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"Interpretation Services: How it Works and What You Need to Know for Your Conference or Event."

​When it comes to organising a conference or event that requires the services of interpreters, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. While it is possible to organise interpreters yourself, it is important to understand the rules and expectations that come with this responsibility. Alternatively, many conference service providers offer experienced interpreters as part of their services. Whether you are seeking a quote from a conference service provider or approaching interpreters directly, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of what is involved and what you need to provide to ensure a successful interpretation experience. In this guide, we will provide you with some helpful information and reminders to keep in mind when organising interpreters for your next conference or event.  Simultaneous interpreting is performed by two or more interpreters in a suitably soundproofed booth where the interpreters deliver the presentation in a different language while the speaker is presenting. It requires equipment and technical assistance.      1.Booths The booths need to be situated at the best vantage point in the conference room to ensure maximal visual and auditory perception of the speakers, delegates, and projection screens. The booths need to be sufficiently lit and ventilated, and the interpreters provided with a suitable table/working space for two people, as well as comfortable chairs and drinking water.       2. Microphones  All speakers and delegates need to use microphones in order for the interpreters to hear them correctly in the booth. It is also important to remember that interpreters are language experts, not technicians. They are not responsible for the sound system; therefore, it's crucial to have a dedicated technical team to handle any audio issues that may arise during the event.      3. Documents/preparation Interpreters must receive all conference documents at least 72 hours before the conference in order to prepare their vocabulary correctly. It's important to provide interpreters with as much information as possible in advance of the event or conference. This will help them to prepare and be fully informed about the topics, technical terminology, and any specific requirements of the event. The more context they have, the better they can anticipate potential challenges and provide a smooth interpretation experience. Providing interpreters with pre-conference materials, such as agendas, presentations, and speeches, can help them to prepare and deliver accurate and engaging interpretation services. Should organisers not be able to provide all the speeches and presentations in advance, the minimal requirements are: -Final programme/agenda -List of delegates -Background documents -Previous communiqués and/or reports Providing interpreters with as much information as possible in advance will improve their performance. Even sending materials as soon as they are available, rather than waiting for final drafts, can go a long way in ensuring accurate and efficient interpretation.      4. Team composition  Owing to the high levels of concentration required in simultaneous? interpreting, interpreters must work in teams of two for conferences of one to three days, and it is usually recommended (UN and International Association of Conference Interpreters) that teams of three to four interpreters be used for conferences of four or more days. Shifts of a half hour on and at least a half hour off help interpreters maintain the same energy, concentration and quality levels throughout the day, thus providing a consistent service.       5. Overtime  An interpreter’s working day should not exceed eight (8) hours. This includes six (6) half-hour shifts, a full-hour lunch break and two half-hour tea breaks during which the interpreters should not be required to work. Conference organisers are urged to arrange their programmes in accordance with this schedule, as overtime is strongly discouraged for interpreters, especially if they are required to perform optimally the next day. A new team of interpreters would therefore be required for overtime or evening sessions. Should an exceptional situation arise where interpreters agree to assist the client with overtime, they should be remunerated at a rate of 1,5 times their hourly rate.       6. Translations  During the conference, interpreters cannot translate documents, as they have to give their full attention to interpreting. It is also inadvisable to request translations from interpreters, especially if they are not translators, less than 72 hours before the conference. This work affects their energy levels and concentration for interpreting. Ideally, the organisers should recruit separate onsite translators or have documents sent to off-site translators during the conference.  7. Webcasting and copyright Webcasting refers to the transmission of audio-visual content, either live or recorded, over the internet, which provides the ability to listen to interpretation in one or multiple languages. Interpretation cannot be captured on audio or video without the interpreters' consent. In the private sector, if the recording is intended for commercial or administrative purposes, further compensation in accordance with international copyright regulations may be required.      8. Consecutive interpreting If you plan on using consecutive interpreters for your event, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and successful interpretation process. Here are some tips and reminders for working with consecutive interpreters, from preparing materials to managing the interpretation on the day of the event. Consecutive interpreting occurs when an interpreter provides an oral translation of a statement after the speaker has finished a particular utterance. It is usually performed in a boardroom situation or during small meetings and is not ideal for large conferences, as it tends to considerably slow down the proceedings. When interpreting for large groups, consecutive interpreting can be more stressful for the interpreter as, without a booth, there is no protection from secondary noise and other distractions. Moreover, without headphones, it is much more difficult to hear what each speaker has to say. This is why consecutive interpreting in these kinds of settings is generally more expensive than simultaneous interpreting and cannot be performed by one person for more than 30 to 40 minutes at a time. The same rules on documentation, team composition, overtime and translations for simultaneous interpreting apply to consecutive interpreting. However, if consecutive interpreting is to be used, organisers should also ensure that the interpreter is placed in the best possible position to hear all proceedings correctly.

"Working with Simultaneous Interpreters? organising an event? Tips for Conference Organisers and Speakers."

​Simultaneous interpretation is a vital part of international communication, and interpreter booths play an important role in facilitating this process. Interpreters work hard to ensure that communication flows smoothly, but their work can be hindered by a lack of know-how from those using the interpretation service. In this article, we will discuss simultaneous interpreter booth etiquette, focusing on the ways in which users of interpretation services can create a positive and effective working environment for interpreters. Avoid distracting interpreters while they work. First and foremost, avoid distracting the interpreters while they are working. Interpreters are highly skilled professionals who work hard to convey meaning accurately and smoothly. To do this, they require concentration and focus. Avoid interrupting the interpreter or distracting them in any way. This includes talking loudly, making sudden movements or gestures, or engaging in distracting behaviour. Additionally, it's crucial to never enter the interpreter's booth or approach them while they are working. The interpreter's booth is a designated space where they can work without interruptions. Entering the booth can disrupt the interpreter's concentration, which can lead to inaccuracies in interpretation. Therefore, it's essential to wait until the interpreter has finished their work before approaching them. Be mindful of the technology. Interpreter booths are equipped with specialised technology that allows the interpreter to hear and interpret what is being said. It’s important to be mindful of this technology and avoid any actions that might interfere with its proper functioning. This includes not touching any of the equipment or wires. Remember to speak into the microphone, as interpreters work in a booth and will not hear questions addressed by the audience unless they are transmitted via the sound system. Provide the necessary information in advance. To ensure that the interpretation is accurate and effective, it’s important to provide the interpreter with any necessary information in advance. This might include a list of specialised terminology or jargon that will be used, a copy of any written materials that will be referenced, the agenda, the list of participants, or any cultural or social context that may be relevant. Providing this information ahead of time allows the interpreter to prepare appropriately and ensure the accuracy of their translations. As a speaker, remember that your speech is being interpreted. It’s important to use appropriate language when communicating through an interpreter. Try to speak clearly and concisely, using simple sentences and avoiding idiomatic expressions or jargon that might not translate well. Additionally, be aware of the tone and pace of your speech. We know that speakers have to comply with time limits, so avoid packing too much in. Then, you will be able to speak at a moderate pace, avoiding both rapid-fire speech and overly slow or exaggerated speech. This will help the interpreter keep up with the conversation and maintain accuracy. In conclusion, simultaneous interpreter booth etiquette is an essential component of effective international communication. By following these guidelines, you can create a positive and productive working environment for interpreters, ensuring accurate and effective interpretation. These simple actions will go a long way in facilitating successful communication across language barriers. By Isabelle Wannenburg

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