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Up for Interpretation

Ignite your Interpretation Services

Ignite your Interpretation Services: Make sure attendees understand every word during your event

by Wendy Helfenbaum

Your conference agenda may be packed with A-list speakers, but as more events welcome international audiences, you’ll also need skilled interpreters, translators and technology solutions so everyone is literally on the same page.


During pre-registration, ask attendees what language they’re most comfortable using. Then, evaluate what you need: Do you require simultaneous interpreting in real time, or someone onsite to translate PowerPoint presentations for daily news digests? Real-time interpreters work in a soundproof booth, and you’ll also need wireless equipment to transmit the feed to participants. Need to translate several languages? You’ll need a separate interpreter’s feed for each. Is your meeting highly technical? You’re best served with interpreters that have experience in your industry sector.


For translators, provide content as early as possible, and offer technical terminology that may be challenging to translate. "Put translation in right at the beginning of your plan,” suggests Mark Jessup, a Barrie, Ont.-based translator and director of translators at the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO). Consider your printing deadlines and figure a 10,000- word document takes five days to translate.

Provide accredited interpreters with the full program and teleprompter text if available, adds Caroline Napier, a Toronto-based conference interpreter and ATIO’s director of conference interpreters.

"Most professional conference interpreters have training at the master’s level, and can quickly grasp the vocabulary to constantly adapt to various situations and be able to encapsulate a message,” she says. In Canada, expect to pay between $700-800 and up per day for a qualified interpreter.

And don’t skimp on AV, because you want attendees to hear clearly.

Language interpretation and real-time captioning include all participants in your events, but these services can be expensive and logistically challenging, says Kirk Hendrickson, COO for wordly Inc. in Los Altos, California. The company’s AI app provides simultaneous translation without an interpreter or any specialized equipment.

“Wordly can be set up in minutes without sound booths and headsets. Attendees can see and hear the translation on their devices, and wordly provides access to 16 languages simultaneously for the cost of a single language,” says Hendrickson.

Worldwide Tech Connections (WWTC) recently brought its new remote technology to Canada. It delivers real-time interpretation of more than 78 languages using software as a service (SaaS) solutions.

“We provide software to facilitate remote simultaneous interpretation, meaning no more soundproof booths in the meeting room taking up space,” says Roberta Dexter Robidoux, business development specialist, Canada with WWTC. “Planners can sell more registrations in the space they save and reduce their carbon footprint by not having equipment and interpreters travel.”

WWTC also offers automated translation that can be displayed on screens and devices or listed via text-to- speech technology.

“Planners love this option when multiple languages are required for their group, as well as the captions for those with hearing issues. Audio visual companies love it because they no longer have to ship, build and manage soundproof booths or equipment to accommodate interpretation,” says Robidoux.

However, she doesn’t see software replacing interpreters, but rather enabling them to take on more work because they don’t have to travel.

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