Planning and putting together a multilingual event is not an easy task. In order to have a successful conference or convention, careful planning must take place to keep every foreign-speaking guest on the same page. For this reason, we’d like to share with you four easy tips on how to create a truly inclusive event that encourages communication and deep engagement despite the possible language barriers.
Pick a suitable date & venue
Start choosing your conference dates well in advance for us to provide you with the best team of interpreters. In general, the more notice you give yourself, the wider the selection of available interpreters you will have. Aside from this, check event days for possible religious or ethnic holiday conflicts.
Location is just as important as picking the date for your event. Choose locations wisely so they’re accessible to travelers. For example, the Salt Palace is a great example in Salt Lake City. It's surrounded by hotels and extremely close to public transportation in case visitors didn't have access to a vehicle. Another thing to look for is obtaining one booth/room per outgoing language for your interpreters to use. These should be soundproofed and have clear visibility of the event.
Establish type of interpretation & languages needed
Most international conferences use simultaneous interpreting. This is the most commonly used and recommended type of interpretation service for large-scale settings. It requires highly experienced interpreters that can transmit the speaker’s message to the recipient’s native language in real-time. The interpreters usually work in a soundproofed booth with at least one colleague, which is why it’s important to select an appropriate venue for these services.
Aside from knowing what type of interpretation method to use, ask your guests in advance which language they are most comfortable with. Even if they are bilingual, listening to the language preferred by them will allow them to better absorb the presentation and make the most of the event.
Plan the minor details in advance
This is important for yourself as well as your interpreters. Being informed as early as possible about the timing and content will help interpreters obtain a deeper understanding of the event, which will enable them to transmit the desired message to your audience. There are many documents an interpreter can use to be better prepared for your event. This includes any agendas and background material. An example, memos on what the purpose of the event is, your speaker’s speeches, notes and/or power points, etc.
Think of your guests and provide them with written materials in their native language well in advance of the program, to allow for familiarization ahead of time. Make sure to minimize the use of any language that can exclude non-native speakers such as slang or in-jokes. Another thing to consider is the concept of punctuality varying from culture to culture. Starting times on your program need to be emphasized so each guest arrives at the desired time. For example: “Panel 4 starts at 6:00 p.m. sharp. Latecomers will be seated at the break.”
We hope these tips help you on your next multilingual event! If you are thinking of having a multilingual conference or convention for your business soon, see what people think of our conference interpreting here. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 801-381-9506 for an estimate on your next interpretation project.