24 August 2021

Conference interpreting: why confidentiality is key

Categoria: Linguistic Services

Conference interpreting is the service required when you need to provide spoken translation between one language and another during an event.

This type of interpreting is suitable for conferences and events of many different sizes (from international summits to small seminars) and in multiple sectors (scientific conventions, financial results meetings, etc.), both private and open to the public.

Particularly in private conferences, one of the fundamental requirements for any good conference interpreting service is confidentiality. It applies to all information associated with the event, from locations to dates, participant names, documentation, comments, images and so on.

Confidentiality is an essential component of conference interpreting. Not only is it a sign of professionalism, but it also protects interpreters from potentially severe repercussions.

While confidentiality is seen as a base requirement for any interpreter across their activities, in some cases interpreters will be asked to sign specific Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) designed to ensure that confidentiality is 100% guaranteed for a specific job.

Clearly, then, confidentiality is a non-negotiable for anyone offering conference interpreting services. But it’s certainly not the only requirement. Let’s take a look at some of the others.

What makes a good interpreter?

Conference interpreting is a delicate and complex task that requires interpreters to have a broad range of attributes.

For starters, conference interpreters need to possess excellent knowledge of their working languages, familiarity with interpreting techniques and proven experience in the sector, which is usually expressed in interpreting days.

On top of this, interpreters need an in-depth understanding of the subject of the meeting. Before the assignment, interpreters must always make sure that they are adequately prepared to convey the message in the target language, without getting tripped up by technical jargon or very specific subject areas.

This detailed preparation is an integral part of every conference interpreting assignment, and includes things like research, creation of glossaries and terminology banks and plenty of practice (if you’d like to read more about this, check out our article on preparing for online conference interpreting assignments).

And as we said before, all of these aspects need to be underpinned by absolute confidentiality. Conference interpreters cannot share any of the information they become aware of during an assignment.

While an interpreter’s credentials can easily be checked by taking a look at their qualifications or experience, the same cannot be said for their ability to keep things confidential.

However, there is one way for clients gain greater assurances regarding confidentiality: checking if the conference interpreter is a member of a professional association such as AIIC, which requires its members to abide by its regulations.

The AIIC Regulation

AIIC stands for the International Association of Conference Interpreters, an association of 3,000 members who are committed to promoting “high standards of quality and professional integrity”, as can be read on the website of AIIC Italy, the Italian arm of the association.

In pursuit of its aim of guaranteeing international conference interpreting quality standards, AIIC has produced a regulation, or rather a Code of Professional Ethics, that all its members must comply with.

The requirement of confidentiality from interpreters is set out in Article 2 of the regulation, as shown below:

  1. Members of the Association shall be bound by the strictest secrecy, which must be observed towards all persons and with regard to all information disclosed in the course of the practice of the profession at any gathering not open to the public.
  1. Members shall refrain from deriving any personal gain whatsoever from confidential information they may have acquired in the exercise of their duties as conference interpreters.

Being a member of the AIIC means adhering to all of the provisions set out in the Code of Professional Ethics, including the confidentiality requirement. Working with an interpreter who belongs to the association is therefore a guarantee not just of their professionalism, but also of their confidentiality.

At Way2Global, we take extreme care when selecting our interpreters, checking that they meet the aforementioned criteria and following the strict procedures set out in our ISO certifications.

This allows us to ensure that we work only with native-speaker interpreters with specific professional specialties. Confidentiality is guaranteed by the agreements and contracts that our interpreters sign – another way of ensuring that our clients can rest easy when it comes to the interpreting service for their event.

Need a conference interpreting service? Get in touch!


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