Liaison interpreting

Liaison interpreting (also called B2B interpreting) is where professional interpreters facilitate communication between speakers of different languages in situations with a small number of participants. This method can be used to conclude business, sign contracts, launch commercial partnerships and create synergy between companies.

How does liaison work?

With liaison interpreting, unlike simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, each participant is “sat at the table” and takes part in the conversation. The professional – who always respects maximum confidentiality for obvious reasons of privacy – translates the conversation directly to the various participants. A maximum of one or two language combinations are usually used, without any technological support.

Liaison: more than just translation

Liaison interpreters must be highly specialised in their subject (commercial, contractual, institutional), with in-depth knowledge of technical and sector-specific terminology for a faithful translation. Analytical skills are even more fundamental, as these go beyond mere words, helping, for example, to pick up on the end goals of each party. Liaison interpreters do not simply relay terminology in a different language: thanks to their sharp intuition and vast knowledge of the participants’ respective cultures, they can read and interpret gestures and expressions and understand common figures of speech, including non-verbal communication. By combining the verbal and the non-verbal, interpreters are therefore able to communicate the overall meaning. More than just translation, this true linguistic mediation is decisive for a positive outcome in negotiations or conversations.

Situations and locations of liaison interpreting

Liaison interpreting is used in various business contexts: business-to-business (B2B) meetings, partnerships, signing of contracts, agreements and working alliances, company meetings, trade fairs, visits to sites or industrial areas, meetings with managers, commercial appointments, business lunches, purchases and sales of any kind and meetings between diplomats or politicians who speak different languages.