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Conference Interpreting for Hybrid Events

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  • When it comes to live events and conferences, 2020 changed everything. Suddenly, live events were on hold and virtual events filled in the gaps. As the pandemic began to recede and companies began holding some live events again, a new event format emerged: hybrid events. They are likely to be the future of all types of gatherings. Here are ways you can leverage this new format to expand your meeting success.

  • What are Hybrid Events?
  • What are Hybrid Events?

    Hybrid events combine both in-person and virtual experiences. Hybrid means that part of an event is delivered in-person on-site, and part is provided virtually from a distance, such as via a streaming service or a video conference. Both services should be flawlessly available to people attending the meetings either on-site or virtually. To ensure quality production in both formats requires expert support services, including conference interpreting.

  • The Conference Landscape Is Changing
  • The Conference Landscape Is Changing

    Trends Moving Us Toward a Hybrid Event Future

    Hybrid events deliver several advantages that ensure their future status in the business world — including the best of both in-person and virtual events. The trends leading the way to a hybrid event future include:

    • Increased Attendance: Often people don’t have the time or ability to travel long distances to attend events or lack the budget for a hefty price tag. Hybrid events reduce barriers to entry. As a result, more people may be inspired to attend from the convenience of their preferred location and for a much lower price of entry.
    • Better Content Engagement: By digitally recording hybrid events, guests have the chance to watch them at their convenience later, which appeals to today’s time-crunched workforce.
    • Lower Carbon Footprint: Hybrid events mean less travel and fewer meals away from home and, therefore, an overall more environmentally sound experience.
    • Increased Sponsorship Value: Sponsors stand to gain increased exposure because they’ll get in front of both in-person and virtual attendees. By offering sponsors more value, hybrid events can potentially attract more sponsors.
  • Bridge the Gap Between On-Site and Virtual Meetings
  • Bridge the Gap Between On-Site and Virtual Meetings

    As an innovative way to hold meetings, hybrid events require new systems and processes for meeting production. They are a balancing act between in-person and virtual attendees and must be equally engaging for both groups. Event planners and production companies must consider the needs of each type of event to bridge the gap between on-site and virtual meetings, including the following points.

    Conference Interpreting Considerations

    A growing number of event planners are adding language translation, interpretation and captioning into their programs to support hybrid events. To execute these services effectively, they will need the right expertise, technology and equipment.

    What is Conference Interpreting?

    Conference interpreting is a specialized skill that allows communication between an event speaker and a group of audience members. These services are used by any entity that holds events for multicultural audiences, such as production companies, event planners, businesses, medical organizations, governmental agencies and legal firms.


    Conference Interpreting Equipment

    There is a range of high-end interpreting equipment that helps ensure high-quality, flawless conference interpreting is executed at events, including bridging in-person events with virtual environments:

    • Conference interpretation booths equipped with conference interpretation equipment for broadcasting the interpretation to the wireless receivers.
    • Proprietary bridge systems designed for integrating in-person interpretation to broadcast streams for people viewing the program remotely.
    • Proprietary bridge systems to connect remote captioners with broadcast streams, and to display on screens set up in on-site conference rooms.

    Case Study of a Hybrid Meeting Set up for German Chancellor Angela Merkel

    At an exclusive ceremony held in the U.S. in July 2021 for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Universe Language was asked to provide in-person German/English interpretation services, conference interpretation equipment, captioning services, bridge systems to integrate the in-person events with the remote captioners and remote viewers, including German and English language media outlets.

    She met with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and several other government officials. The organizers wanted to make Chancellor Merkel’s talks available for in-person attendees as well as remotely for media outlets and people viewing the program on live streams.

    Chancellor Merkel and U.S. personalities presented in an auditorium with interpreters, equipment and audio technicians in the same location. Captioning services were provided using a remote captioner. Universe Language brought the captions to the room using a hybrid bridge system, and also sent the interpretation to the stream being broadcast using a hybrid bridge system.

    Setup and rehearsal were held the day before the exclusive ceremony to test not only the audio and interpretation equipment installed in the room but also the bridge systems. This was the technology by which the interpreters’ voices would be heard in the room and on the broadcast. The captioning services were also tested for the remote captioner, whose captions should be available in the room and on the broadcast.

    Equipment used for this project included the following:

    Conference interpretation booths were set up for English-to-German and German-to-English interpreters to broadcast the interpretation to the wireless receivers (including Chancellor Merkel’s receiver, where she would hear the interpretation into German).

    A proprietary bridge system designed and set up by Universe Language connected in-person interpretation to broadcast streams. This was for people viewing the program remotely and for English and German media needing the bilingual program in one language.

    A second proprietary bridge system was used to connect a remote captioner with a broadcast stream, and to show on the screens set up in the conference room where the event took place.

    One of the most technical challenges to merging the virtual with the physical environments is the 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’s captured to the streaming outlet. Universe Language has perfected the science of minimizing lag times. Language interpretation and captioning are synchronized to what is being seen on screen, making the program, the interpretation and the captioning flow coherently and seamlessly.

  • Different Modes of Language Interpretation
  • Different Modes of Language Interpretation

    There are two main modes of interpreting presentations: simultaneous and consecutive.

    Simultaneous Interpretation

    This is real-time interpreting in which interpreters listen to the speaker and, at the same time or within seconds, relay the messages to an audience in different languages. In these scenarios, interpreters typically work in teams of two or three. Simultaneous interpretation is often used in formal large group settings where a multicultural audience is present and multiple languages are spoken.

    Consecutive Interpretation

    In this format, interpreters can take more time to relay the interpreted message to the audience. They listen to what the speaker is saying and after a pause they relay the message. In this process, interpreters can work alone. This process is typically used at business, medical or legal meetings.

  • Hybrid Conference Interpreting Solutions
  • Hybrid Conference Interpreting Solutions

    There are two main solutions for hybrid conference interpreting: remote simultaneous and closed captioning.

    Remote Simultaneous Interpretation

    Remote simultaneous interpretation is the process of translating multilingual speeches from one language to another in real-time on a virtual platform. For virtual events, remote interpreting is powered by a cloud-based platform and can support video conferences on a smartphone or other electronic device.

    Additional benefits include:

    • Flexibility: Remote simultaneous interpretation does not require live interpreters or equipment on-site, thereby, providing greater flexibility.
    • Accuracy: Maintaining the accuracy of a company’s message is essential. Remote simultaneous interpretation supports better understanding across audiences.
    • Personalization: Retaining content and delivering it in a way that feels personalized to each listener is critical and surprisingly efficient with remote interpretation.
    • Cost savings: Supports costs savings thanks to its compatibility with existing software and hardware and the speed at which interpretations are delivered via listeners’ smartphones.

    Remote simultaneous interpreting gained traction during the pandemic as more companies held virtual events. With this newfound opportunity, companies are now thinking of offering interpretation for many more future events.

    Closed Captioning Remote and On-Site

    Closed captioning refers to transcribing the audio featured in a video or event into text and displaying it on a screen, such as for language-based translations. Closed captions can be created either by human captioners or by automated programs. Closed-captioning services are important for communicating what is being discussed for the hearing impaired in the audience at events. Companies and organizations can stream the captioned videos on the day of their event or can upload the videos on their website where the users can view them on-demand.

    For live events, both virtual and on-site captions are sent using a link that can be placed anywhere on a screen or on an event website. For pre-recorded content, the captions are created as a separate time-coded file, which is overlaid on the original video.

    At hybrid events, captioning can be achieved using either human captioners and interpreters at the live site, artificial intelligence-based automated captioning or translation software programs. Captioners connect the hardware and software to the A/V company’s equipment, and the captions can be displayed on the physical on-site screens and streamed virtually.

    Additional benefits include:

    • Accessibility: When your content is accessible, you help people who are deaf or hard of hearing access the content you produce.
    • Boost SEO: Search engines can’t crawl videos, but they can crawl text. To help your videos rank on Google, include captions and a transcript.
    • Enhance UX: Give your audience a better user experience so they can enjoy your content wherever they are.
    • Expand Audience: Captions and subtitles can help you reach a larger audience, such as non-native English speakers.
    • Boost Watch Time: People are more likely to watch your entire video if they have the option to turn on captions.
  • Ways to Optimize Interpreting Services
  • Ways to Optimize Interpreting Services

    Hybrid events deliver several advantages that ensure their future status in the business world — including the best of both in-person and virtual events. The trends leading the way to a hybrid event future include:

    • Consider using Zoom’s interpretation capabilities, two-parallel meetings solution, remote simultaneous interpretation platforms, as well as proprietary meeting platforms with audio channels developed specifically for your event
    • Hire a language service that offers technical support for interpreters to ensure smooth performance
    • Invest in a point-of-contact person to act as the liaison between the interpretation team and the client to handle any issues that arise
    • Hold a technical rehearsal session to practice before the actual event to ensure everything works as expected, such as:
      • Correct use of microphones and headphones and audio levels for presenters
      • Handling Q&As in multiple languages
      • Monitoring multi-language chat boxes
      • Simultaneously captioning in English and other languages
  • Tips for Creating Successful Hybrid Events
  • Tips for Creating Successful Hybrid Events

    • Plan for Multiple Time Zones. Virtual events introduce the element of multiple time zone differences. You may be holding your live event in one time zone, but expect virtual attendees from multiple others. To overcome the challenge, consider offering multiple viewing times for your virtual event or on-demand viewing.
    • Create Two Registration Paths. Your hybrid event’s registration process should be seamless. Create custom registration paths for both in-person and virtual attendees so they are each clear on what to expect from their experience.
    • On-site Virtual Representative. For large events with multiple sessions, attendees will be guided through the event by moderators. This can make virtual attendees feel left out. Having dedicated hybrid event coordinators address the virtual attendees will improve satisfaction. They can talk to the attendees specifically about their virtual experiences and introduce virtual-only sessions or networking opportunities.
    • Keep Content Engaging. It can be difficult to keep virtual attendees engaged in front of a computer screen. You can improve the experience with a clear hybrid strategy. For example, while on-site attendees may attend interactive networking sessions, offer virtual attendees exclusive virtual-only panel discussions with thought leaders.
    • Consider Session Run Times. Strike a balance in session lengths. They should be long enough that all the information can be shared, but also concise enough that virtual attendees remain focused and engaged. Perhaps create a mix of session run times, from 15 minutes to an hour.
    • Consider Number of Sessions. On-site attendees will attend many sessions since they invested time and money to travel. However, virtual attendees will likely have shorter attention spans. Consider offering fewer live sessions per day for your virtual attendees, and more on-demand content they can view at their leisure.
    • Create a Hybrid Community. On-site attendees gain the advantage of experiencing community in person. It is much easier for them to network, have organic conversations, and establish connections. There are ways to bring community to your virtual audience, too. For example, add virtual experiences for both audiences during breaks to help the two groups engage, such as answering poll topics, submitting questions for Q&As and providing gamification experiences.
  • Contact uniVerse Language
  • Ready to Learn More About Hybrid Event Interpreting Services?

    Contact us today to discuss conference interpretation and captioning needs for your next hybrid event.
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    About Universe Language Solutions

    With over 20 years of experience and more than 400 in-person and remote events each year, Universe Language Solutions is a leader in hybrid interpreting services. Few conference interpretation and captioning services attempt to work in hybrid environments, and even less can 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, such as during the U.S. visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July 2021.