English may be the world’s lingua franca, but not all business professionals can speak it. If you’re holding a business meeting with colleagues from around the world, you’ll likely need a corporate interpreter to help you communicate. However, to ensure that your meeting runs smoothly, you need to prepare. Here’s an overview of the steps you should take.


Choosing a Corporate Interpreter


First, you’ll want to ask participants which language(s) they need. Even if someone speaks English well, they may still prefer the assistance of an interpreter. This will also help you prevent confusion and misunderstanding during the meeting.


Next, you’ll need to choose the dialect. This ensures the interpreter uses the correct vocabulary and understands the business and cultural norms in the region. For example, say you’re doing business with a Brazilian company. A European Portuguese interpreter may use terms that have a different meaning in Brazil, and they may not understand the norms in South America.


If possible, you should choose an industry-specific interpreter. An interpreter who knows your industry will understand the terminology and protocols, and will likely provide a more accurate interpretation.


Preparing Your Corporate Interpreter


After you’ve hired an interpreter, hold a pre-meeting with them as far in advance as you can. This will give them time to prepare and do any necessary research.


Your pre-meeting should include an overview of the purpose of the meeting and what you plan to discuss. If you you’re giving a presentation, send them a copy to review. And be sure to cover any concepts or terms that the interpreter isn’t familiar with.


Preparing Your Participants    


Interpreting takes time. That means participants should plan to block out additional time in their schedules to prevent have any conflicts. This is especially true when you use video remote interpreting due to audio, video, or internet connectivity issues that can arise.


If participants are working from home, encourage them to take the meeting in a quiet space and use headphones to block out noise. Ask them to do their best to keep spouses, children, and pets from entering the room. Interpreters need to maintain their focus, and distractions make it more difficult to do their job.


Choosing an Interpreting Platform


Unless you plan to have an interpreter come onsite for an in-person meeting, you’ll need to choose an interpreting platform. Although platforms like Skype and Zoom work well for business meetings, they weren’t designed with interpreters’ needs in mind.


Fortunately, Boostlingo 4.1 includes features such as Zoom integration and four-way video conference scheduling to meet the needs of both business professionals and interpreters. It’s easy-to-use, secure, and GDRP compliant. You’ll also gain access to our Boost Professional Interpreter Network of linguists who speak over 200 languages.


Want to try it for yourself? Contact us to start your free trial today!

We all know that accuracy is one of the most important canons in the interpreter’s code of ethics – whether we are talking about medical or legal interpretation.

There are many aspects to accuracy, such as maintaining the register, style, and tone of the speaker, asking for pauses if necessary, taking efficient notes, and correcting errors if they occur. People who are not familiar with how interpreting works may also assume that in order to be accurate, interpreters have to interpret everything literally, or word for word. In many cases, it is possible to find the exact equivalent, especially when a speaker uses straightforward, non-metaphorical language. But some phrases, such as idiomatic expressions, or even individual words, are harder to interpret – and literal, word-for-word translation can lead to misinterpretation. But just because a word or a phrase is considered to be untranslatable – that is,  no equivalent can be found when it is translated into another language, it doesn’t mean it can be simply omitted – you just have to work a little harder to figure out how to translate the meaning behind such phrases. And because here at Boostlingo we love a good linguistic challenge, we put together a list of some fun untranslatable words and phrases for you to enjoy! 


  • Sem’ pyatnitz na nedele (Russian)  – literally translated to ‘for someone to have seven Fridays in a week”, this expression describes someone who  isn’t reliable, changes their mind often or doesn’t  keep their promises. 
  • Chī dòufu –  “To eat someone’s tofu’ (Chinese) means to flirt with someone. 
  • Tsundoku” (Japanese) –  buying books and letting them pile it up instead of reading them. 
  • Dar calabazas a alguien (Spanish) – literally translated as ‘to give someone pumpkins’, this phrase means to reject someone or to turn them down. 
  • “Peregar” (Russian) – the smell of last night’s alcohol on somebody’s breath. 
  • Gluggaveður” (Icelandic) – literally translated as ‘window-weather’, this words describes the kind of weather that is nice to look at through the window but not nice to be out in. 
  • Veshat’ lapshu na ushy – “to hang noodles on one’s ears” (Russian) means to tell lies to someone.
  • Abbiocco (Italian) – this word describes the sleepy feeling you get after a big meal.
  • Saru mo ki kara ochiru (Japanese) – literally translated as “Even monkeys fall from trees’, this proverb means that everyone makes mistakes. 
  • Pålegg (Norwegian): Anything and everything you can put on a slice of bread to make an open-faced sandwich. 


Are you interested in learning more untranslatable phrases? Check out this TED Talks blog where TED translators share some of their favorite difficult-to-translate idioms, this video where TED translators share even more untranslatable words and phrases and this list of illustrations containing untranslatable words and their meaning.


Although legal interpreters are typically associated with the courtroom, they serve a vital role when it comes to community outreach. Organizations that provide legal services, advice, and education rely on interpreters to communicate with community members who are deaf or have limited English skills.


Why Work with a Legal Interpreter?


Hiring a legal interpreter can be costly. Organizations that have limited budgets may be tempted to ask bilingual employees or other community members to interpret for them. Yet they don’t always make the best interpreters. Why? Because it takes more than being bilingual.


Bilingual employees may have a strong legal vocabulary in both languages, but unless they’ve studied interpreting, they may struggle to keep up. Important information could be lost or misinterpreted.


Relying on community members, especially family members, is an even poorer choice. Community members not only lack training, but may be bias and could purposely mis-interpret or leave out information to protect a friend or family member.


However, you can avoid these problems by working with a legal interpreter. Not only are legal interpreters fluent in English and another language, but they:


  • Have completed specialized training to perform their job.
  • Understand the legal process and state laws.
  • Are neutral parties who have agreed to follow a code of ethics established by the state.


As you can see, a qualified legal interpreter can actually save you time and money by getting the job right the first time. And even if you’re still worried about budget constraints, there are a few ways to lower your expenses.


Interpreter Costs and Government Agencies 


If you work with a government agency, you won’t need to pay for an interpreter. It’s the agency’s responsibility to provide an interpreter either in-person, over-the-phone, or via video remote.


According to the Department of Justice, government agencies shouldn’t rely on community organizations to provide an interpreter, serve as interpreters, or pay for any reasonable accommodations.


In fact, government agencies must use neutral and accurate parties as interpreters during an investigation. If they rely on community-provided interpreters, it may trigger ethics questions around receiving a “gift” of interpreting from the organization.


The Benefits of Remote Interpreting


If you’re not working with a government agency and need an interpreter, remote interpreting is a more affordable alternative to bringing someone onsite. While in-person interpreting is often best, it’s not always possible. Fortunately, over-the-phone and video remote interpreting make it easy to communicate with someone who has limited English skills, without paying the additional expenses. Plus, video remote makes it possible assist someone who is deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL).


Legal Interpreting and Boostlingo


Boostlingo’s interpreting platform makes it easy to schedule an onsite interpreter through your language company. You can also call an interpreter from the Boostlingo Professional Interpreters Network (BPIN) on-demand via video remote or over-the-phone. The interpreters in our BPIN speak over 200 languages, including ASL.


Want to learn more about how Boostlingo can help? Contact us today to schedule your free demo!



Independent contractors make up a vital part of the language services industry. An interpreter or translator typically works with numerous organizations and is more akin to a small business owner than an employee. However, the California AB5 bill, which is designed to protect employees from being misclassified, threatens to prevent interpreters from doing their job in the state.


Here’s a look at AB5 and the impact it could have on interpreters and companies, if the bill isn’t modified.


California AB5: A Short Recap


The bill was introduced in response to the court decision on a lawsuit filed by Dynamex employees. (Former workers claimed they were classified as independent contractors, but were treated like employees.) In order to prevent employers from misclassifying employees, AB5 requires companies to use the ABC test when hiring a contractor in California. The worker must:


  1. Be free from the entity’s hiring control;
  2. Perform work that is “outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business”; and
  3. Be in an “independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.”


Exemptions include doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, and hairdressers among others. But interpreters and translators were left out.


The bill went into law on January 1, 2020, and includes a grace period for companies to comply until 2021.


California AB1850 and Interpreters


After receiving pushback from several groups (including the language industry), the California Senate introduced AB1850 on January 6, 2020 to address the problems with AB5. The new bill includes an exemption for translators, but not interpreters.


On June 11, 2020, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales acknowledged on the assembly floor that the bill still needed work. But the California Senate has yet to announce any changes for interpreters. This poses a major problem for people who need an American Sign Language (ASL) or foreign language interpreter.


Why Interpreters Matter


Access to an interpreter isn’t a nice to have—it’s a legal right. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing must have access to communication in press conferences, courtrooms, and schools under the American With Disabilities Act of 1990. People with limited English proficiency are also entitled to an interpreter in these settings.


If organizations are barred from hiring contract interpreters, people may not have access to one when they need assistance. This could prevent millions of California residents from fully participating in their communities.


What Can Companies Do?


Ideally, the California Senate will add interpreters to the list of exemptions before the grace period ends. However, if you work for a company that hires contract interpreters, remote interpreting may offer a short-term solution in some instances. Since the bill only applies to workers in California, many organizations have started seeking contractors who work remotely in other states.


Think remote interpreting may be right for you? Contact Boostlingo to start your free trial with our unified interpretation management platform.