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6 Tips for Planning Simultaneous Interpretation

A little careful planning goes a long way to ensuring the best possible experience for everyone at your multi-language meeting, hearing or conference. Here, we’ve compiled a few tips. If you choose to work with Westminster Sonus for your simultaneous interpreting, we’ll help you ensure that all the pieces are in place!

  • 1
    Prepare your speakers
    Especially if your speakers haven’t used simultaneous interpreting before, you can give them a few tips to ensure that their listeners get the smoothest possible interpretation. Remind your speakers and moderators to:

    • Speak clearly at a steady pace
    • Minimise crosstalk and interruptions
    • Speak into the microphones provided
    • Make slides and other handouts available in all participants’ languages
    • Ensure their audience tunes their earpieces to the channel that carries their language.

    A little preparation and awareness will halp all your users feel comfortable with the SI system.

  • 2
    Provide background materials
    Before the meeting, can you send us copies of presentations, speeches, glossaries or lists of terms, transcripts or summaries of related meetings or hearings?

    Because we work with specialist interpreters, Westminster Sonus interpreters will already be familiar with your type of meeting and your sector. However, even the most experienced interpreters appreciate all the additional information you can provide; they use this to prepare ahead of the meeting, to help everything run smoothly on the day.

  • 3
    Plan the translations, too
    Consider simultaneous interpretation as part of a suite of language services. Will you need translation of documents for your meeting or hearing – agendas, invitations, agreements, draft contracts, evidence, minutes or transcripts, slides and handouts? Translation (which is written) and interpretation (which is spoken) are very different skills. This means that usually the interpreters who attend your meeting are not the best people to translate your documents. However, a good language services company can coordinate both for you.
  • 4
    Ask the question: Do you own and operate your own simultaneous interpretation equipment?
    As you’re planning your multi-language meeting, one of the most important questions to answer is the quality of the equipment and the quality of technical support. Many agencies offer simultaneous interpretation equipment, but very few own and operate their own equipment. Working with Westminster Sonus, who have provided their own in-house equipment and technicians for more than 30 years, gives you three advantages:

    • You get good value for money. We aren’t putting a mark-up on someone else’s equipment hire.
    • You get peace of mind. You know that the equipment will be up-to-date, well maintained and reliable.
    • You get expertise. From the project manager who works with you to plan your requirements, right through to the technician who attends your meeting to set up and operate the equipment, you benefit from a team with years of experience and deep expertise.
  • 5
    Consider your space
    Where will your meeting be held? Is it a historic space where it would be difficult (or just plain ugly) to run microphone cables across the room? Are you going to have breakout sessions or discussions in different rooms? Is there enough space for the interpretation booths to be in the same room as the meeting?

    When you discuss your meeting space with us, we can advise you on the best solutions. For a historic building, this may mean choosing a Bosch wireless microphone system. If the main meeting room is small, it may mean locating the interpreters’ booths in a different room and linking them to the main meeting by video. We can even come and visit your venue to give the most precise advice about how to use your space.

  • 6
    Plan ahead (if you can)
    Simultaneous interpreters are often booked months in advance. The earlier you lay your plans, the more likely you will be to have all the right resources available to you.

    But if you’re reading this because you have a last-minute need for simultaneous interpretation, give us a call. We’ll do our best to help!