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Universe Language Translates Chancellor Angela Merkel’s U.S. Visit

By Giovanna Serrano
August 24, 2021

In July 2021, Angela Merkel made her last visit to the United States as a German chancellor, which included visits with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and several other government officials.

Universe Language, a diversified language translation and interpretation company founded in 2005, was selected to provide interpretation services for this high-profile appearance. Services included conference interpretation equipment, remote captioning, and bridge systems to integrate in-person attendees with remote captioners and viewers, including both German and English language media outlets.

This event not only involved high-profile clients, but also required services to be available for in-person attendees, while also managing remote services for media outlets and people viewing the program via streaming services. Additionally, there were strict U.S. Secret Service and German clearance, security and access requirements, as well as all safety precautions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic that Universe Language needed to account for.

Universe Language was selected to interpret this visit because of its deep expertise with hybrid events and integrations, which bridge in-person and virtual environments.

Since the main task for this event was to ensure a successful “hybrid” approach, Universe Language used a proprietary remote captioner called a hybrid bridge system, meaning that services were delivered in-person (in an auditorium) and from a distance (remote captioning). Both services needed to be executed flawlessly and easily so that people attending the meetings, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as people viewing the program online via streaming services all had a seamless experience.

In addition, technical challenges needed to be accounted for when merging virtual and physical environments including transmission lag time. Broadcast streams normally have a delay of up to 30 seconds due to the time the video and the audio data takes to travel from the place where it is captured to the streaming outlet. Universe Language has perfected minimizing lag times so that the language interpretation and the captioning are synchronized to what is being seen on screen, making the program, interpretation and captioning flow coherently and seamlessly.

Very few conference interpretation and captioning outlets attempt to work in both on-site and remote environments simultaneously, and even fewer are able to do it successfully. Universe Language has been perfecting these systems since the advent of COVID-19 and now has the expertise to set them up confidently at permanent venues as well as for short-term events. In fact, according to Carlos Solis, head of technology at Universe Language, “helping train the audio visual, streaming and broadcasting companies was one of my favorite parts of Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit. Since they had never worked in a hybrid environment before, I enjoyed sharing the latest technologies and best practices to make it a successful event”.

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