14 Dec 2022

What makes for a great interpreting performance?

The Best Performance on an interpreting assignment award is at the heart of our awards programme. It is open to both individual and team entries.

ITI is now inviting entries for the ITI Awards 2023 (deadline 31 January 2023).

In assessing submissions, no particular type of assignment or sector work is valued above any other – it just depends on the achievements of the individual or team concerned in getting the job done to a high standard. And, of course, our judges will take into account that fact that the nature of achievements across our award entries will be very different.

However, the following aspects of performance will be considered during the judging process.

Professionalism – the level of professionalism shown in preparing for the assignment and conducting themselves; dealing with colleagues (when working in a team), clients and other individuals involved with the assignment; providing a consistent level of service

Interpreters need to be able to balance meeting the needs of the client, the specific situation and sometimes the unexpected, with ensuring that they continue to comply with the ITI Code of Conduct and other relevant industry standards

Skills demonstrated – the depth/variety of skills required to do the work. For example, a conference interpreter may be required to use a variety of different techniques within an assignment – such as chuchotage, dialogue and on-stage consecutive interpreting

Subject matter – the challenges presented by the specific subject matter involved

The situation – how did this test the interpreter(s)? We have already seen how a conference situation might be demanding. Another example might be interpreting for a patient or in a courtroom setting which could be emotionally draining and traumatic at times. In certain situations, consistently conveying emotions as well as the meaning of words will also be very important.

Outcomes – to what extent does the assignment set an excellent example within the profession and promote high professional standards? Are there examples of specific positive outcomes, and feedback from the immediate client and other participants?

Meet previous winners in this category

Winner 2022: Asma Suleman
Asma Suleman.jpeg

Asma worked throughout the pandemic interpreting for patients at West Hertfordshire hospitals, mostly in maternity services which were some of the only services to remain open throughout. Asma supported some of the most vulnerable patients who were already scared to attend appointments due to fear of the virus, and who were unable to have family members with them because of the restrictions. Her supportive presence provided not just an interpreting service to patients but also helped to put them at their ease at a frightening time.

Winners 2021: Mike Downey, Salima Garti, Sean Davidson
Interpreting assignment winners 2021.jpg

The 2021 award for the best performance on an interpreting assignment was presented to a team of interpreters. Mike, Salima and Sean effectively delivered French interpreting services to the Welsh Government when they welcomed a delegation from Brittany, as they sought to strengthen partnerships ahead of Brexit. In a fast-paced itinerary, the interpreters assisted the delegation during press conferences for Breton media, cultural events and official dinners. The judges commended the fact that the team had been agile in their approach to deal with changing circumstances and a delegation that required differing levels of support at different times during the visit.

Winner 2020: Lauren Shadi
Lauren Shadi Interpret Assignment Winner 2020

The winner of the 2020 interpreting assignment award was Lauren Shadi, who the judges recognised for her work interpreting between a female asylum seeker held in custody on a charge of attempted murder and a psychiatrist who was making an assessment of her mental state. Challenges included reproducing the client’s emotions; their reluctance to talk; working professionally in the face of the client’s distress; and the setting – an open room where other legal visits were taking place.


The ITI Awards 2022 have now closed for entries and the winners will be announced at an online ceremony in the summer.

Look out for the launch of the 2023 Awards in the autumn.