Home Interpreters Make All The Difference Ergonomics Done Right®

Written by: humantech on March 29th, 2012

by Christy Lotz, CPE

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!)

One response to “Interpreters Make All The Difference”

  1. Kevin says:

    An interesting experience Christy. My international training delivery has been in two forms: English and French (I am bilingual in French). I see a value added benefit when delivering in French to a French-speaking group, especially for situations where clarification is needed or to more directly answer questions. Being able to communicate in the local language is a great benefit. Other times, I have had up to 19 different languages in the class, but we delivered the training in English. The key to success here is: 1) Simple content in slides, highly visual 2) Keep your verbal explanations as concise and direct as possible.

    Speaking of interpreters – last year I had a unique experience of doing an assessment on the production line for a hard-of-hearing operator. The line supervisor interpreted for me using sign language.

    Regardless of who your audience is, what is also interesting is that simple drawings and hand gestures go a long way when explaining basic ergonomic principles – they really are universal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *