Planning and Managing your Next Global Multilingual Event

Planning any large scale global multilingual event requires careful planning months or even years beforehand. Corporate executives need to hire  suppliers, key presenters, and project managers need to map out strategic pathways and objectives. When the multilingual interpretation event involves a global, multilingual audience from several different countries or cultural backgrounds, the planning process requires even more consideration.

Events can come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most common include:

  • International multilingual conferences
  • Concerts or other entertainment events
  • Product launches
    Cultural exhibitions or art shows
  • Sporting events

The Starting Point

Before any form of logistics planning can begin, the corporations will need to discuss, plan and determine the purpose and objectives of the event and to map out a basic planning framework.

There will be a number of key questions that will need to be answered in order to plan effectively. These will include topics such as:

Who are they presenting to and why?

The invited attendee list will vary depending on the type of event. For example, fans attending an international sporting event will like to hear commentary and have brochures and merchandise available in their own language. Employees of a major global multicultural corporation at a conference will need training materials and live interpreters at various sessions.

Who will be doing the presenting?

At a concert the key presenter would naturally be the performer or band. While they may not need to say much between songs, they would probably want to interact with the audience. Ensuring they know the basics of several common languages will help them to engage more effectively.

What languages do the presenters speak?

In some events, the presenters share a common language especially if they work for the same company, however sometimes they may speak a variety of different languages such as at a trade show. The selection of presenters may be greatly influenced by the languages they are able to converse in.

Where is the event being held? What languages are spoken locally? Are there cultural traditions that need to be taken into account?

Events like product launches or art exhibitions are taken on tour around many countries so the planning will need to include translation services for each country visited. Organizations may hold their annual conferences in a different county each year so while the participants may share a common language they would need help when communicating with the local staff and community. Particular care will need to be given to investigating local customs in relation to things like greetings, choice of colors for designs and venue decorations. If there are external activities or entertainment provided then due care will also need to be given to assess their cultural suitability. Translations will have to be checked carefully to avoid accidental offense or misunderstandings. Sometimes they don’t have to be word for word as long as they convey the intended meaning.

What languages do the attendees speak and understand?

Event organizers will need to research the demographics of their likely attendees and determine the languages they speak. Is their one language spoken by the majority such as English or is there a wider range of languages and cultures that need to be considered?

How many languages will be catered for? Which will be the main languages spoken?

Once all the above factors have been researched and assessed, organizers will need to decide which language(s) they will provide translation and interpretation services for. This will certainly have an effect on the overall event budget and planning.

Operational Planning

Once the framework of the event and the communication needs have been established organizers will then need to break up the project into separate tasks to be managed by appropriate department leaders. These will include areas such as finance, transport and logistics, human resources, marketing and so on. Translation, transcription and interpretation services will be required in almost all of these areas to varying extents.

Here are just some of the areas that will need to be addressed and planned for quite early in the process:

  • Budgeting in multiple currencies
  • Cost of transporting people and goods into and around the country
  • Creating contracts and legal documents
  • Information packs for delegates, suppliers and sponsors
  • Multi-lingual registration software for attendees linked to a central database
  • Websites and social media channels
  • Marketing – including TV and radio, print media and online in multiple languages
  • Point of sale material including DVD’s, programs, posters.
  • Local area maps and information.
  • Venue information such as seating arrangements, dining and signage
  • Live interpreters for presenters plus one interpretation booth per language
  • Printed and online training materials and literature like abstracts, catalogues and manuals
  • Audio visual presentations during sessions
  • Recording of events to be available for download after the event if appropriate
  • Post event communication and activities

All of this can be managed by large organizations with experienced staff dedicated to these planning areas, however most small to medium sized companies simply lack the manpower and resources to manage everything internally. They will need to strongly consider partnering with a multi-lingual global event management agency. This is particularly important in highly specialized industries such as software development, medicine and renewable energy.

The primary goal of implementing multilingual services in any type of event is the same. Organizers need to ensure that all communication imparts the same information to each attendee regardless of the language used. Each must have the same opportunities for participation, access, enjoyment and follow up activities. Through careful planning and consideration these goals are definitely achievable and they will contribute to the ultimate success of the event.

Contact us today via email or call at 1-866-201-2921 with your global multilingual event planning and management needs.