Magazine article Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal

Tipsheet

Magazine article Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. The IRE Journal

Tipsheet

Article excerpt

If you're interested in training abroad, here are some tips from the veterans:

Be mindful of the cultural differences. "During my first training in Finland, I did my intro to why CAR is so cool and no one said anything," says Jennifer LaFleur, database editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I asked for questions, and no one said anything. Later, someone pulled me aside and said that they were not comfortable asking questions and that if they didn't like the session they would just leave."

Expect to cover less material and keep things simple. If you don't speak the language, you'll only be able to cover half your material. Trainers say to prepare materials well in advance and get them translated by a reputable translator. If it's important, have that translation checked.

At the same time, check out your interpreter carefully. A bad interpreter can make the experience miserable and your best material either dry or nonsensical as Rosemary Armao, managing editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, found out.

"I was telling Bosnians about a series on chicken farmers done by The (Baltimore) Sun and I just lost them. I could see them looking at each other strangely, kind of scratching their heads. The translator had made it chicken-farmers, as in roosters with hoes. I stopped the class while we all sorted it out and we roared with laughter. But it took a big chunk out of presentation time."

Go over with your interpreter what you'll be talking about ahead of time. If you mention a grand jury, you have to explain it. …

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