Increasingly, companies big and small have to pay attention to cross-border business. Trade is rising, and competitors -- as well as potential clients and partners -- are coming from all shores.
Putting on events to build a community around your industry is a great way to get some of that business, but getting everyone in the room is just part of the battle. Conference attendees will expect to be able to listen to keynotes no matter who is speaking.
Here are some of the key steps in making your next event language neutral.
Go with a big translation service providerThere's really no way to scrimp here. Translators who can turn live speech into real-time, understandable translation charge plenty and get booked if there are several conferences at once in town.
Small event? Prices too high? Go directThere are also many hundreds of local service providers. If you have trouble getting the attention of a large-scale provider, consider hiring a conference interpreter individually.
You will need, of course, a lot of equipment to do this rightInterpreters talk loudly and move around a lot while keeping up with a live speaker. You'll need soundproof booths for them to sit in if the theater has no sound booth, and plenty of specialized audio equipment, like wireless listening devices for conference-goers.
Learn the industry before you hireNeed an interpreter in a medical setting? A legal setting? The skills are different and can change your choices.
Consider investing in gearIf your company does roadshows or small roundtables, it could be cheaper to buy the equipment you'll need and just hire translators at each location.
- Before you reinvent the wheel, talk with the hotel or event center manager where you will be staging the event. Chances are good they are already experts and have a shortlist of reputable providers.
- Get references. The difference between a pro and someone who is doing on-the-job training on your dime will be confused attendees and empty auditoriums.
- Be aware of your audience. You might suspect that a quarter of your attendees speak Spanish and a quarter French, but if even a dozen speak Mandarin, you will shut them out without knowing it. Ask in registration materials for native languages of confirmed attendees.