The role of the trade fair interpreter

Are you attending a trade fair as an exhibitor or buyer in Milan or in another northern Italian city like Verona or Bologna? Would you like to give your client a professional image and avoid any miscommunication? Would you like to rely on a trade fair interpreter to enable you to express yourself at your best, do business and increase your turnover? Look no further! I am Eleonora Monoscalco, an interpreter with years of experience in trade shows, B2B meetings and business negotiations.

Did you know that there are different professional figures at trade fairs and different types of interpreting may be used? If you are curious to find out the difference between interpreters and hostesses/stewards or between liaison/B2B and consecutive interpreting, just read this post!

Although there is a clear difference between interpreters and hostesses/stewards, unfortunately there is often a tendency to confuse these roles. On several occasions I’ve been contacted for an interpreting service at a trade show only to find out that, in reality, the client needed something very different! So let’s clear up any confusion. What does a trade fair interpreter do and why can they help you in communicating with your foreign clients and in your business/B2B negotiations?

An interpreter is a professional who orally “translates” your interactions with foreign partners and customers. If you are an exhibitor, the trade fair interpreter can work alongside you in your negotiations with foreign clients and partners, translating each turn of phrase subsequently, after taking brief notes that enable them to render the message accurately and completely. This technique is known as “liaison interpretation,” “business interpretation,” or “B2B interpretation,” and is the most widely used type of interpretation at trade shows. In the case of very complex negotiations and extremely long speaking turns, it is possible that the interpreter may have to note down almost everything that is said, using a technique called “consecutive interpretation,” which is similar to stenography for the note-taking technique.

If you are an exhibitor, the trade fair interpreter also helps you welcome foreign customers who approach your stand by giving them basic information, allowing you to concentrate on other more important activities. Alternatively, if you are a buyer, the interpreter will be with you throughout the fair, accompanying you from stand to stand and walking several kilometers with you. If you want, the interpreter can keep a copy of your schedule and help you organize your route in a functional way, keeping walking to a minimum.

Those described above are the main duties of a trade fair interpreter, but they are not the only ones. To give another example, you may need to organize a conference or workshop and require the interpreter to perform simultaneous translation (either from an isolated booth or using a system of small radios and microphones called bidule).

But what if you did not need translation in the strict sense but were looking for people that could prepare coffee, handle accreditation at the trade show, and welcome visitors (not necessarily in other languages)? In that case, you wouldn’t need an interpreter, but a hostess or a steward.

Usually a distinction is made between “basic” hostess/steward (who does not speak other languages) and hostess/steward “with language support skills.” I advise against hiring hostesses/stewards for important negotiations and business deals, but only and exclusively to welcome visitors and give them basic information. For important negotiations, I recommend that you always rely on a professional trade fair interpreter, who will ensure precise and clear communication, solid preparation, and maximum confidentiality of information concerning your business.

In addition to those mentioned above, there are a number of other professionals who can be hired at trade shows: from actual bartenders and waiters/waitresses in the case of buffets to “walk-ons” or “models.” Needless to say, it is absolutely not reasonable to ask such professionals to translate and interpret.

But how could I be useful to you at the trade show? I am an interpreter for English, Italian and Spanish and I offer liaison, business, trade fair, consecutive, and simultaneous interpreting services. I am for you if you need help in negotiations and meetings and want your communication with your partners and clients to be flawless and professional. I help you express yourself comfortably in your native language and make your message accurate in the language of your counterpart.

Why choose me as your trade fair interpreter? Because trade fair interpreting was precisely the mode that inspired me to embark on my career as an interpreter, which I do with passion, thorough preparation and enthusiasm! In addition to the fact that the world of trade fairs has always fascinated me, I have many years of experience in the field and several references from satisfied clients that you can check out on my website.

interprete in fiera milano inglese italiano spagnolo

I started working as a trade fair interpreter for English, Italian, and Spanish in Rimini while I was attending my Master’s Degree in Interpreting in Forlì, and I haven’t stopped since. My first trade show was Rimini Wellness, where I worked as an interpreter for Spanish and Italian for the owner of a gym in Seville who was looking for suppliers to buy new equipment. Speaking neither Italian nor English, the interpreter figure was essential for him. It was also thanks to my contribution that he laid the foundation for several long-term collaborations with Italian and international companies.

Another fair I particularly enjoyed working at was Ecomondo, where I assisted a Spanish company (Enerlan Solutions S.L.) as an interpreter for Spanish and Italian during B2B negotiations with Italian companies. In the words of Iago Parga, environmental engineer at Enerlan Solutions, “we were very pleased with Eleonora’s work (…) Without her we would not have been able to achieve the same results during this particularly important event for us.”

Trade shows I’ve worked at as an interpreter for English, Italian and Spanish during B2B meetings and negotiations this year (2023) include Marmomac in Verona (for ICE, Institute for the business competitiveness of Castile and Leon), the IDS (International Dental Show) in Cologne, Germany (for Marathon Italia), and Tuttofood 2023 in Milan (for several Italian exhibitors from the Mantua and Parma areas).

interprete in fiera verona inglese spagnolo italiano

If you are attending a trade show as an exhibitor or buyer and need a trade fair interpreter to help you communicate efficiently, increase your turnover and do business with foreign partners and clients, look no further. And if the trade show in question is not held in Milan, don’t worry-I am available for national and international travel. I am ready to follow you wherever you need me! Contact me without any commitment for a free quote at or +39 320-2663422.

Alternatively, if you are an aspiring interpreter and would like to find out how to start working in trade shows in Italy, feel free to sign up for my webinar organized in collaboration with Translastars: Please notice that the webinar will be held in Italian and applies to the Italian market only. Also, Italian must be in your language combination as an interpreter.

The webinar has a really affordable cost to allow everyone to participate. Among other topics, we will cover the main exhibition hubs and sectors in Italy, the different interpreters (and non-interpreters) required at the fair, how to draft a professional quote, how to find your first clients, good practices at the fair, and much more!

Also, at the end of the webinar I will share a small Italian-English-Spanish business glossary and you can ask me any questions you want about my experience as a trade fair interpreter! You can attend live on February 21, 2024 or sign up and watch the video on demand, whenever you prefer. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me and I will answer them!

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