Seven Tips For Seven Pitfalls In Providing Interpretation Services

Seven Tips For Seven Pitfalls In Providing Interpretation Services

Often the need for interpretation at an Event is an afterthought. Planning is well underway and the Organiser gets an email from the client asking for the main speaker to be translated on the day of the event.

There’s a hurried call to the Production Team and the Interpretation Service is contracted out to a third party.

Tip Number One

When using RSI Platforms in particular, it’s essential that the provider is an integral part of the planning process.

Every Event has specific needs and it’s important that the outline and structure of the agenda is shared early in the process so that the simultaneous interpretation flow can be accurately determined.

There is an assumption that all that’s needed is for the event to be set up on the platform and the interpreters booked. However, all of the players - speakers, platform operators, interpreters and delegates needing translation - need to be coordinated, properly managed and assisted.

Tip Number Two

Appoint a project manager to run the Interpreting Service.  Someone who will manage all aspects from configuring the platform, engaging the facilitators, liaising with the event speakers, running rehearsals and even operating the system on the day of the event.

If the project manager is also going to be the operator of the RSI system it’s easy to forget some basic technical requirements, which if neglected can cause severe problems at the crucial time of delivery.

Tip Number Three

Ensure that the computer/laptops of the interpreters and RSI platform operators adhere to the minimum requirements. It’s also essential that the connection to the Internet is via an Ethernet Cable and that headsets are used to avoid outside interference

Consideration should be given to a back up plan for power outages and internet connectivity.

A project manager should also be aware of the technical challenges faced by remote interpreters so that assistance can be provided.

Another common misconception is that Interpreters can simply turn up on the day, log in to the platform , open their microphones, listen to the speaker and deliver a flawless translation. That might be the case for a casual conversation but as mentioned above, every event has specific requirements.

Tip Number Four

Ensure that the interpreters are provided with full briefings well before the day of the event. These should include  information on agenda, the topics to be discussed, speakers and any kind of preliminary materials that might help them prepare for their task, e.g. scripts, presentations (especially those with a lot of figures ) and specific glossaries.

In the realm of Virtual and Hybrid Events, especially,  Interpreters and Speakers alike are involved with technology.  They cannot  abdicate their personal responsibility for using the conference platform and the RSI platform.

Tip Number Five

Make sure interpreters and speakers are comfortable with the software or the tools they will be using.

Make sure they are connected to the internet by Ethernet cable and they know how to check their broadband speed.

For speakers who  are remotely connected,  advise that they need to use a proper microphone rather than the integrated mic on their computer or laptop.

Speakers should also be  made aware that their speech has to be translated and be encouraged to adjust the pace of their delivery and be careful to avoid jargon.

For the whole delivery to be a success the delegates or attendees of the event who need translation will be involved in technology either using their mobile device or a web browser or embedded stream.

Tip Number Six

Ensure that the attendees receive clear instructions on  how to access  the simultaneous interpretation, in all the languages that will be made available, in good time before the event.  They may need to download an application on to their mobile device or log in to a web browser.  It’s not something that should happen moments before the event takes place. It’s best practice to have hostesses helping the on-site attendees and an online help desk for those who connect remotely.

Murphy’s law dictates that “everything that can go wrong will go wrong”! If something goes wrong during the event,  it doesn't matter how quick your response, it's always too late.

Tip Number Seven

The best way to avoid all pitfalls is to accurately plan all of  the interpretation aspects of your event (and for that matter - entire event). Ask for references and demos before choosing the interpreters particularly if the event has a highly specialised. Practice sessions and full rehearsals are essential.  Very few people can master software at the first attempt.

On the day of the event it’s essential to have the Interpreters log in at least 30 minutes before the start of the event to run Internet and sound checks and be ready to provide a welcome message to delegates as they log in and search for their appropriate channel.