What you need to know about interpreting at a Shareholders Meeting

What you need to know about interpreting at a Shareholders Meeting

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1. No Two Companies are the Same
When I showed up to interpret my first shareholders meeting, I was full of nervousness. I had done as much homework as I could by watching youtube videos of speeches made by directors, reading documents from well-known companies’ meetings, and wading through posts by other interpreters that recounted their horror stories. But nothing could have prepared me for that day. Namely because, it was no big deal. It was just a couple men sitting around a table, one talked, the others listened to him read a report which had been prepared well in advance. So, all that preparation I did was basically useless because we are a small informal company. So, you need to get to know the actual company that you are interpreting for.

2. Know your Documents
Read the financial statements, business reports, and whatever else they give you over and over. You need to do this, not just to grasp the vocabulary, but also to understand where the company is and how they are doing financially so you know what kind of conversations are likely to come up.

3. Speed is Key
Most of the reports given in a shareholders meeting are done as a formality, not for the edification of the participants. Everyone has already seen the report. So, this part can go very fast. Whatever language you are interpreting into, make sure to practice saying these long, complicated words out loud as fast as you can so your tongue can get used to them.

4. Numbers!
Practice, oh practice your numbers. You will be dealing with astronomical numbers (to the average person) and the difference between 7,000 and 700,000 can mean one very angry client. When dealing with English to Japanese, try to get a feel for the room. If your client is freely using the ミリオン, then you can also switch, which will make your life easier.

Well, that’s all the tips I have to offer. If anyone else has had to deal with IR or Shareholders meetings, be sure to tell me about it in the comments.

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