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5 Tips for Organising an Event With Simultaneous Interpreting

The process of organizing a multilingual event can be stressful, and all organizers want to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. We’ve prepared a list of five tips that will help you if you’re throwing an event that requires simultaneous interpretation.

Simultaneous interpreting is one of the most challenging forms of linguistic activity – and it is also the most common type of interpreting. It involves the interpreter translating speech into another language at the same time as the speaker speaks. This type of interpreting is most commonly used at conferences and seminars, where the organizers need to take into account the need for specific technical equipment: booths for interpreters, microphones, headsets, etc.

1. Sometimes, knowledge is not enough

Most Latvians would say, to some extent, that they know two or three languages – Latvian, English and Russian. However, many younger people have little to no knowledge of Russian, while Generation X and Boomers are likely to have better knowledge of Russian instead of English. Millennials are the age group having a decent level of command of both languages, although their “knowledge” might come up short when dealing with more complex spoken word that needs to be perceived and processed in the matter of seconds.

Another thing: it is generally much easier to understand a foreign language when it is written, because vision comes into play and recognizes the spelling of the word. In the case of a spoken text, you have to rely on your hearing only. We know from experience that, at events where simultaneous interpreting is available, people who are less confident in their language skills will gladly put on a pair of headphones and enjoy the event without the extra struggle. It allows them to understand everything being said without stress and extra effort, to feel good and comfortable. Simultaneous interpreting thus increases attendance at events, as people don’t have to worry about not understanding the speaker.

2. Plan in advance

Be sure to book an interpreter well in advance – preferably a month or so before the event. This will guarantee that you get the best professionals – if you leave it to the last minute, you risk finding out that most of them are booked up. This is particularly important if you need an interpreter who specialises in a narrow topic. Of course, it’s not impossible to find someone at the last minute – but it is certain to add to the overall stress level of organising an event.

3. Interactio app – simple and convenient

Today, you no longer need a truck-load full of equipment to provide simultaneous interpreting. Here’s to modern technology! Remember to give a heads-up to your guests that they will be able to listen to the translation on the Interactio app: remind them to download and install it on their phone ahead of time and to grab a set of headphones with them on the day.

The app provides you with a number of advantages. The guests will be able enjoy listening to translated presentations conveniently on their own devices, and they will have the option to follow the presentation remotely – all that they need is an audio connection to the event on their phones. Which means that you won’t have to worry about distributing and collecting expensive headsets. A true win-win.

4. The costs of simultaneous interpreting

Be sure to make room in your budget for both the salaries of interpreters, as well as the cost of technical equipment. Bear in mind that simultaneous interpreters work in pairs. Their job requires extreme concentration, and they need to take a break every 20 minutes to be able to perform at their best. Interpreters are usually paid by the hour, and they determine their own hourly rate: the longer the event, the higher the cost.

The cost of technical equipment will be lower if you choose the Interactio app, but even then an Interactio technician will be present at the event to make sure everything goes seamlessly.

And another detail: if your event includes catering, please be sure to include meals for interpreters and the technician in your budget. A good meal is a sure way to help keep them at their best!

5. Send materials to interpreters in advance

Given the complexity of simultaneous interpreting and the level of concentration it requires, the interpreters will highly appreciate if they are provided with the written speeches of your speakers in advance. This will give them the opportunity to prepare by studying the subject matter, the speakers’ style and means of expression, and the message of the speech, thus ensuring higher quality output on the day of your event.