Any experience in facilitation with the help of translators?

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    Marko Rillo


    Just found out that I will have to design a 3-day training / facilitation session to 20 individuals in Pristina, Kosovo. However some of the participants are not able to communicate in English at all. Hence I need to organize interpreter who would translate English-Albanian-English throughout the project.

    Has anybody done facilitation with simultaneous or consecutive interpretation before? What to recommend for the entire process – what to take into consideration during preparation? How much longer would process take? Are there any potential pitfalls to consider?


    Per Kristiansen

    hi Marko

    I have done it once (in Poland). It broke the flow a little bit, but not much, expect it to take a little longer but not much (if the translator is good). I becomes even more important that the storyteller points to his/her model in the storytelling.

    Happy to expand on this in a call if you feel like it

    Joyce Miller

    Hi Marko, virtually all of the training (although not LSP) that I run is in developing countries and emerging markets and I use translators to do simultaneous translation. Here are some tips that have worked for me:
    – make a glossary of terminology (e.g. metaphor, models, landscape) and discuss this in advance, 1:1, so that the translator understands precisely what you mean and will have prepared the correct translation
    – do as much visualisation as you can, in advance (so where you have task instructions, have this already prepared on a flipchart or Powerpoint in Albanian — in English as well in case you also need to refer to it)
    – if the translator is supposed to help you pick up on table discussions that will no doubt take place in Albanian, then best to prepare the translator in advance about what to look for so that the person can help to pull this out
    – finding a capable translator is key!!! Should be more than a person who can simply translate
    – I do a lot of work as a freelancer for the German Technical Cooperation, although I have not worked in Albania (only in nearby Montenegro); as GTZ does a lot of capacity-building on-the-ground with people, they tend to work with very able translators who are freelance and locally-based. I could possibly help in making the link to help you find a case you don’t already have this covered

    Hope this helps, Joyce

    Marko Rillo

    Hi Per and Joyce,

    Thanks for your helpful notes. I have an interpreter already for this project. Now its down to final preparations with him. :-)


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