When holding meetings with partners, customers, suppliers, or peers across multiple countries, language can often pose a big barrier to successful communication.
To make sure meeting participants' message doesn't get lost in translation, meeting organisers at corporations, SMEs, NGOs, associations, and institutions choose to bring professional simultaneous interpreters to their meetings.
Having supported tens of thousands of multilingual business meetings, we've identified some key best practices to make sure your multilingual meetings with live interpretation go ahead smoothly.
When hosting multilingual meetings
If you are organizing or hosting a multilingual meeting with simultaneous interpretation we recommend you follow these tips below to ensure success:
Share the user guide of the platform of your choice with your attendees before the meeting - Never overestimate your participants' technological knowledge and share the platform instructions with them prior to the meeting. If they already know how to use it, they are free to ignore them but if they don't, this simple action can save your meeting. Better safe than sorry and it's as easy as sending the relevant link. At Interprefy, we've collected all our product's user guides and made them publicly available in our Knowledge Base.
Brief your attendees on multilingual meetings' best practices prior to the event - Some best practices for online meetings are even more so for online multilingual ones. This is the case of sound quality and the need to use appropriate microphones and headphones. At Interprefy, we put together a simple housekeeping video (available below) that walks participants through some basic rules to make sure multilingual meetings with interpretation are a success. You can share it in advance so that everyone comes prepared and also play it at the beginning of your meeting as a quick and powerful reminder.
- Share any relevant presentation or materials with the interpreters prior to your meeting - even though your interpreters will be experts in the topic of your meeting, providing them with relevant materials will help them to familiarise themselves with company-specific terms, names, and jargon that might otherwise not be known to them.
- If you are the meeting host, run your audience through your actions verbally - Silence can make your audience feel disconnected from your meeting so try using verbal cues as much as possible to let your participants know what is going on. For example, if you haven't started the meeting because you are waiting for more participants to connect, you might say "I see some participants are still not connected, so we will wait 5 more minutes to start the call".
When speaking at a multilingual meeting with simultaneous interpretation
A successful meeting depends greatly on the quality of the audio that interpreters receive. Here are some recommendations for speakers to ensure that interpreters can effectively translate and convey your message:
- Make sure you are in a quiet, echo-proof environment - this not only will help you to concentrate better in the meeting at hand but also will ensure your audience and interpreter(s) hear only your voice.
- Chose plug-in, USB-style microphones - avoid using built-in or wireless microphones as they can generate echo or run out of battery during the meeting. Please don't use your computers' built-in microphones, or airbuds, as the audio quality simply doesn't cut it.
- Always speak directly into the audio device and avoid any background noise - unconscious actions like shuffling paper, clicking a pen or being too far away from the microphone can damage the audio quality and have a negative impact both the audience and the interpreters.
- Make sure only one person speaks at a time and at a moderate pace - be mindful of your fellow participants but also of the interpreter. It is very easy for meeting attendees to feel disengaged in meetings if they cannot hear properly or follow the conversation but this is even more important for the interpreter, who needs to relay the message in a different language. This can easily be avoided by taking turns to speak and avoid reading your speech.
- Avoid switching languages mid-sentence - if you are a multilingual speaker fluent in more than one language you can be tempted to switch languages while doing your speech. If you are going to do it, let everyone know in advance just by saying "I'm now going to switch to language X (Italian, Spanish, Arabic, etc.)" so that people who don't understand that language can switch to the appropriate language channel and that interpreters can also adjust their settings in the interpretation tool.
Now you're all set. Make sure to follow these steps, and nothing will come in your way of making sure everybody in the meeting can understand and be understood.
If you'd like to learn more about how Interprefy can help you host multilingual business meetings, conferences, townhalls and beyond, feel free to book an introduction call with us today.