Three Ways to Sabotage a Multilingual Event

All professions evolve as new applications, technologies, and procedures take shape. A primary reason why conferences are held is to disseminate information. This promotes idea exchange between delegates and participants. When conferences are multilingual, the knowledge bank increases exponentially.  However, there are a number of ways a multilingual event can go awry. This will leave a bad taste in the foreign-language attendees’ mouth regarding the conference program, location, and organizers.  Good news travels at light speed; bad news travels at warp speed!  Let’s identify three ways to sabotage your multilingual conference.

1.Substandard Equipment:

To ensure that your limited English proficient (LEP) delegates waste their time and money, obtain substandard equipment so they cannot hear any of the information during the event.  When equipment is deficient and a Simultaneous Interpreting AV technician is not hired (because you want to save money), the interpreting team’s rendition suffers.  The cognitive demand on the higher brain functions to interpret while simultaneously listening to the next chunk of meaning AND retaining it is phenomenal and daunting.  A booth that is not soundproof or lacking ventilation will deplete interpreter concentration and affect the quality of the rendition.  Additionally, any noise that the interpreters hear in the booth will be transmitted to the foreign-speaking delegates through their receivers.  The LEP delegates did not invest resources and time to come listen to garbled information through a headset receiver. A conference interpreting solution provider who complies with ASTM 2089 Standard Practice and ISO 2603 Standard will eliminate this sabotage.

2. Wait till Last Minute:

If you want to offend your foreign-language speaking delegates, wait until the last minute to contract your professional conference interpreting team.  After all, professional, seasoned conference interpreters are usually booked two to three months in advance.  When you wait for the last minute, you squander funds on expensive airline tickets, hotel arrangements, and related expenses to bring in an available conference interpreting team.  Moreover, since you don’t understand the profession of conference interpreting, you decide you only need one person do to this for three days.  No ethical practicing conference interpreter will agree to that.  It is akin to telling the doctor, “You perform my open heart surgery, but I don’t have money for the nurse, surgical technician, resident doctor, or anesthesiologist who normally assist you in the OR.  You’ll have to do all their jobs as well, but for the same money as the open heart surgery.”  Presumably, the doctor will laugh you out of her office and never set eyes on you again.  Any bilingual person agreeing to this will not have the stamina to simultaneously interpret 160-200 words per minute.  Your foreign language delegates will recognize the farce and will feel insulted at being treated like second-class attendees.


3. Not allowing prep time:

You annoy the LEP attendees because you think your interpreters are clairvoyant. Oh no, there’s no reason to give the interpreters the slide presentation or introductions ahead of time.  They just take the English words and use the Italian equivalent.  That is not how spoken language works.  Don’t believe me?  Have fun watching this: Google Translate. Language comes with specific nuances. Although we understand the Britons, their English and culture is different than American English. LEP delegates also bring theIr knowledge, their language, and their culture. Hours of preparation and research are included in the interpreting fee.  Knowing and understanding that culture allows the interpreting team to render the message so that the listeners will reap the greatest benefits.


You get what you pay for.  Depending on which language, the number of languages, and the number of attendees, the daily investment for premier conference solutions starts at $5,000.00. Expense is defined as financial burden. Invest means to commit (money) in order to earn a financial return. If you are penny wise and dollar foolish, you will follow these three sabotages.   Nevertheless, if you pride yourself on spectacular mono- and multilingual conferences, please contact Alfonso Interpreting.  We can demonstrate how proper investment and advanced preparation can lead to a flawless multi-language event.

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