Last week, I was delivering a training program in Luxembourg and Germany and was exposed to something new—interpreters to assist me with getting the message of ergonomics to almost 40 industrial engineers. We have delivered a lot of training courses outside of North America, where language can sometimes be a barrier, but we have only taught individuals who understand English or have used translators.
The difference between a translator and an interpreter is that a translator repeats the trainer after every thought causing the trainer to stop and wait. (As you can imagine, it extends the length of the training significantly.) However, interpreters use a microphone system and attendees are equipped with headsets. The interpreters are trained to speak while the trainer is speaking. You would think it would be distracting, but it wasn’t, and the training content did not suffer nor did the time. The impact on the quality and speed of the training was huge!
I can’t say enough about how much of an impact this system had on the class (even some of my jokes landed this time!)