Tips for Hiring an Interpreter for a Japanese Trade Show

Tips for Hiring an Interpreter for a Japanese Trade Show

In the previous article, I explained why you need an interpreter to be successful at a Japanese trade show. However, it’s still too early to feel comfortable with hiring an interpreter. It’s important to know how to get your interpreter to perform at his/her best. This article will give you tips on how to select and use an interpreter.

How to select an interpreter 

 1) Be sure to have someone who is capable of interpreting at a business-level or higher.

Generally, when you hire an interpreter, they are divided into the following categories: native language, native level, business level and everyday conversation level. At this point, it is important to note that you should not easily hire an everyday conversational level interpreter because of the low price. A business level interpreter will be used to working as an interpreter and will be able to not only know how to say things in a business context, but also how to behave in a business setting. Serious business meetings take place at trade shows. Be careful not to be rude to your visitors.

2) Select an interpreter with high reviews and a resume that seems to have a lot of experience.

No matter how high his/her language level is, you should not have an interpreter with low reviews or inexperience. This is because they may not be familiar with the business setting, which means their dress and demeanor may not be appropriate in the situation. And if he/she has no business experience, he/she may not understand how the business works and it may be difficult to accurately describe it. Your interpreter is one of your members in the eyes of visitors. Select someone you feel comfortable with.

3) Ask someone who has worked as an interpreter in your industry.

Each area of expertise has different terminology and each business is structured differently. At this point, if the interpreter has worked in your industry before, he/she will already have a prerequisite knowledge and will be able to understand and translate your content more accurately and quickly. However, if your budget doesn’t allow you to choose the kind of interpreter you want, or if you want your interpreter to deliver more results, I recommend that you do the following.

How to use an interpreter 

1) Give your interpreter some basic information.

I recommend you share the following with your interpreter in advance.

  1. Your company profile
  2. All materials used in the discussion
  3. Related web sites and books
  4. Information on the business partner you are promised (company name, name, department, position, etc.)
  5. Purpose of business negotiations (sales, finding a distributor/partner, etc.)

2) Set up a meeting time with your interpreter before the show starts.

Because of the seriousness of the Japanese national character, the following things should be done for a Japanese interpreter before the show starts so that he/she feels comfortable and can perform his/her work with good results

  1. Answering questions about the material provided in advance by you.
  2. Telling the interpreter what you want them to be aware of or emphasize.
  3. Sharing the fixed schedule of meetings with customers, breaks and others.

3) Share your goals at a show

It can be difficult for an interpreter to make sales to visitors because it is outside of his/her job. However, if you share your goals for the exhibition, such as collecting 100 business cards or conducting 30 business meetings, the interpreter may try to achieve them with you. Your words of praise can also affect the interpreter’s motivation. If you think he/she is doing a good job, throw in a thank you or compliment.

4) Ask your interpreter to be proactive in talking to visitors.

An interpreter will be the contact person at your booth. Ask him/her to speak positively to visitors who pass by your booth. As mentioned above, however, the interpreter is not your sales representative and should not be left to his/her own devices. Your motivation is what motivates the interpreter, so talk to visitors together.


 How to select an interpreter

1) Make sure an interpreter is at least business level.

2) Check reviews and experience about him/her.

3) Select the interpreter who has interpreted in your industry before.

How to use an interpreter

1) Give him/her some basic information in advance.

2) Have a meeting and with an interpreter before the show starts.

3) Share your goals.

4) Ask him/her to be proactive in talking to visitors.

These are the tips on how to select and use interpreters. Don’t just position his/her as someone who translates words, but rather as a member of your team, and ask him/her to contribute to the success of your exhibition to the greatest extent possible.