Multilingual events can be tough if you don’t have the right strategy in place. Make sure you get it right with this comprehensive checklist.
Navigating large-scale international events is complex, especially now that hybrid events have become the preferred solution for conference organizers. Ensuring that everyone at your event can understand and engage with the content is the key to creating an enjoyable, successful experience.
To guarantee a high level of participation from your audience and to ensure you’re getting the most out of your multilingual event, no aspect of your strategy can be overlooked. We’ve compiled this all-inclusive checklist for you so that you can make sure every step of your event goes smoothly.
1. Define your audience, language needs and regional reach
This first checkbox is a general good practice when planning any event, but it becomes even more significant when going multilingual. While defining the overall goals, objectives, and budget of your event, there are questions related to the audience that you should think about to better understand your language needs. For example, is your event an internal one – such us a town hall, a training course, a team-building activity, or an external conference or webinar? Are you inviting international speakers? And how about your attendees, where is the majority of them located? What languages do they speak?
Below, we have outlined two scenarios with the possible stakeholder and some relevant questions you should answer.
For clients and prospects
For global employees
After collecting this information, you can better define the language needs of your event, as well as the right technology to use. Create a list and prioritize the languages based on the event and business goals. Another important tip is to think of whether certain time zones may limit some audiences from attending your live event. To overcome this, certain post-event tactics can come into play, such as making recordings available.
2. Choose the right technology for your hybrid multilingual event
Now that you have chosen to take your hybrid event multilingual and have a better understanding of your audience and their needs, you can identify which technology is more suited to your needs. Specifically, it will be possible to choose between human interpreters, connected via an RSI platform, integrating an AI-powered speech translator, or add multilingual closed captioning (CC). Let’s examine the differences between these models:
The expression “Remote Simultaneous Interpretation” (RSI) refers to the process of remotely translating speech from one language to another in real-time. This means that, with an RSI platform, you’ll be able to connect professional interpreters to virtual meetings, webinars, and events via servers in the cloud rather than a physical booth.
Human interpreters have full control over terminology, register, gender, and context of your meeting. They can understand and replicate the nuances in expressions and intonation, providing your attendees with a high-quality multilingual experience.
To get the most out of this choice, the key recommendation is to give your interpreters plenty of time to prepare, providing them with as much information about the event as possible in advance. Useful materials include speaker names, agenda/program, PowerPoint presentations, pre-recorded videos, scripts, and of course a list of special terminology and acronyms you intend to use.
An increasingly popular choice for multilingual event is to leverage an AI-powered translation solution. This solution is especially beneficial for one-to-many occasions – such as conferences, keynote lectures, training programs or town-halls – which are mostly held in Business English, as multiple translations can be done simultaneously with no delay in response times or accuracy.
One key advantage of an AI Speech Translator is the lower price tag, which allows to reduce the cost and time associated with hiring and preparing interpreters, while democratizing access to language services, enabling also companies and organizations with lower budget to access language services.
The final option is to offer multilingual closed captioning (CC); the captioning can be automatically generated automated using artificial intelligence, executed by human translators, sourced from interpreters’ speech, or a combination of all these techniques. Different solutions will influence the time to deliver and accuracy of the live subtitles.
It’s important to remember that remote interpretation (whether human or AI-powered) and multilingual captioning are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, using them in combination is highly recommended to ensure attendees fully understand the content.
3. Plan a marketing strategy catered to your multilingual audience.
The third step to ensure the success of your multilingual event strategy is to make sure that all your marketing and promotional activities are directed to your target audience. This means that if you are investing in interpretation, and your business goal is to increase attendance and participation rate across regions, then you should go all in and localize all your marketing activities and content. Here are some ideas:
4. Don’t forget event operations!
The day of your event has arrived. You have taken all the right steps – chosen the perfect language service provider, added both real-time interpretation and captions to your meeting, and localized all your marketing activities. What could possibly go wrong at this stage?
That’s easily said: overlooking operations. This should be strictly tied with your choice of languages – for example, you’ll need to ensure hybrid voting and polls are in place in all the languages you chose for your event (spoiler: we support this too). But before adventuring into more advanced features, these are three basic things to never forget:
5. Further localize your recorded event into additional languages
If your agenda is full, your event is a multi-day one, or simply there are more panels hosted at the same time, your users may end up missing some of the sessions they are most interested in. To solve this problem, you can further localize your recorded content using Remote Simultaneous Interpretation.
This is a cost-effective solution when you compare it to traditional voice-over or dubbing services and may be what you need to further expanding the reach of your recorded content, reprioritizing languages that weren’t initially chosen due to time zone constraints. It is also very helpful if you have noticed a demand for the content in an additional region you haven’t initially considered, or your company is expanding to a new market.
As we have seen, organizing a hybrid or fully remote multilingual event can be complex, and requires strategic planning and investment. It is essential to weigh the cost-efficiency of each chosen language technology solution and devise plans for both marketing and operations including advertising, payment processing, customer services, etc. Despite the difficulties, however, the effort put to take your events multilingual will result in great reward for diversity and increased bottom line profits.
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