As Covid-19 forced the world to move from onsite to online meetings, coffee breaks were replaced by “you’re on mute” announcements. Some companies had to scale down their workload considerably while others decided to wait the pandemic out. Many companies and event organizers were unable to work with their usual suppliers and were forced to find new ones.
How do you choose the right language service provider especially at a time when there is little or no physical contact between clients, event organizers and interpreters? Here are a couple of steps you can take to ensure the success of your virtual events.
Determine needs: Be very clear about what you need. Providing information about the duration, subject matter and, most importantly, format of your meeting is crucial to organize a seamless event. You will need a reliable service provider who can help you select the best multilingual video conferencing platform. Most language service providers use platforms such as KUDO, Interprefy, Interactio and Zoom. Check whether the interpreters have prior experience working with these platforms. Some web conferencing platforms such as KUDO certify interpreters based on their knowledge and experience.
Technical setup: It is also a good idea to get information about the technical setup of the interpreters. For example, are they working from a hub which is a fully equipped studio dedicated to virtual meetings? Hubs provide high speed internet connections, uninterrupted power supply and sound insulation to ensure the best quality in virtual meetings. Hubs also offer technical support to the participants.
Working conditions: Respect the working conditions of the interpreters; industry-wide rules are there for a reason. Interpretation is a highly complex task involving several processes such as listening to the speaker, processing their message and translating it into a different language simultaneously. Research shows that online meetings create extra mental load for participants and especially interpreters. Therefore, the interpreters as well as the audience may need more frequent breaks than they would in face-to-face meetings. Working days may be shorter to compensate for the more strenuous working environment and more interpreters may be needed per language.
Be realistic: Do not ask for an interpreter who has 200 days of experience working with multilingual platforms and who is an expert on uranium extraction in tropical climates. What you really need is a language professional who is flexible and tech-savvy and who takes their job seriously. They will have experience with online platforms, state-of-the-art equipment and the skills to prepare for specialized topics.
Online and hybrid meetings are here to stay. Finding the right partner and knowing what you want are key to ensuring the success of your virtual meetings. An experienced partner will support your smooth transition to hybrid or virtual meetings.