Guide: Hosting Conferences That Require Interpreting

If you’ve never hosted a multilingual conference before, you might be wondering how best to arrange interpreting services for the big event. Hosting conferences that require interpreting require a few extra steps that when thought about in advance can ensure a successful conference experience for all attendees.

Maybe you’re planning for a meeting a few months from now, or you may have just found out that you’ll need interpreters for a conference taking place tomorrow.

In any case, here is a brief guide for your first conference interpreting experience so you can make the process as easy on yourself as possible. Hosting conferences that require interpreting doesn’t have to seem like a daunting task. Working with a professional conference interpreting provider is the first step to success.

There are a few things you can expect your conference interpreting services provider to ask in order to determine the best solution for you. Here are a few examples to make sure your multilingual conference is a great experience for you and all the attendees.

Where Is the Conference Taking Place?

This is likely the first question your conference interpreting provider will ask you. Conference interpreting is different from other types of interpreting primarily because this mode of interpreting requires electronic interpreting equipment and soundproof interpreting booths. In order for interpreters to successfully render the floor language into the language or languages of your attendees, they need to have the proper technological set up. And in order to set up the equipment correctly, your conference interpreting provider needs to know a lot of details about the conference venue.

Working with a professional interpreting provider will provide a seamless experience for all attendees and ensure that the equipment is set up well in advance and working properly. Likely the interpreting agency will provide an on-site project manager as well as an AV technician to work out all the technical details so you don’t have to think twice about the set up.

How Big Is Your Audience?

This is another question you will have to answer because the size of your audience greatly influences the type of interpreting that will serve you best. If you have exact numbers, that’s great, but don’t worry if you don’t have a detailed roster – a rough estimate of “a dozen” or “two hundred or so” is just fine.

In a smaller setting without strict time constraints, consecutive interpreting may be your best bet, especially if you anticipate a lot of interaction between speakers of different languages. Since the interpreter will interpret after each speaker finishes, this method is excellent for question-and-answer sessions, or multilingual negotiations. It is important to know that consecutive interpreting will take approximately double the time.

For larger audiences, simultaneous interpreting is a great solution. Using specialized audio equipment, interpreters transmit the contents of a speech or presentation with just a few seconds’ delay, without requiring the speaker to pause or wait for the interpretation.

Your interpreting provider will work with you to create the best solution for your specific conference needs.

How Many Attendees Need Interpreters?

Once you’ve determined the approximate size of the total audience, the next concern is how many of them actually require interpreting services, and in what languages. Again, an estimate is fine here, but the more information you can provide, the better.

Depending on how many people require interpreting – and how many languages are involved – you might need a different size of interpreting booth, or perhaps different electronic equipment. Either way, your interpreting provider will walk you through the potential solutions to decide what will best work for your needs.

As you approach the date of the actual event, you should provide more accurate numbers so that your interpreting partner brings the correct amount of equipment for all attendees.

What About Logistical Details?

Conference and meeting venues usually have rules and policies in place regarding setup for events. And since interpreting equipment requires setup time, you want to be sure that all the equipment and personnel are in place before the event begins, rather than delaying a presentation because the service entrance or loading dock was locked.

The easiest way to prevent this kind of mix-up and ensure good audio service during your event is to connect your interpreting provider directly to the team in charge of venue security and the AV system. There will be a lot of technical questions to sort through and it’s best to leave those details in the hands of the professionals.

How Much Time Do You Have?

It is essential to allow enough time before and after the conference to get everything done. Before the conference begins, you’ll want to be sure there’s time for assembling the interpreting booths, as well as setting up a system to pass out headsets to attendees that need them.

You should be aware of any time limits at the end of the conference – has someone else rented out the space after you’re done? Do they lock up the building at a certain time? These are the details you’ll need to answer so that you have enough time after the conference for interpreting booths to be dismantled and packed up without interfering with other events.

These are just some of the questions that you will need to answer. Every conference has unique requirements and scenarios. And while it may be your first time arranging interpreting services for a conference, an expert language services provider like INGCO International has the experience and know-how necessary to assist you throughout the entire conference.

Contact us today to learn more about how our interpretation services, including interpreting equipment and trained audio engineers, can ensure that your multilingual event is a success.

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