A massive increase in the number of distance, remote, and hybrid meetings and events is one of the big changes the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed upon the world.

This is a change that appears here to stay. Huge numbers of businesses are adopting hybrid working approaches in their everyday operations.

It’s easy to see why. Hybrid and remote working has lots of advantages. So do hybrid meetings and events – not least, big savings in costs and increases in reach.

That reach can now be global. But going global means crossing language barriers. In turn, this means using interpretation for hybrid meetings and events will soon become the norm too.

What is a hybrid meeting or event?

A hybrid meeting or event includes some participants who are present in the same on-site location and others who are off-site.

This allows people who may be on the other side of the world from each other to communicate. All they need is an agreed platform and a few bits of hardware.

Why use interpretation for hybrid meetings and events?

One of the major advantages of hybrid meetings and events is that participants can in theory be anywhere. For events, this means a potentially massive global audience – as many individuals and brands found out to their benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hurdle this represents is that participants from other parts of the world may have zero or limited proficiency in the language an event may be being presented in.

This is where interpretation comes in. While most people still have the image of interpreters being linguists sitting in big clunky booths in conference halls, interpreting services can now be accessed easily on-demand – frequently using the same software that hybrid meetings do.

Combining these two innovations is a pretty exciting development because:

1) It’s easy

These days, huge numbers of people are used to using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other virtual conferencing software to communicate.

Using interpretation for hybrid meetings and events usually only requires using the same software. Any other necessary technical expertise is normally offered by the providers of this kind of service.

What’s more, the interpretation can be provided for both in-person and remote participants. This means expanding your audience globally is very easy.

2) There are fewer restrictions (and costs)

Traditional interpreters have a lot of advantages. But they also have to contend with travel requirements and costs for the linguist, meaning sourcing an interpreter with relevant expertise for the subject and language pair in question and getting them where they need to be can be challenging – or potentially costly.

Remote interpreting enables even small organisations to source expert linguists for niche topics and language pairs with very little notice and much less admin or expense.

3) Your reach can be huge

Live communication with audiences speaking different languages around the world is now easy to set up. Linguists can be there to bridge language barriers with your audience just as easily as you log into Zoom for a monolingual business meeting or event.

This means even an event run on a very small budget can reach a global audience looking for this kind of content.

How does remote interpreting work?

Adding RSI (Remote Simultaneous Interpreting) or VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) to a meeting or event can be as simple as logging into the right session on Zoom and having the interpreter connect too.

Delegates will speak in one language – usually the “floor language” of the event – and have their image and words transmitted to both your virtual attendees and the interpreter.

The linguist can then relay the interpretation of the speaker’s words into the target language in real-time. Virtual attendees can watch the presentation and listen to either the original audio or the interpretation through their preferred device. In-person attendees can receive interpretation through headsets.

So far, so simple. But there are a few ways to maximise the value you get from remote interpreting services:

1) Choose professional equipment and support

It is possible to get on-demand remote interpreters to support hybrid meetings and the like. This kind of service is sometimes provided by linguists working solo in non-ideal conditions.

This maximises the flexibility of this kind of language support. But for maximum quality, you can easily find Language Service Providers with technical sound studios and the like.

Either way, there’s no need to have space or pay to have interpreting booths onsite or for any other of the requirements of linguists who are present in the actual meeting or event space.

2) Plan a little in advance

Just because an interpreter is a master of enabling communications between two languages doesn’t mean they will automatically be aware of technical terminology or language unique to specific industries or fields.

This means you will get the most value from this kind of service if you can plan a little in advance. With a short amount of warning, your Language Service Provider can source an interpreter with relevant subject matter expertise and give them a thorough briefing based on details you supply.

This ensures clear communication even on very technical subjects.

3) Consider calling on technical experts

For large-scale, mission-critical, or high-profile hybrid events, calling in other technical experts to guarantee the quality and success of the technology you have in place will pay dividends. You may want to discuss some options with your LSP, such as:

  • Technicians – to test cameras, microphones, and headsets for onsite attendees. They can also monitor technical performance and connection during your event in real-time.
  • A coordinator or project manager – at Asian Absolute, we always use a single project manager from our award-winning team to control a project. This provides consistent communications and ensures all linguists and technical experts are smoothly coordinated. It’s always a good idea to make sure your LSP will do the same.

The future of hybrid events, meetings, and interpretation

In the not-too-distant future, adding interpretation to almost any virtual or hybrid meeting or event will take no more effort than the click of a button. In-person meetings or venues will be able to get the same kind of support with little more.

Of course, arranging the kind of linguist who has expertise in your specific industry or the topic of your event is always going to be important and is likely to still require a little forward planning and proper briefing.

But if the way hybrid meetings have taken the world by storm and the way interpretation tools and technology have advanced continue to go hand in hand, the future is looking very convenient indeed for people who want to achieve the maximum reach through this kind of event.

Are you planning your next hybrid event or meeting?

Let’s talk. Asian Absolute helps individuals and organisations around the world get the language support they need for events in over 200 languages.

Get a free quote on the interpreting services you need or tell us more about your upcoming event for free advice today.