These are some of the questions clients frequently ask me. I am happy to hear from you anytime and help you with any questions you might have.

What’s the difference between translating, interpreting, and conference interpreting?

Simply put, translators work with the written word while interpreters work with the spoken word. Translators translate texts usually from a foreign language into their native language. Interpreters on the other hand interpret (‘translate speech’) between two or more languages. Conference interpreting is one form of interpreting, alongside public service interpreting, legal interpreting or interpreting in a medical context.

Conference interpreters indeed mainly work at conferences, but also at business meetings, technical training events and formal dinners.

How much is interpretation at my event going to cost?

The overall cost of interpreting is made up of a number of different factors. These include the mode of interpreting (simultaneous, consecutive, business), venue, languages required, duration of the event and how soon you book the interpreter.

Professional conference interpreters always charge daily rates. Thorough preparation prior to the event is always included in this rate. For events in places other than my home base Düsseldorf, travel costs, travel day allowance and a per diem apply. I am also happy to organise a full team of interpreters or provide interpreting equipment (booths, headphones etc.) for your event. Simply get in touch so I can find the best solution for your needs.

How much is a translation of my text going to cost me?

For translations, I charge per word of the original text. The price again depends on the type of the text: A translation of a technical text requiring a lot of background research will be more expensive than a preface in everyday language. Handwritten or otherwise illegible texts will also be more expensive to translate.

Who are your clients? Do you have any references?

Over the past couple of years I have worked for businesses, international organisations and NGOs in the EU, North America and Asia. As I guarantee absolute confidentiality to my entire clientele, I cannot disclose any information concerning individual clients. I can provide you with references from senior colleagues at any time, and with client references after consultation with the client.

I know my Chinese partners don’t have much English – even the young representatives who have to do all the talking. I don’t want my partners to lose face because we can’t communicate effectively before and after the actual event. Could you help us with this?

I am aware of this problem. I am happy to accompany you when you pick up your guests from the airport and handle check-in for them. I am also glad to organise social programmes with short trips or meals I know your clients will love.

Do I need simultaneous or consecutive interpretation for my event?

All events are different. The size of the audience, number of languages spoken and equipment at the venue are some of the factors that determine which interpreting mode is most suitable for your event. I am happy to make you an offer specifically for your event.

I know that people in Hong Kong and Beijing speak different types of Chinese. Which one do you speak?

The term ‘Chinese’ indeed refers to a language family rather than one single language. Apart from non-Chinese languages spoken in China such as Tibetan or Uyghur, ‘Chinese’ is split into different regional languages often misleadingly called ‘dialects’. Mandarin (‘Standard Chinese’) is the sole official language, but it is as different from Cantonese, which is spoken in Southern China and Hong Kong, as French is from Spanish. I speak accent-free Mandarin based on Beijing and Taiwan standard. Being the official language, it is understood by practically all Chinese and spoken fluently by the vast majority. Mandarin is also one of the official languages of the UN.

In written Chinese, two different writing systems are used: Traditional characters, used in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese Communities, and simplified characters which were introduced in the PRC in 1956 and are also used in Singapore and increasingly among Malaysian Chinese.

That said, even users of simplified Chinese usually consider traditional characters more beautiful and elegant. I use both systems.

I need interpreters for several languages for my event. Can you help?

Most definitely – having access to a wide network of colleagues working with a wide range of languages, I am happy to help you organise a team of interpreters for your event.

What did you learn during your conference interpreting training?

At the University of Leeds, I was taught by practicing conference interpreters experienced in teaching the subject. Building on my native/near native language skills in English, Chinese and German, my training included all interpreting techniques (simultaneous, consecutive, whispered) as well as technical translation. My diploma is a professional qualification recognised by international organisations such as the EU and the UN. The EU interpreting services play a decisive role in the training at Leeds. Interpreting and Translating are not regulated professions, which is why anyone may market themselves as an interpreter or translator even if they have not completed any professional training. I feel that my training helped me to develop strategies to act flexibly and diplomatically in difficult situations and to be able to provide top-notch service at all times. My training also included terminology preparation, presentation techniques and stress management strategies. It is precisely those skills that make all the difference between a good and a brilliant interpreter.

Professional training is also one of the important conditions for admission to professional associations in the UK and abroad such as the ITI, IAPTI or German VKD and ATICOM, particularly for commonly used conference languages.

What are A, B and C languages?

Conference interpreters refer to the languages they work (‘working languages’) with as follows:

Their ‘A’ language is their native language or main working language.

‘B’ languages are their active working languages from and into which they can interpret.

‘C’ languages are their passive working languages, i.e. languages from which they interpret but do not interpret into.