Interpreters, Are You Ready To Take Off?

Turkish association of conference interpreters offers an in-booth checklist to promote team work among technicians and interpreters.

Photo credits: Luigi Luccarelli

As part of an effort to work more closely with equipment suppliers as highlighted in a previous article, the Conference Interpreters Association of Turkey ( conducted a survey in November/December 2016 to gather information that could be used for a short, practical checklist. The response was good – 76 interpreters and 56 owners/managers/technicians of companies supplying SI equipment replied.

There were two sets of questions, with those aimed at interpreters formulated by interpreters, and those for technicians written with the help of fellow technicians. Questions centered on expectations, complaints, social interaction, perception of performance, and quality of service. Respondents were asked to rate each item on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being ‘completely irrelevant’ and 5 ‘extremely relevant’.

The results were announced at an event called “One, Two, Sound Check”, held in Istanbul on January 13, 2017 and co-organized by TKTD and AIIC Turkey. At the conference, the interpreters’ association promised to inform all members about the results and take actions to improve the situation.

In the following six months, two member meetings, one in Ankara and another in Istanbul, were organized to present survey results and discuss concrete actions. As a result, TKTD drafted an “in-booth reminders list” with points on booth manners for interpreters and reminders vis-à-vis the expectations of technicians (greeting and thanking technicians, tidying up before we leave, handling the equipment carefully, etc.). The checklist was prepared in consultation with SI equipment providers both unofficially and officially, and was launched at the first General Assembly meeting of TETSED (association bringing together SI equipment providers and stage/sound technicians) where TKTD explained the rationale and use of the checklist, and invited members of TETSED to benefit from it by placing the checklist in booths during setup. TKTD also briefed its members about the use of the list leading several of them to volunteer to act as brand ambassadors, introducing the list at assignments for demonstration purposes.

The checklist is a 14x21 cm (small enough to fit into the headphone case SI equipment providers use and big enough to be read easily by interpreters) two-sided PVC card with a short chain that can be hung onto a suction cup (there is a hook on the suction cup, but the chain can also be directly attached to the hole on the cup itself, which makes the whole card a single piece, preventing it from getting lost) attached to the inside of the front window in a booth. There is a QR code on it which, when scanned, directs the interpreter to TKTD’s web page that shows the Turkish and English versions of the checklist. The creative concept used for the visual is a flight announcement (inspired by the Turkish word “kabin” which means both booth and cabin; the fact that all Turkish Airlines flight codes start with TK, and that reminders are hopefully read before “takeoff”).   

The checklist serves several purposes:

  • raising the awareness of TKTD members and non-members on booth manners and relations with technicians
  • building the image of TKTD as a professional organization in the eyes of non-members (since the booths are used by non-members as well)
  • assuring the technical team that they are listened to and taken seriously

More than 350 of the initially printed 400 checklists have been distributed to 19 SI equipment providers. TKTD asked members to have a picture taken with technician(s) and the booth if they see the checklist hanging in the booth when they arrive at work. The pictures are then posted on the association’s Facebook page with special thanks to the technicians and the owners/managers of the SI equipment provider for contributing to the joint effort.  

When asked about the impact of the checklist, technicians replied saying that it was funny and a good way to initiate a conversation with interpreters, and that it improved overall communication with them. Some said that they are now doing a lot less tidying at the end of the day.

Below are visuals of the checklist in English.

Recommended citation format:
Bahar COTUR. "Interpreters, Are You Ready To Take Off?". May 31, 2018. Accessed July 2, 2020. <>.