Guide to Multilingual Virtual Meetings: Best Tools and Practices
Since the advent of COVID-19, we've seen exponential growth in the use of virtual events and meetings.
Because of the pandemic, companies around the world have changed the way they work. Now, there's a big demand for online events that can cater to participants from different countries - all at once.
Virtual meetings are now a regular part of our work life, thanks to more people working from home and teaming up with others globally. These online get-togethers - like group calls or web events - help connect people no matter where they are.
But things get tricky when attendees speak different languages. Clear communication is essential for good multilingual virtual meetings, and it gets harder when different languages come into play.
Different languages, cultures, and accents can cause confusion, making it hard for everyone to work together. On top of language differences, other challenges like time zone differences and technical issues can also arise.
So, when companies hold multilingual virtual meetings, they need special tools to help participants understand each other. Using video tools and platforms that help with language can make online events better for everyone.
To help make your multilingual virtual meetings easier, we've made a list of useful tips. With these, you can facilitate smooth multilingual virtual meetings that welcome everyone, no matter what language they speak.
Best Practices for Conducting Multilingual Virtual Meetings
- Let everyone know about available language help
- Check your sound/ audio
- Show slides in English and target languages
- Guide people on how to use language interpretation services
- Use good hardware: headsets, mics, or earbuds with microphones
- Make sure your camera facilitates a clear visual feed
- Talk clearly and calmly
- Use a reliable network; sometimes a wired connection is a better choice over Wi-Fi
- Turn off/ mute your mic when not speaking
- Give relevant materials to interpreters, so that they can familiarize themselves ahead of time
1. Spread the Word
Communicate with attendees ahead of time to make them aware that language interpretation services are available. You can do this through your website, social media, or emails.
2. Sound Matters
Before your event, test your sound, interpretation channels and platform functionality. Every tool varies, so familiarize yourself with its features. Engage a tech expert to help out if needed.
3. Use Slides Wisely
If possible, use slides that utilize both English, and your target languages. Starting with a welcome slide in multiple languages is a nice touch.
4. Guide on Language Interpretation Services
Make no assumptions. Start your event by thoroughly explaining how participants can access language interpretation services - preferably using both audio and visual aids. Despite your best efforts, some attendees might still face difficulties, so ensure that technicians are on standby to offer assistance.
5. Use Good Audio Gear
Interpreters excel when they have clear audio. Use a good quality microphone, earbuds, or headset to ensure they hear you clearly. While fancy equipment isn't necessary, investing in reliable hardware is.
6. Camera Position
Communication goes well beyond words. Interpreters also rely on visual cues like facial expressions and gestures to grasp the full context. Ensure that there’s adequate lighting, and remember that the more visible you are, the better the interpretation will be.
7. Pace Your Speech
Though presenting can be daunting, avoid rushing through your content. A steady pace allows interpreters to follow and interpret more accurately. Controlled breathing can help manage your speech rhythm, ensuring clarity for non-native attendees.
8. Go Wired (if needed)
Use a cable connection for internet connectivity if required. Aside from the stability and reliability when compared to Wi-Fi or mobile data, it also promises faster data transfer, making it preferable for streaming or using high-bandwidth platforms.
9. Mic Etiquette
Keep your mic off when you're not talking. It keeps background noise low (a serene auditory environment is vital for interpreters). Familiarize yourself with your platform's controls and inform attendees about audio protocol, such as the need to unmute or use the raise hand feature when speaking.
10. Help the Interpreters
Consider this the golden standard. Pre-sharing materials, agendas, and event briefs, ensure that interpreters are at their best. The more familiar they are with the content (including presentations, agendas, and participant details), the more effectively they can interpret. Even seasoned interpreters benefit from advance preparation.
By following these easy tips, you'll be setting the stage for successful, inclusive, and seamlessly executed multilingual virtual meetings.
Four Primary Solutions for Multilingual Virtual Meetings
1. Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI)
Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI), involves participants coming together in a preferred location for an in-person discussion. Meanwhile, interpreters are situated at a remote location but remain connected to the venue's audio and video systems.
This arrangement allows for real-time interpretation as conversations progress. It's an optimal choice for locations that lack the space for dedicated interpreter booths.
A standout advantage of this method is the cost-saving aspect: companies don't have to cover travel or accommodation expenses for the interpreters. Furthermore, such meetings can be held within the company's premises, provided there's enough room for all participants.
To ensure a smooth flow, technical experts can oversee the connection quality, ensuring clear communication between the speakers, audience, and interpreters.
2. Multilingual Webinars
Reputable webinar platforms can seamlessly incorporate simultaneous interpretation into their digital broadcasting features. In this solution, presenters have the ability to share visual content with attendees, all of whom can connect from the comfort of their remote locations through various devices.
Alongside the audience, interpreters also participate on the platform, promptly interpreting the presentations into the target languages. This model is especially suited for short events, such as financial reviews or important corporate messages.
Furthermore, with some platforms having the capacity to accommodate up to 2,500 participants, all that's needed for a smooth experience is a reliable internet connection and a headset.
3. Multilingual Conference Calls
Simultaneous Interpretation Model
In Simultaneous Interpretation, attendees can access the call through their regular phones, which is especially beneficial for those without computer access or who are not tech-savvy.
Participants dial in and choose their language. While the primary speaker talks, interpreters interpret the content into various languages.
Attendees listen in their selected language, and if they have questions, they can use keypad prompts. Impressively, this method supports up to eight languages, making the experience akin to standard conference calls.
Consecutive Interpretation Model
The Consecutive Interpretation Model has been a long-standing method in the corporate world. It's best for discussions that involve just one language pair.
In this format, participants speak in turns, pausing after each segment for interpreters to interpret. Everyone on the call hears both the initial message and its interpreted version. This method is cost-effective, with participants calling from their locations, but it tends to make meetings longer.
4. Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
Among the four solutions for multilingual virtual meetings, one standout is the Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) solution. This method is a game-changer, especially for tech-savvy business professionals.
Picture this: putting on VR glasses and suddenly being with colleagues from all over the world in a digital meeting space. This could be a simulated formal conference or even a break-out zone.
By blending the capabilities of remote simultaneous interpretation with virtual reality, it genuinely feels like everyone's in the same room.
Regulations and Standards for Multilingual Virtual Meetings
Government and Official Meetings- Many official multilingual virtual meetings follow stringent standards. It's crucial to familiarize oneself with these, ensuring compliance and avoiding potential pitfalls.
For an in-depth understanding of how to navigate multilingual virtual meetings in an official context, it's a good idea to refer to expert guidelines, such as those provided by the Association of Bay Area Governments on multilingual meeting tips.
Business Compliance- In the corporate world, adhering to international standards when conducting multilingual virtual meetings can bolster reputation and build trust.
Ensuring Data Privacy- Data security is very important, especially when dealing with multiple languages. Platforms like Interpreter.io prioritize security, ensuring that your multilingual exchanges remain confidential.
Why Are Multilingual Virtual Meetings Beneficial?
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic drastically reduced global business trips and face-to-face meetings. As a result, the world shifted, turning to online platforms for meetings and events. While some traditional business practices are making a comeback, virtual meetings and video interpreting have firmly cemented their place.
The reason? The benefits of virtual meetings are undeniable.
Multilingual virtual meetings significantly slash travel expenses, and the platforms that host these meetings are user-friendly and versatile for various gatherings. Planning becomes streamlined in a virtual format, eliminating the need for things like the reservation of physical venues.
Furthermore, the reduced reliance on in-person meetings cuts down on travel-related carbon emissions. This shift to online conferences is a positive move for the environment, lowering the carbon footprint associated with gatherings.
Technological advancements in the world of multilingual virtual meetings enhance their efficiency and inclusivity. Not only can these meetings be recorded for later reference or for those who missed out, but features like Remote Simultaneous Interpretation also make them more inclusive. This means individuals from diverse linguistic backgrounds can actively participate.
In essence, virtual meetings are a blessing for businesses, making interactions more versatile, effective, and inclusive.
Multilingual virtual meetings where people speak different languages are now a big part of our work life. Making these meetings go smoothly can be a challenge, but they are a cost-effective and efficient way to bring people together from around the world.
Our guide has given you tips and tools to help, like using good equipment and making sure everyone can understand each other. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your virtual gatherings are productive and enjoyable for all participants, regardless of their location and native language.
If you're looking for a reliable platform that can make these kinds of meetings easier, check out Interpreter.io. We have lots of helpful services and ways to make sure everyone in your meeting is on the same page, no matter what language they speak.
A final word of caution - be careful not to use machine interpretation or translation software, as it might give you inaccurate results. Poor interpretation hinders clear communication with your audience and might tarnish your organization's reputation.
So, if you want to make your multilingual virtual meetings better and easier to understand for everyone, go ahead and visit Interpreter.io today.