October 6, 2019

Conference interpretation

If you are organising an international conference with Chinese participants, you may need Mandarin Conference interpreters. What is a conference interpreter and how does it work? This article gives you some important pointers.


As an organiser, you need to consider the use of cabins. These cabins or booths with microphones for the interpreters are intended for the interpreters to work without background noise, in order to hear the speeches clearly and translate them well. Simultaneous interpreting is very intense and needs to take place in optimal circumstances for the best results. Cabins can be installed at your event location by professional companies.


For your conference to go smoothly and for speeches to be translated well, the interpreters need to prepare thoroughly. This means that they need to receive a programme with a list of speakers and important guests. They also need powerpoint presentations, speech notes and as much background information as you have available. Interpreters will dive into the subject matter and ensure that they are well-prepared. Only then the translation will be smooth and pleasant to listen to. This lends an extra layer to the aura of professionalism around your event.


When you search for information about conference interpreting, you often read about the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. What is the difference between these and what does it mean to you? First of all, if you hire qualified conference interpreters (simultaneous interpreters), you do not need to worry too much about the difference. The interpreters take the most appropriate action based on the situation. However, it is important that you fully inform the interpreters about your programme, the participants and the setting, well in advance. The interpreters need to know when there is to be private conversation, a tour, a speech, a workshop or a lunch meeting. This influences whether they will be whisper translating (sometimes called chuchotage), interpreting consecutively (sentence by sentence) or simultaneously with equipment. Simultaneous interpreting means that the speaker does not need to wait for the translation. This often refers to interpretation with the right equipment (a cabin or a whisper set). However, it can also mean whisper translation. You can discuss with the interpreters which of these is appropriate or let them decide. Again, this all comes down to advance notice and preparation.


For conference interpretation, the interpreters usually work in pairs. The reason for this is that simultaneous interpreting is too intense for one person to do continuously; it is not impossible but it is extremely exhausting and can easily lead to mistakes. The interpreters need to be experienced and well qualified, and they need to be well-prepared with as much preparation material as possible.