Conference and event organizers have so many tasks to juggle. Rooms, speakers, travel, accommodation, equipment, food, printing – the list seems endless.
So, what if interpreting is another one of the tasks you need to organize for your event or conference? What can you do to prepare the right way?
Here are my 3 top tips for preparing to work with an interpreter at your next event:
1. Set aside a budget
Last-minute arrangements and insufficient budgets are the perfect recipe for a disaster, yet this happens all too often.
To allocate a budget, you need to see some sort of guiding figures. Please visit my “How much does interpreting cost?” for rough idea of how much interpreting service costs.
Each interpreter has their own terms of service and their fees may vary. Also, don’t forget that costs such as equipment and technicians are not included.
2. Start planning as early as possible
Your planning should start as early as 6 to 9 months before the date of event (not when there’s a week to go and you’re in panic mode!).
Why? Because competent interpreters may be booked as early as 6 or 9 months prior to the date. And because there are certain things you might wish you knew earlier, as I’ve encountered such cases many times.
Consider the questions you need to answer: dates, places and times of the event, what languages are required, the subject matter, the nature of the event, how many delegates will be attending, how many rooms will be there that involve interpreting service. And many more.
3. Educate your speakers
Your speakers need to understand how they should work with interpreters. You can help them with a bit of education.
It’s flattering when someone comes up to an interpreter to say how amazed they are at what we can do – simultaneous interpreting. However, there is much they could learn about how they can work better with us.
Simultaneous interpreting is not reading minds. Interpreters speak while listening to the speakers. It is different from consecutive interpreting: it is not expected to output 100% word for word.
It’s considered good when approximately 70% of what’s been said is conveyed. If an interpreter can output more than that with good or better quality, that’s excellent. But even 90% isn’t really achievable.
Consecutive interpreting allows interpreters to focus only on listening before speaking, so it’s a different ball game. If you would absolutely prioritize completeness more than speed, I suggest you opt for consecutive mode, when the situation allows.
Many of the events such as conferences are international. International events often require multilingual interpreting service. For a successful organization with a multilingual team of interpreters, efficiency is the key.
Efficiency starts with knowing what are the right questions to ask the interpreters and preparing the answers for the questions the interpreters would ask, even before they ask.
Find out more about how best to work with an interpreter
I have put together a free questionnaire for you to download [LINK].
Before you contact an interpreting service provider, a consultant interpreter or an agency, read through and try to answer the questions as clearly and thoroughly as you can.
Going through the questionnaire should help you put things in perspective, and it prepares you to be in the right frame of mind for when you contact an interpreter.
It’s not a piece of cake to organize a fleet of interpreters offering a single or multilingual interpreting service. And yet it’s crucial to get this right, especially if you want to run an international-class event.
My aim for the questionnaire is to make things clear and break down exactly what you need to know and do.
I know your schedule will be busy and that you will have a lot of tasks to juggle. So, don’t struggle: if you have any interpreting questions, I’m here to answer.
Get in touch and let’s talk about interpreting for your next event.