If you are visiting our blog this week to read about Cognitive Debriefing, please check back next week. We find this topic way too important to release on our blog in the middle of a short week (due to our national holiday), and by the way, Happy Independence Day!


Summer is upon us, and many of you are most likely planning to travel. If you are among the lucky, you may even be planning to experience a different culture or country. Have you ever experienced what it is like to be surrounded by a language or culture that you do not understand? If you have traveled abroad to a country that speaks a language other than your own, you most likely have met with the frustrations and difficulties that come with encountering a language barrier. These frustrations can be multiplied when you are traveling for business without the aid of a local expert. In this instance, hiring an escort interpreter or travel interpreter may be to your advantage.

Escort Interpreting Explained

In escort interpreting, the interpreter is there to interpret (or orally translate) everything that a client says into the target language and also to interpret everything else that is said from that foreign language into the client’s language. In other words, the escort interpreter is there to make sure both the client and those around the client understand everything that is communicated.

An escort interpreter (sometimes called travel interpreter or escorting interpreter) can behave almost as an assistant, helping clients to navigate while they are traveling on business trips. These interpreters may accompany clients to a single meeting or to a handful of meetings.

Escort/travel interpreters are not just interpreters, but often act as cultural liaisons, responsible for everything from ordering food to closing multimillion dollar business deals. This type of interpreting is often used for meet-and-greet, an interview, a sightseeing tour, helping foreign guests to visit a site/city, event hosting and so on.

An escort interpreter may be hired for an individual or a small group of people. An escort interpreter may be hired by you when you are planning to travel to a location where there is a language barrier, or by you when you are hosting visitors who speak another language.

Escort interpreting is typically more informal than the other forms of interpreting, and may be performed via simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, depending on the situation. The escort interpreter is there to make sure that the client(s) and those interacted with understand everything that is being said.

What To Look For In An Escort Interpreter

When hiring an escort interpreter, you want to be sure that your interpreter is a knowledge expert on the local language, culture and locations.

1. Language(s) Expert

Knowing a language is one thing, but knowing the local idioms and dialects is quite another. When hiring an escort interpreter, make sure your escort interpreter is not only bilingual, but also fully fluent in both languages. Ideally, you want an escort interpreter that was raised as a native speaker in both languages.

2. Culture(s) Expert

Beyond language, there are also an abundance of locally understood nuances that go into any culture. You want an escort interpreter that is well versed in both your and the target’s culture. A good escort interpreter has had in-depth experience living in both cultures and can interpret cultural differences back and forth seamlessly to avoid any cultural confusion. In this role, a qualified escort interpreter can give advice and help clients navigate cultural divides to save face or the embarrassment that can come from cultural misunderstandings.

3. Location(s) Expert

It should go without saying that when hiring an escort interpreter, you want one who knows in detail the area to be traveled. A good escort interpreter can not only get you from the airport to your hotel and the scheduled meeting, but also can recommend various places to eat and even give you background information on the location along the way.

4. Personality, Professionalism And Trust

You typically have a lot of contact and close interactions when using an escort interpreter. It is important to look for an escort interpreter that is friendly, personable and that you trust, since you will be depending on them to be your mouthpiece as you travel. You will also want an escort interpreter who maintains professionalism throughout the interactions.

Escort interpreters can help make your international trip a success, giving you the confidence and self-sufficiency to navigate any location for business.

What experiences have you had travelling internationally for business? Have you ever used an escort interpreter? Have you wished you could have? Please share your experiences in the comments section below, and as always please like and share this blog post socially.

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