The business world has officially shrunk into a marble resting in a little boy’s pocket.
And let’s face it, although the world is now within reach, we’re not all experts on every country and culture in the world. We can sell, communicate, collaborate, entertain and educate anyone in any location all over the world. This vast opportunity comes with new and unique challenges to reach new markets while maintaining the professional, informed, precise image of your organization.
Not only are we effortlessly communicating over distances, we’re traveling faster and more often to experience businesses, new developments in education, and product development. Conventions and events are a great way to introduce the world to a new product, hold education sessions, discuss world issues or whatever meets your goal.
Whether you’ve got Hillary Clinton, the home-town hero soccer mom, or the President of your company speaking at an event with a multi-cultural audience, everyone needs to receive the same message, with the same passion, flavor and tone as the speaker. Whether they speak Mongolian, Chinese, French, Italian or Swahili, it’s imperative that they get your message in their language.
Here lies the unique challenge – maintaining your professional image while relying on a partner to effectively convey the intention and tone of your event to a foreign audience. Step back and consider how much effort goes into planning a successful event:
- Event location
- Event décor/image
- Event set up
- Food and beverage
All of the pomp and circumstance in the world will amount to a marble in a little boy’s pocket if your international visitors don’t get out what you put in. Simply said, when it comes to language services you MUST choose a partner that:
- Cares as much about your image and success as they do their own
- Has a proven history of success in ALLlanguage services including:
- Translation, interpretation, voice over, and cultural consulting
- Has new, state-of-the art equipment that exceeds international ISO standards
- Uses only the highest quality interpreters in YOUR specific field of expertise
- Interpreters that are not just experts, but that care about the message and success of your event
- Is certified, accredited, recognized and awarded for their service
- Has superior customer service validated by 3rd party feedback surveys
How can you spot a language company with these qualities? Do a little research and ask the following questions:
Look at their website. Is it professional, easy to navigate, informational, up-to-date and inviting?
How a partner projects their image will demonstrate how they will project yours.
Some providers that only provide one service may say its best NOT to work with a company who provides multiple language services. However, it’s VERY important to work with a company that can successfully manage ALL of your multilingual communication needs from translation to equipment to interpretation to multi-media, when communicating with a multilingual audience you MUST keep your message seamless. This includes:
Pre-Event materials: The communication starts with registration. Having these forms in the participants’ languages will encourage more attendance and set the stage for a successful event.
Marketing and website information: All materials that advertise the event must be done with creativity and understanding of the target culture. A company that has expertise in multiple services will be able to support professional marketing efforts in the target languages and provide much needed cultural consultation too.
Speakers’ scripts: When provided scripts in advance, a good language company will prepare their interpreters with as much information as possible. Sending scripts early allow the linguists to research uncommon terms, check company background and history, and be as prepared as possible.
Interpreters: Selecting an interpreter is just as important as selecting the speaker. If the interpreter has all the skill in the world, but is boring, uninviting and can’t mimic the tone and energy of the speaker, the audience will fail to get the entire message. Having one partner provide all language services will ensure that the experts have all of the materials, from start to finish to make the event great.
Equipment & Technicians: The technical aspect of the event is crucial to its success. If everything is in place and the equipment is old, broken, doesn’t work or the technicians aren’t friendly and accommodating, all previous efforts are wasted.
If you select a company that does not offer an all encompassing approach to language, you risk having a disjointed message. Using numerous service providers will severely impacting your image and the outcome of your event, cost you extra time and most likely extra money.
Ask for actual pictures of the equipment you will be renting including headsets, receivers, booths, transmitters, etc. Many providers put pretty pictures on their websites, but the actual equipment may be old, unkempt, dirty or broken. A company that will use less than impeccable equipment does not have your image in their best interest.
When interviewing a language service company, ask:
- If their interpreters are certified
- What experience they have in conference interpreting
- What their areas of specialty are (you shouldn’t accept a general interpreter, they must have expertise in your field of subject)
- For specific feedback from clients about their on-the-job performance including skill and personality.
Check to see if the organization is certified, accredited and recognized for their work. A quality organization will prove their quality through third party certification such as ISO 9001:2008 or EN 15038 (internationally recognized quality certification organizations).
Great organizations will also have recognitions and awards. It’s one thing to say you’re good; it’s entirely different to have an outside source confirm it.
Finally, talk to the project manager, the technicians and anyone else who will represent your organization at the event. If they aren’t organized and eager with superb customer service during the quoting process, you can guarantee they won’t be during the actual event. Every partner is an extension of your image, so make sure they represent you well.