Organizing a Multilingual Conference

Today’s globally connected world means that, more than ever before, we are finding it necessary to communicate with others who don’t speak our language. This can cause potential issues with understanding concepts and ideas, finding solutions to problems, or when sharing information.

Conferences are exactly the kind of event where people usually come together to discuss ideas, concepts and information but when this involves people from all over the globe there must be a comprehensive organization in place to ensure that everyone can access the information in their native language to enable better understanding.

Running international events, with foreign speakers and multinational audiences, requires planning interpreting budgets, organizing audio equipment and engineers, and distributing multilingual documents both prior to and during the event.

To help you successfully organize a multilingual conference, we have put together a list of the main steps to follow:


1. Multilingual Conference Venue

Finding the right venue for your conference is the vital first step towards a successful conference but it is often undervalued by organizers.

Choosing the right venue can save you time and money on audio equipment, give you additional support in organization of your event and ensure that attendees are happy with the venue and facilities.

If you plan to use a venue that doesn’t have built-in interpretation booths you will need to ensure the venue is large enough to accommodate all the booths you’ll require (they are usually about 2mx2mx2m) and tend to be installed towards the back of the room so that interpreters can see the on-screen presentation and the speaker. You will also need to ensure easy access for setting up, time for sound-checks and so on.


2. Interpretation Sound Checks and Set Up

Installing audio visual equipment for a conference that includes interpretation booths is not a quick job. You will need to allow adequate time for this based upon the number of booths you require and checks you plan to complete.

Installation specialists, sound engineers, interpreters, speakers and so on will need time to complete checks before the event to ensure everything is working as it should.

Schedule a time, at least a day or two in advance, where you can meet with engineers and test all the equipment well ahead of the actual event to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the day.

During this advance check make sure everyone is given all the information they need to complete their tasks and walk them through the conference itinerary so that all the fine details and potential issues can be ironed out in advance.


3. Preparation for Interpreters

You should aim to provide all your interpreters with speeches, notes, supporting evidence, presentations, and event schedules as early as possible so that they have time to research, address any potential issues and translate the speeches well ahead of the event.

Keep in touch with them leading up to the event and make a final check-in about a week before to confirm everything for the big day.

On the actual day of the conference meet your interpreters early and ensure they have everything they need, allowing time to do a last sound and equipment check.

Remember, interpreters are professionals who are used to multilingual events but they will require all the information ahead of time and should be informed of any last minute changes at the earliest possible convenience to allow them to perform at their best.

Following the above steps will help ensure a successful conference for the organizers, interpreters, speakers, and attendees.

Allowing adequate time for any changes in presentations or speakers will guarantee interpreters have sufficient time and materials to do their job professionally and will also ensure that attendees are happy with the information they garner from the event.

If you would like to discuss your plans for a multilingual conference or event, please contact the Creative Word team here and we’ll be happy to advise you.

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