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Helping interpreters interpret optimally

For the English version: Smart Speaking at International Meetings

What speakers and delegates can and should do to help interpreters interpret them optimally:

  • Switch microphone on by pressing button and ensure the light is on before speaking.
  • Speak into the microphone. Do not tap or touch microphone.
  • Speak at a reasonable pace.
  • Speaking is better than reading.
  • If a prepared text is to be read, provide an advance copy to interpreters.
  • Refer to paragraph numbers, not pages in official United Nations documents.
  • Give the paragraph references before quotations, not after.
  • When speaking keep earphone far from the microphone to avoid screeching feedback.
  • Keep mobile phones in “off”, “silent” or “vibrate” mode.

The simultaneous interpretation of proceedings is provided by the United Nations with the purpose of facilitating communication, in light of the fact that there are six official languages of the United Nations. Only the speech or intervention in the original language is authentic and constitutes an authentic record of the proceedings. In case of any inconsistency between the interpretation and the speech or intervention in the original language, the latter shall prevail.