Four key considerations when hiring interpreting services

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interpreting services

In-person events are back, leading to a growing demand for interpreting services. We have already explained the concept of simultaneous interpreting or, as it is popularly known, “simultaneous translation.”

In the same article, we discussed the new tools and ways of working that digital technology enables for in-person and online events.

Today, we will look at the main reasons for this growing demand and the four key considerations to successfully incorporate simultaneous interpreting into your events.


Where is this demand coming from?


The mere fact that in-person events are back after the pandemic creates a natural demand for simultaneous interpretation. Large events often feature international speakers whose knowledge needs to be shared with visitors and participants (sponsors, exhibitors, etc.) in the local language in order to clear any barrier that someone may have to understand the subject matter.

At the same time, the events receive visitors from many other countries who come to exhibit their products or seek partnerships in Brazil. There has been an increase in the presence of Asians at the events held in 2023, especially the Chinese, who are now Brazil’s biggest trading partner.

This natural demand for interpretation that could cater to most attendees made English the most widely used language. Depending on the focus and target audience, other languages such as Spanish – and more recently Mandarin, among others – are also offered to the audience.


How have corporate ESG practices affected demand for Interpretation?


Another source of demand for simultaneous interpretation are the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices that many companies around the world have adopted. These practices take advantage of simultaneous interpreting to promote inclusion, effective communication, and mutual understanding.

Conferences, forums, and events to discuss ESG often take place in global environments. Simultaneous interpretation in these contexts becomes essential to ensure that participants from different countries can actively engage and understand the discussions, regardless of their native tongues. In these situations where there are differences in cultural and linguistic backgrounds, interpreting allows participants to express themselves in their own language and fully understand the insights shared by others. This not only improves the quality of the talks but also encourages the exchange of ideas.

In addition, ESG practices have also boosted awareness of the inclusion of people with hearing disabilities, leading to a growing demand for simultaneous sign language interpretation. Events, seminars, and conferences that aim to raise awareness of inclusion and accessibility now strive to offer sign language interpretation, ensuring that everyone in attendance can fully engage in the discussions and presentations.

Recently, Zaum Langs offered interpretation services in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) at the AMCHAM FORUM ESG event, held in AMCHAM São Paulo, with over 2400 participants. The use of displays showing the interpreters instead of having them on stage was a huge success, as it kept the focus on the speaker rather than the interpreter. Illustrating a range of new tools that are being used at in-person events.


Considerations when hiring Interpretation Services


Some problems are more common when using simultaneous interpreting at in-person events, which can lead to a perception of poor quality of the service or even of the event itself. This is because companies focus on the quality of interpreters and forget about other factors.

For Interpretation to achieve its most effective results, we suggest that organizers cover these four bases:

  1. Familiarity with the subject of the presentation – interpreters who are knowledgeable about the subject being presented are better prepared to handle industry jargon and specific terms. Not having expert interpreters usually goes unnoticed by the general public at an event, but it can be a negative factor in the perception of quality for industry specialists. For example, the terms “allograft” and “autograft”, which refer to different valves used in heart surgery, can be mistakenly used to refer to each other. Zaum Langs seeks to provide event and conference interpreters specialized in various fields (medical, education, business, etc.) in which it offers its services.
  2. Technical/operational alignment with the team providing equipment used at the event – many issues that occur during events are due to the lack of testing different scenarios (potential problems) before the event starts. A classic problem at simultaneous interpreting events is technical equipment issues, which can be individual or collective, such as a broadcast channel malfunction in a particular language. The result is that some people attending a debate or presentation will be unable to understand what is going on, which may generate some discomfort and even turmoil in the audience. Or even putting the event behind schedule since panels consisting of people from different nationalities can be interrupted in these cases. Here at Zaum Langs, we offer both simple interpretation and a complete package with equipment, from the most traditional headsets and transmitters to modern mobile apps, running tests before the event to identify potential issues and outline an immediate correction plan.
  3. Alignment with speakers – the speaker’s pace can either aid or hinder the interpretation and a smooth presentation flow. The lack of alignment before the start of a talk can lead to a disconnect between the presentation and interpretation. As a result, some of the content may be lost along the way, or the presentation may become tiresome as the speaker tries to slow down to avoid making things difficult for the interpreters. Our interpreters are trained to communicate with speakers to suggest the best pace to make their work more effective without interfering with the speaker’s style and delivery.
  4. Rotation for longer events – having more than one interpreter is crucial for longer events. As is the case in other professions, interpreters perform best when their workload is balanced. Long events with multiple speakers can create additional stress as the interpreter has to readjust to the rhythm of whoever is speaking at the time. The right number of interpreters is directly related to the number of speakers, the length of each table or talk and the total duration of the event. Zaum Langs always analyzes the formats and durations of each event to offer the best service and cost to our clients.

To illustrate the need to take turns, let’s look at the example of the CEO FORUM held by AMCHAM Campinas. The event featured a stage where the various panels and talks took place. During the event, Zaum Langs provided on-site interpretation in Brazilian Sign Language using two Libras interpreters and two English-Portuguese interpreters, all of them specialized in business terminology, for a 4-hour event, gathering over 500 executives from Brazilian and international companies.

It doesn’t matter why you’re seeking simultaneous interpretation. Whether you need in-person, online, or hybrid interpretation, keep in mind these four key considerations that can ensure a successful event, whether it’s a training session, forum, or conference.