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What is Conference Interpreting?

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Imagine the World Economic Forum or NATO conferences without interpreters – chaos and confusion would surely ensue. Conference interpreting is a specialized field that facilitates global dialogue by breaking down language barriers and enabling communication. 

Planning a conference for a multilingual audience can be stressful. To ensure a successful event, you should consider suitable interpreter services and technology. A conference interpreter or multilingual captions can ensure that your speakers are fully understood by attendees regardless of language. 

At Boostlingo, we help event planners prepare and support conferences with multilingual audiences. This blog will detail key information about conference interpreting, how to find the right interpreter services, and how to facilitate a multilingual event successfully.  

What is Conference Interpreting? 

Conference interpreting is where professional interpreters facilitate communication between speakers and audiences at various types of events, ranging from business meetings to international conferences. This crucial service allows all participants to converse in real time, regardless of the language they speak. Because of the proficiency required, conference interpreters typically have completed a post graduate training in conference interpreting.

Conference interpretation at SXSW 2024 available on YouTube
Conference interpretation in Spanish and Portuguese at SXSW 2024 available on YouTube

Differences Between Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpreting  

Knowing the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting will help you plan for interpretation services at your event.     

There are two main modes of interpreting: simultaneous and consecutive. Simultaneous interpreting involves interpreters translating the speech from the source language as it happens, usually through headsets provided to the attendees, interpreting either from onsite booths or from their home office, thanks to remote simultaneous interpretation platforms. Consecutive interpreting, on the other hand, requires the speaker to pause regularly, allowing the interpreter to translate sections of the speech to the audience.   

Given the demand for accuracy and instant comprehension, professional conference interpreters are highly experienced and often specialize in medical, legal, or technical fields. Understanding cultural nuances and mastery of the source and target languages is key to the profession.   

Event planners and language service providers increasingly leverage AI translation and remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) technologies to cater to a global, multilingual audience. However, the nuanced expertise of human interpreters remains the crème of conference interpreting.     

Key Considerations:  

  • Professional interpreters ensure accurate, in-context communication.  
  • Simultaneous and consecutive interpreting match different event needs.  
  • Human expertise is preferred despite advances in AI interpreting technology.  

Types of Interpreting Technology  

If your event requires a simultaneous interpreter, consider interpreting technology as an affordable, scalable way to engage a multilingual audience.   

An Interpreters View of Remote Simultaneous Interpretation for an event
An interpreters view of Remote Simultaneous Interpretation at an event

RSI platform   

Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) platforms specialize in providing fully multilingual experiences for your audience. An RSI platform integrates translated chats, polling, and presentations with live remote simultaneous interpreters. The benefits of an RSI platform include:   

  • Low Latency: Ensures that the interpretation is delivered almost in real-time.   
  • High Audio Quality: Minimizes the risk of misinterpreting due to poor sound quality.   
  • User-friendly Interface: Accessible to interpreters, speakers, and attendees, encouraging a positive user experience.   
  • Scalability: Can accommodate events of varying sizes, from small gatherings to large business conferences.   
  • Security: Implements robust data protection measures to safeguard sensitive information.   

These platforms allow professional interpreters to provide instant interpretation services to a multilingual audience, regardless of geographic location.   

AI Captions and Translations   

AI-powered captions and translations offer a supplementary solution for multilingual events. These technologies can stand alone or work in tandem with an RSI platform. They provide:   

  • AI-Generated Captions: Automatically generated captions that appear on-screen, increasing accessibility for attendees.   
  • AI Translations: Translates captions into target language   
  • Meeting Transcripts: All chosen languages used in the meetings are available in various formats.    

While AI solutions are rapidly advancing, they may still need to capture the nuances of human speech or complex technical terminology with the precision of professional interpreters. Event organizers must evaluate the nature of the event’s content to determine whether AI technologies can meet their needs or if professional interpreters would better serve their purpose.   

Event Planning Best Practices   

For types of events requiring an RSI interpreter, ensuring the correct technology and infrastructure availability will facilitate a smooth experience. You will need:    

  • A stable and high-speed internet connection to facilitate uninterrupted streaming.    
  • Quality headsets and microphones are available for all speakers to ensure precise audio transmission.    
  • Access to a reliable RSI platform that interpreters can log into support functions such as handing over between interpreters and video feeds.    
  • Adequate technical support throughout the event to tackle any issues that might arise in conference settings.   

Here’s what you should consider while planning an event for a multilingual audience:

  • Determine the official languages of the event and any additional foreign languages required by attendees.
  • Look for state-of-the-art remote simultaneous interpretation platforms that offer virtual participation options and ensure AI interpreting tools are available.
  • Hire professional conference interpreters proficient in the target language(s) and knowledgeable in your specific niche, such as business or medical conferences where technical terminology is prevalent. Look early because many freelance interpreters are booked months in advance.
  • Arrange for a sign language interpreter and captions for Deaf or Hard of hearing attendees.   

About Boostlingo   

Boostlingo is a cutting-edge technology provider specializing in language service provider solutions, including advanced tools for conference interpreting. We work with event planners by supporting their meetings and events with an RSI platform, support, and high-quality AI captions and translations across various settings.    

Do you need interpreter services for small meetings and negotiations or remote simultaneous interpretation services to communicate across barriers at your next conference? Additionally, are you interested in trying AI captions and translations at your next event?  

Our team can help you find the right solution, with support in more than 300 languages. If you’d like to start independently, we’ve assembled a free guide to multilingual event technology here 

Read to learn more? Get in touch with a member of our team today.    

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