpretation and translation provider, GPI will be able to help you define the right scope of your interpretation project. By asking the right questions and covering items and topics you may forget or be unaware of, all the mentioned points can be a success or failure factor.