I speak enough French and Spanish to edit and prompt comfortably in those languages, and can teleprompt others like Portuguese, German, and Italian at a professional level by simply listening in. I also do teleprompting for Mandarin, in Pinyin, which means the words are phonetically spelled with Roman characters.

However, today the client didn’t prepare for this. So, I loaded the Chinese characters into the teleprompter, and that part worked fine. (Thanks Apple!) But as you can imagine, I was faced with pages of these characters, not recognizing a single word.

It turns out, the trick to do teleprompting with Chinese characters was to focus intently and listen for punctuation, pauses and the beginning of sentences. (And I mean listen reeeeeal intently.) Surprisingly, it worked great!

With any non-English script, I always recommend a native speaker be there, in addition to the talent. This lets someone listen for the smoothness and any errors that the talent might not notice while presenting.

Update: months later, I ended up doing the same trick to do teleprompting in Arabic for a car commercial. Very fun!

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About Neil Tanner

Neil began teleprompting in 1993. He saw that speakers were much more comfortable with the right teleprompter, operator, and training. He’s since served thousands of delighted celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and other great speakers. Neil acquired better gear and associates over time to better serve more clients. We get comments from clients saying that they appreciate how engaged our team is, how we're their "secret weapon." We only want you to have the best experience on-camera and on-stage.