Translators and Interpreters in business. How do they work? (Part 2)

Emma Plested
Joint Coordinator | ITI Western Regional Group
2nd October 2019
Member roleChamber member

Translators (using the written word) and interpreters (using the spoken word) work on many different commercial assignments, in almost every setting.

In the previous part of our 3-blog series, we heard from language professionals who translate and interpret on the manufacturing shop floor, in HR meetings and in training sessions.

In this second part, we learn more about the Western Regional Group of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) members' daily activities in the business world and hear their pro tips on how we can ensure we get the best results from similar collaborations with language professionals.


Sanni Kruger (German>English translator)

Sanni translated a highly-specialised German engineering firm’s annual report and financial statements.

By doing so, the firm was able to attract new international investors, as they could fully understand the company’s exact position in the market. Studies repeatedly show that consumers and investors are more than 70% more likely to invest if the information they’re given is in their native language.


  • Provide a glossary of your specialist equipment to your translator. They will already be an expert in your sector, so help them become an expert in your company’s product too. 

Kathrin Harrison (English<>German conference interpreter)

Kathrin facilitated communication between English and German-speaking business leaders and employees of a multinational insurance company during their transition to becoming a societas Europaea and moving their headquarters to Luxembourg.

The meetings involved complex financial and legal discussions and although some delegates were bilingual, providing an expert interpreter meant they could get on with the job at hand, rather than struggling for words or missing crucial details.


  • Fully brief your interpreter beforehand – preparation is an essential part of the job and is included in the fee. The better prepared your interpreter, the better the quality of their work.

David Swain (French>English translator)

David translated the annual report for an African bank for publication on the English version of its website. By making information on the bank's financial performance available to an English-speaking audience, the bank was able to grow its profile internationally. 

Studies show that even if international users are willing to browse in a foreign language, they are less likely to invest or spend their money if the key financial information is not available in their own mother tongue. The Common Sense Advisory sums this up as “Can’t read, Won’t buy”.


  • Make sure your translator knows where your text will be published – the best format for a website will be different from the best format for a paper publication.


Katy Robinson (Spanish>English translator) 

Katy has translated and reviewed scientific journal articles about medical trials and devices.

The documents are highly technical and require a translator with specific relevant training. If they are for publication, there are often guidelines on how they should be written.


  • If the author of a piece is a non-native speaker, use a reviewer who speaks the author’s original language, so they can recognise certain typical errors, and communicate with the author more effectively.
  • If you aim to publish your article in a particular journal, pass the style guide to your translator.

Louise McNeela (Italian>English translator)

Louise translated patient information sheets and informed consent forms for medical trials with pharmaceutical research companies. 

Depending on the trial, the patient may be a child, so there are separate forms for them and for their parent or guardian. They need to be written clearly and age-appropriately, so that each person is able to understand. 


  • Consider arranging a “back-translation” where the translation is translated back into the original language to make absolutely sure the information has been explained accurately.  

Aletta Stevens (English>Dutch translator)

Aletta translated online course materials for the European Cleft Organisation to train healthcare professionals to help babies with cleft lip and/or palate to cope with feeding, surgery and social prejudice in countries throughout Europe.

Communicating these issues in peoples’ own languages is a vital part of creating awareness, understanding and engagement.


  • Make sure your translator has the relevant medical training and cultural awareness to deal with the papers accurately and with sensitivity.


Anna Trojan (English>Russian translator) 

Anna assists different companies with their online brand watching; translating and advising what's being said online about the company or sector in their particular language and markets.

This is a significant part of monitoring market trends and online chatter, and is also vital for the protection of domain name space and intellectual property.


  • For languages with significant global variations like Spanish or Portuguese, make sure to use a translator who comes from your target market. Someone from Portugal is less likely to know all the latest online jargon from Brazil.

Isabel Carvalho (English>Portuguese translator)

Isabel recently translated contracts and a manual for a swimming pool-cleaning robot

Thanks to a wider audience having access to the product instructions, the perceived brand quality is improved, which should translate into more sales and higher profits.


  • Provide your translator with images to ensure they fully understand your product and processes.

Yulia Tsybysheva (English>Russian translator)

Yulia has translated the website and marketing content for a jewellery brand for their expansion into the Russian market.

Yulia was heavily involved in the final QA stages of the website design and was able to provide valuable cultural insight and prevent misunderstandings between the markets.


  • Consider bringing your translator in-house for a meeting or even a day or two to resolve issues face to face. It can often be more cost effective than responding piecemeal on an hourly basis.

In Part 3, the final part of this series, we will continue to look at every day examples of translators and interpreters working in business and indicate where else they have a significant impact on our daily interactions. If you have any examples you would like to share, or you would like to know about a specific industry, please get in touch. 

Written by Emma Plested and Sandra Mouton of the ITI Western Regional Group.

The Western Regional Group is a professional association of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). Its members provide services covering a wide range of languages, specialisms and services. To find out more about the people mentioned in this blog and more, please visit our website or follow us on twitter @itiwesternregio.

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