Improving as an Interpreter: Research

This is the second post in our attempt to pull together ways that we can improve as translators and interpreters. This time, it would be good to concentrate on one specific area that interpreters have to deal with for each job: research.

If anything, modern interpreters suffer from having too much information at their fingertips. Within seconds, Google and Wikipedia can give us introductions to just about any field imaginable, complete with all the required vocabulary.

But is that good enough?

It is an open secret that clients vary in the speed and reliability with which they make materials available to interpreters. In some cases, such as medical and legal interpreting, there are good reasons why no paperwork can be passed on. How do you cope in those situations?

Still, even for those who receive material before they work, it takes time and effort to make sure that they are on top of all the information they will need. One question new interpreters will want to know is just how do you do that?

So, in the comments below, let’s have a discussion of how we do our research. Do you rely on paper dictionaries or prefer online sources? Do you read up on a field more generally before you work or just look at the speeches? Do you attend conferences on areas you regularly interpret in? Have you taken any other courses to help?

Over to you!