What are expert networks? Expert networks are companies who facilitate discussions between their clients and industry experts. The vast majority of these discussions happen on the phone, though some happen in-person or via an email exchange.
In recent years, expert networks are experiencing a serious resurgence, with some clients paying upwards of $1300 USD for just 60 minutes of an expert’s time.
With that price point in mind, clients are understandably eager to glean as much information from the expert as they can as quickly as possible. There’s little margin for error as an interpreter, so it’s essential that you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as you enter the call.
Key things to know
If you are an interpreter assigned to one such call, here's what you can expect.
- Number of parties: 2. There will be one expert (who typically does not speak English) and one client (whose identity may not be revealed to you, but likely works as a professional asset manager or consultant). Sometimes the client may have more than one person from their team dialed-in.
- Affiliation: You can of course give your name if asked. But you should not explain that you are hired by Cadence. You should say you are simply serving the expert network. This is simply to prevent the confusion that may result considering none of the parties on the call were the actual organizers of interpretation.
- Objective of the call: knowledge sharing. The client has hired the expert network to source this expert for the simple objective of knowledge sharing. Imagine a New York hedge fund manager looking to investigate the Chinese dairy industry and wanting to speak with a factory manager of a daily farm in Inner Mongolia.
- Format of the call: interview. The call will be a series of questions asked by the client and answered by the expert. Sometimes these questions will be shared with the interpreter in advance. This is akin to an interview, but unlike a journalist interviewing a subject, the outcome of these interviews are shared often only within the client's organization. Hence, you should not necessarily expect a warm, cordial tone, as this is an "all-business" discussion. Since the English speaker calls the shots, you should be more proactive in clarifying/explaining things to the English speaker. Try to give a word-for-word performance of the non-English speaker's remarks, but you are also encouraged to help the English speaker whenever possible (for example, "did that answer your question or would you like me to ask the speaker to clarify his remarks?").
- Preparation materials: minimal. Most often, you will have the name and biography of the expert, and the industry (and possibly company names) being discussed. We recommend you review the English and foreign names of major companies participating in the industry, as well as industry-specific terms. In general, these interviews tend to be focused on business principles, not technical issues. Hence, common business terms like profit margin, market share, EBITDA, etc., are highly likely to be used. More specifically, check out this list of the most common questions we've seen.
- How to dial-in: landline is preferred. Try whenever possible to use a landline, not a cell phone line or Skype. In the job details, you should have the dial-in for the call, or one will be given to you shortly after confirmation of the call. Five minutes before the call is due to start, please dial-in. Recognize that both parties may not be on time, so kindly introduce yourself to both the English and non-English speaker as they arrive.
- How to log work: on our site. After the call, please report the duration of the call on Cadence's website by logging in and choosing the "Log Work" option.
- Recording: Under no circumstances can you record any portion of the phone call.
Want to listen to an example of a call that we created just for training purposes?
- Chinese-English (MP3, ~9 minutes long)
- Do you interpret in the first-person ("I", "we") or third-person ("he", "she")? We recommend using the third-person for any biographical details and first-person for any opinions. The majority of calls will begin with the expert introducing themselves. This portion should be done in the third-person. Subsequent parts of the call will ask for opinions; these are best rendered in the first person.
- Inserting yourself to clarify misunderstandings. If, as an interpreter, you can tell that the parties are having a misunderstanding, please insert yourself on behalf of the client to clarify. If your clarification requires a back-and-forth exchange with the expert, please explain to the client why you had to clarify something. Examples of this scenario include one party believing they are discussing US dollars and the other party believing they are discussing Euros.
If you have more questions: ask Cadence before asking the expert network. In no cases will you be allowed to contact the client (i.e., the English speaker on the call) in advance of a scheduled consultation.