Conference interpretation is very important when holding conferences that feature people who speak different languages. It is the only way to ensure that your message is heard if you are to make an impact and cement your credibility. However, planning for conference interpretation can be complex and a daunting challenge. Yet, planning every detail well is essential for successful interpretation. Consequently, successful interpretation adds up with other aspects such as invitations and promotions to make your conference a success. Failure to plan can only lead to problems on the big day and most likely an injured reputation afterwards.
So, how do you ensure that conference interpretation is a success during your event? Follow these 6 steps that outline your way to the best results in effective communication for all participants.
Step 1: Identify your interpretation needs
The very first step is to define what your conference interpretation needs are. You can start by identifying the languages that your intended attendees speak. This way, you can decide how many interpreters you will need as well as the language combinations needed.
In addition, you need to decide the type of interpretation that your conference requires. You can choose between simultaneous interpretation and consecutive interpretation or both depending on the set up of your conference. For instance, if you plan to have a workshop in between speeches, you might need to employ both forms.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind here is whether your conference will be onsite or virtual. If it is an on-site conference, you will need interpretation equipment. Moreover, if you are planning to live stream the conference for your global audiences, you will need to employ video remote interpreting services as well. On the other hand, if you are planning for a virtual conference, video remote interpreting will be enough.
Step 2: Choose the right videoconferencing platform/ interpretation equipment
The videoconferencing platform that you choose matters a lot when it comes to holding a multilingual virtual conference. At the very least, you need a platform that can support video remote interpreting. There are two types of video conferencing platforms. One, there are those that don’t incorporate an interpretation system. Some examples include Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and GoToMeeting among others. With such platforms, one needs an additional tool to be able to provide video remote interpretation. The second types of platforms have remote interpretation capabilities incorporated. Platforms such as InterpretCloud and Zoom fall in this category. With such platforms, you can have remote interpreters join the conference remotely to provide interpretation services.
If your meeting is taking place in a physical location, you need to decide early on the type of equipment that you will need. Ideally, translation equipment comprises headsets, microphones, transmitters and receivers. However, interpretation booths come in different sizes. The size of your conference will influence the translation booths that you choose. Table-top booths are ideal where the size of the conference is small since they don’t provide complete sound insulation. They also take less time to set up. On the other hand, full booths are ideal for a bigger venue with many attendees. They are more complex to set up so they take a significant amount of time.
In addition, it is good to note that interpretation services have become a part of many businesses in the recent past. Unless you have your own interpretation equipment, it is good to book the equipment in advance to avoid last minute rushes.
Step 3: Select the right interpreters
When it comes to conference interpretation, you need interpreters who can do more than just speak another language. For starters, you need subject matter experts who are able to understand the scope of the topic in question. Additionally, the interpreters need to understand both the source and target languages well including details such as colloquial words, word forms, sentence structure, culture and the like. It is also important to consider the different dialects in a particular language, and narrow down the specific ones that your audiences speak.
For these reasons, you need to vet your interpreters very well so that you can land the best ones that will ensure successful interpretation. In addition, don’t assume that you will have the best interpreters waiting for you. Start this exercise well in advance so that you can secure them in good time.
Step 4: Prepare interpretation support materials
While you can land interpreters that are highly qualified, it is important to ensure that they are well prepared for the job ahead. In this case, you need to provide as many details as possible about the conference to your interpreters. Ensure that you prepare speeches for all the speakers and visual aids that will be used. The purpose of this is to help your interpreters, whether they will be interpreting remotely or on-site, to familiarize themselves with all the aspects of the content as well as other activities that their services will be needed.
Step 5: Take care of the logistics
Your conference logistics will depend on whether it is happening virtually or on-site. If you are holding the conference onsite, the logistics will include finding a space that can hold interpretation booths. You need to keep in mind that the booths need to be positioned in a way that they give interpreters a good view of the speakers without interfering with the attendees.
If the interpreters will be interpreting remotely, you will need to ensure that the speakers and interpreters have a good connection that is fast and reliable. This is keeping in mind that you are dealing with a huge traffic if the attendance is huge.
Step 6: Provide support
Just because you prepared well, don’t assume that the conference will be without any mishaps. It is good to have technical support on standby in case a problem arises. Have a way that the interpreters can signify when an issue arises. In case of video remote interpretation, have a communication method that the remote interpreters can use to notify you of any issue.
With proper planning, chances are that your conference interpretation will be a success. For this to happen, make sure that you follow the above steps. Start by identifying your interpretation needs and then choosing the right tools. Follow that with hiring the right interpreters and providing them with the conference material for ample preparation. Lastly, take care of the logistics and keep constant communication with the interpreters during the event.