At the International Union of Architects Congress in Barcelona, three famous keynote speakers were due to give parallel presentations at three different theatres, each with 600 seats. Yet, some 12,000 fans ended up registering! And by 6am on the day of the event, many were already queuing up on the Ramblas waiting for the theater doors to open. The organisers had to scramble to find another venue large enough to accommodate the unexpected crowds. Within hours, they managed to book the Sant Jordi stadium, which holds 14,000 people, and transfer the event to the new location.
To avoid this type of hassle, start by establishing your needs in terms of space. How many delegates will be attending the conference? How many rooms will you need at any one time, and at what capacity?
Standardised booths for conference interpreting
Once you know what size venue is required, find out if the venue has standardised booths for conference interpreting. While progress is being made to comply with guidelines set by the International Organization for Standardization, most built-in or mobile interpretation booths still are not standardised.
Are the interpreting booths soundproof? Are they air conditioned? Do they provide good visibility of presenters and powerpoint presentations? Interpreters must be able to see the speakers while they are talking to be able to pick up on body language and subtle cues. The job of the interpreter becomes extra challenging when there is no direct visibility. In such a case, the team will need CCTV (closed circuit TV) to watch the speakers.
Next you will need to determine how many, and what combination of, languages are to be interpreted. This information will enable you to secure the right number of interpretation booths and channels. Some interpreters have arrived at venues ready to interpret into four languages, requiring four outgoing channels, only to find two outgoing channels. Facing a similar scenario on the day of your event would be far from ideal, as you would need to choose which languages to keep and which ones to forget.
What about headphones and other equipment? If an interpreter is to provide the best service possible, choosing a reliable equipment provider is a non-negotiable. The interpreter’s performance may ultimately suffer if the venue equipment and facilities do not meet certain standards. We have access to an extensive network of reliable equipment providers around the world and are happy to help you find one.
This article is step two of our blog series entitled 7 steps to getting the best conference interpretation solution for your event.