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What to Expect on the Day of an Interpretation Event

A multicultural event requires all the same type of planning that any grand event would require — from space rental to invitation lists, from catering preparation to scheduling the day. But on top of all that, it requires precision planning to ensure that all attendees can understand one another.

Conference interpreting, or interpreting at international summits, requires highly trained professional interpreters whose focus is seamless multilingual communication. And while many attendees may understand a number of different languages — and even speak it fluently in some cases — complete clarity between all parties is of absolute necessity. And for that, certified professionals are required.

Conference interpreting can be either consecutive or simultaneous. Consecutive interpretation means that someone speaks, then the interpreter interprets the speech into the target language, and then the next person responds. But simultaneous interpretation is precisely what it sounds like: the interpretation happens at the same time as the original speech. Conference or summit interpreters can relay the speaker's message with total clarity, adopting the tone and meaning of the original speaker.

Once you have determined what type of interpretation your event requires, you can begin planning for the type of professionals and equipment you will need to make everything run smoothly. Equipment that you may need for your event includes booths, interpreter consoles, mixers, transmission systems, headsets, and microphones. You will need at least one booth per output language, and the number of microphones and headsets will depend largely on the number of interpreters you will have to work at the event.

Booths must be soundproof and have a silent ventilation system in order to ensure total clarity for your listeners. It is in your best interest to use equipment that has been standardized. It's also wise to employ qualified technicians to set everything up for you and to run it during your event.

Interpreting Equipment: What It Is and What It Does

Given all of these necessities for running a smooth multilingual event, you can expect that you will need considerably more set-up time prior to the event in order to troubleshoot all of the equipment and get all of the interpreters into position. You must also be prepared throughout the event to troubleshoot any issues with the equipment, which is why it is vital for the technicians to remain on hand throughout the entirety of the conference or summit.

But more than anything, you should expect the need for patience. Even with perfect simultaneous interpretation, there is a bit of a delay in understanding, and things run ever so slightly slower than they would be with everyone speaking the same language. Still, with all the proper pieces in place, you should expect a fulfilling, exciting event.

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About Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications. Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

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Meet the Authors

Brian Gruters

In addition to writing blogs for us, Brian Gruters manages translation projects for corporate clients. He started with Language Translation in 2015.

Brian brings several years of experience as a Spanish to English translator to his work. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

As a writer, Brian is mostly interested in language, science, and environmental conservation issues. He writes for various publications, as well as his blog, briangruters.com.

Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist originally from Troy, Michigan. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications.

Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Chris Maroulakos

Chris Maroulakos has worked at Language Translation since 2007, and he is currently the director of operations. He has been a blogger and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear since 2008, and he also worked as a blogger and associate editor for NBC San Diego's SoundDiego music blog.

Chris holds certifications in SDL Trados Studio for Translators (Advanced Level), SDL Trados Studio for Project Managers, and SDL MultiTerm for Translators and Project Managers. He is Inbound Certified by HubSpot and also has certifications in Localization and Localization Project Management from California State University Chico, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Localization Institute.

He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Communications and with minors in Italian and International Studies.