Everyone has an accent. No matter where you’re from, you sound foreign to someone—even in your native language. However, as an interpreter, you need to ensure yours doesn’t interfere with your ability to communicate. While you don’t need to erase your accent, modifying it can definitely make your job easier. And that’s especially true when it comes to remote interpreting.
The Unique Challenges of Remote Interpreting
Over-the-phone (OPI) and video remote interpreting have created new opportunities for interpreters around the world. Yet even though it’s easier than ever to accept an assignment, remote interpreting has its challenges. Here are just three you need to be aware of:
- A wider pool of clients means a wider pool of accents. When you connect remotely, you may encounter unfamiliar accents that are difficult to understand—and the other parties may think the same about yours.
- Remote communication requires more mental energy than in-person conversations. (Yes, Zoom fatigue is real.) Your accent, which may not cause a problem in person, may add an additional hurdle for listeners who are struggling to maintain their focus.
- Technical glitches such as poor audio and video lags make any conversation taxing. Add in an interpreter with an unfamiliar accent, and one or both parties may be left wondering if they misunderstood what you said.
3 Tips to Improve Your Accent
Now that you know why accents can pose a problem for remote interpreters, let’s take a look at a few techniques that can improve yours. Again, you don’t need to scrub your regional accent or sound like a native in your second language. These are just tips to help you improve your communication skills.
- Listen to News Broadcasts in Your Target Language(s). Broadcast journalists are trained to speak in an “neutral” accent to ensure the largest number of listeners can understand them. You don’t need to sound exactly like one, but smoothing out your pronunciation like they do will make it easier for listeners to understand you.
- Practice Speaking Clearly. No matter your accent, speaking clearly is an essential component of interpreting. Practicing your pronunciation in your target language(s) can greatly improve your interpreting skills—both remotely and onsite. Try recording yourself and take note of where you can make improvements.
- Take Accent Reduction Lessons. If you prefer to work with an instructor, consider taking accent reduction lessons. Actors, public speakers, and foreign language learners from all backgrounds have benefited from the extra help.
Remote Interpreting with Boostlingo
Once you’re ready to accept remote interpreting assignments, you need a platform that makes it easy to connect with clients. That’s where Boostlingo comes in. Our interpreting platform let’s you manage your onsite interpreting schedule, accept remote assignments, and track your hours. All you need is an internet connection, computer or mobile device, and a webcam.
Think Boostlingo is right for you? Contact today to start your free trial!