Three things you should know about interpreting in Central America

 | Interpreter insights

Sharona Wolkowicz, the Calliope-Interpreters representative for Central America, shares valuable insights about how conference organizers can make the most of what this vibrant part of the world has to offer. Here are some tips on how to plan a successful bilingual or multilingual event in the region. 

What’s the best time of the year to hold a conference in Central America?

The answer to this question is: any time! Central America is the region of eternal spring and summer. With average temperatures ranging from 20ºC to 26ºC (68ºC to 79ºF) in San José, 17ºC to 21ºC (63ºF to 70ºF) in Guatemala City, and warmer weather throughout the year in the rest of the region, it is always a welcome respite from colder climes. If you are considering extending your business trip to take in some sightseeing and nature tourism, the dry season might be the appropriate choice. The region is blessed with lush vegetation and rich biodiversity, which may be enjoyed more fully between December and April. So consider adding one or two days to your visit and enjoy some of the beautiful sites the region has to offer such as Antigua, the ancient capital of Guatemala, the Arenal Volcano and the cloud forests of Costa Rica or Granada in Nicaragua. However, that is also peak tourist season, so hotels and conference venues are usually busier and rates higher than at other times of the year.

The rainy season – May to the beginning of December– may be a smarter alternative if you are on a tight budget or cannot squeeze in any sightseeing. It is worth noting that most Central American countries have micro-climates with temperatures and rainfall varying greatly depending on altitude and distance from the coast. It is always a good idea to check weather patterns in the specific country before setting a date for your conference.

Antigua

Can good interpreters and equipment be sourced locally?

Yes, there are some excellent interpreters in the region. As you would expect in Spanish-speaking Latin America, the main language combination found in Central America and the Caribbean is English-Spanish, although the region is also home to a number of first-rate interpreters with active French, Portuguese and German. Other languages can be sourced from nearby countries, mainly the United States or Canada. It is always best to hire your teams well in advance, as good interpreters get booked up very early. That is where Calliope's expertise, both at the local and global level, comes into play. With our wide-ranging network of consultant interpreters, we can staff any bilingual or multilingual conference, anywhere in the world, regardless of the language combinations required.

In addition, there are some high-quality interpretation equipment providers who can supply ISO-compliant booths across the region. Do book early, however, to avoid a last-minute scramble. This is another area where Calliope can provide the solutions you need, helping you get the best value for your money, while minimizing your meeting's carbon footprint.

What is the best way to recruit interpreters and equipment providers in the region?

Although most hotels will offer their clients a package deal including interpretation services, that is far from the best way to select and hire your interpreters and interpretation equipment providers. When it comes to language services, hotels will usually go for the lowest bidder, to the detriment of quality, as their staff are not necessarily aware of the vital role of interpreting in multilingual communication.

Consultant interpreters, on the other hand, are able to tailor the interpretation service to your specific needs and select the best teams of interpreters for your event, taking into account the subject matter and other specific considerations. They are also the right people to advise on equipment rental, given their experience and knowledge of the market. All too often, clients readily accept what appears to be a good deal from a hotel only to regret it at their leisure.

When organizing an event with interpreting in Central America:

  • Start planning early to be sure of securing your chosen venue, good quality interpreting equipment and the services of the best, local interpreters
  • Check the local micro-climate of your proposed conference location
  • Contact Calliope’s local representative in Central America, Sharona Wolkowicz, for local knowledge and access to a global network of interpreting expertise and experience.

Thanks to its invaluable combination of global coverage and local knowledge, Calliope-Interpreters is in a unique position to help with any bilingual or multilingual event, regardless of size, location, or language combinations. Contact us and we will be glad to assist you with your interpretation needs wherever your conference is set to take place.

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