I recently presented a version of a
popular session, in English, but
to an Italian audience. Here
are some tips for presenting in English as a foreigner…
- Plan to speak more slowly, so reduce
content a little bit from what you would present to an English speaking
audience. Practice the timing.
- Remove all slang and strive for simple,
short, sterilized sentence structures.
- Include illustrations wherever possible.
- Even though you’ll be speaking English,
try to have your slides translated into the local language. Google
and Altavista translator sites don’t really work for technical content,
so sit down with a translator who has knowledge of your topic. Make
sure to keep enough of your language in fine print or in the speaker notes
to remind yourself what each slide is about!
- If you don’t have time to translate
all the slides, translating only the slide titles and key points is much
easier and will still go a long way. For English phrases, choose
words that share the same origin as those of the local language.
- Speaking the local language at the
very beginning (e.g., for your introduction) shows some respect. Think
about how the reverse situation would feel to you. But unless you’re
a fluent speaker, most audiences who can understand English reasonably
well will prefer you to speak in English.