“Loose lips sink ships.” Admittedly, this phrase refers to secret spilling rather than poor interpretation, but it certainly applies to the catastrophic effect shoddy interpretation can have on your case! Language is as intricate as some litigation can get. When
interpretation is required, it must be accurate. Here are eight tips to secure the most accurate interpretation for your next interpreted deposition.
Tip One: Ask for CVs. The more complex the matter at hand, the more important it is to obtain CVs for all proposed interpreters. Look into their experience. Check how much deposition experience they have, as that is a very different setting from a conference, business meeting, or lecture. Check subject matter expertise. You want an interpreter with lots of deposition experience, as well as experience in the subject matter at hand. Top interpreters are proud to share case names they have worked on, particularly with high-profile clients. This also provides the opportunity to check for conflicts.
Tip Two: Provide prep materials. As with the curriculum vitae tip, the more complex the matter, the more important it is to provide materials to help your interpreter prepare. The more material at their disposal, the better. Documents like notices, previous exhibits and transcripts, patents, expert reports, and the like are extremely valuable to your interpreter and will be much appreciated. Send as many documents as you can and send them as early as you can. Interpretation is physically and mentally demanding work, and you want your interpreter to have trained for the marathon, so to speak, by becoming versed in the case and familiar with names and terms. The best interpreters take preparation very seriously, as they want to do a good job for their client and, at the same time, represent themselves well and uphold their professional reputation!
Tip Three: Request realtime. Any attorney who has received realtime translation knows its impact and can see that the value of realtime to an interpreter is enormous. Realtime is a feat of technology and court reporter skill. Providing the realtime feed to your interpreter so they can view the proceedings in realtime gives them an edge, enabling them to better provide succinct interpretation. Remember that interpreted depositions typically take twice as long as non-interpreted depositions. Realtime gives interpreters use of their vision as well as their hearing to translate for the parties. This ability to use another sense to interpret improves accuracy and can save some time.
Tip Four: Watch your mouth. If you wish to be accurately interpreted, consider your speech patterns, volume, and quirks. For example, I tend to speak quickly and to mumble. In fact, I have a feeling most interpreters would hate working with me. Who could blame them? Remember in an interpreted deposition to speak a little more slowly, enunciate a little more clearly, and project! Everyone needs to be able to hear you, particularly the interpreter.
Tip Five: Defending the deposition? Don’t forget to secure the check interpreter! Exactly as the moniker implies, the check interpreter keeps the main interpreter in check, correcting (or questioning) the interpretation when they believe it is inaccurate. The same vetting process applies for both interpreters. Don’t forget to get prep materials to and realtime for your check interpreter!
Tip Six: Book early. The best interpreters have full schedules most of the time. As soon as you know an interpreter is needed, and the language, start your search. If an interpreter is available at the last minute, it could be you have lucked out and secured an excellent interpreter. Or there may be a reason they were available. Don’t take the chance.
Tip Seven: Remote deposition? Don’t skip these steps. Make sure all connecting parties have reliable, high-speed internet, and a VPN to keep the proceeding secure. They may want to consider hard-wired internet and a headset for the best audio. Set up a test call for each party to test their connectivity and speed, audio, and to work out any technical kinks before the actual proceeding. Each party should be in a quiet, well-lit room for the actual remote deposition.
Tip Eight: Save yourself time and have your court reporting agency do the legwork. This is their area, after all, and they will have a network of interpreters from which they can narrow the candidates for you. You will receive CVs for only qualified candidates with education and experience relevant to your case subject. This makes the whole selection process quicker and more efficient, as it is streamlined for your needs.