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  • Writer's pictureLara Fasoli


We’re now fast approaching the two-year anniversary of the start of the pandemic and the widespread enforcement of lockdowns, which forced the whole world indoors and online. Since then, society has been yo-yoing between more stringent restrictions and partial freedom, yearning to find what many came to define “the new normal” – so far this seems to be forever pushed farther away in the future.

One constant element which has accompanied us on this 24-month-long rollercoaster was remote meetings. Whatever the platform and the format, the world has had to pivot online to keep things as much ‘business-as-usual’ as possible, and nobody knows this better than the event industry.

Over the last 1000 days or so, the event industry has had to adapt, re-learn, and reinvent itself in order to keep the world and people connected, offering a virtual solution that resembled as much as possible the ‘real thing’.

Online events have come far since their humble, low-tech, beginning, and even when doors and borders reopened, virtual meetups never went away.

There’s no denying it - virtual events are here to stay.

As highlighted by LinkedIn’s State of Virtual Events report, 2/3 of event marketers worldwide say they plan to run virtual events long-term, 40% stating their split between F2F and virtual will be in favour of the latter.

And why not?

Sure, virtual events will never be able to replace the in-person experience, but that’s not always needed. Some events actually benefit from a virtual delivery – just think of the amplified reach of a virtual launch compared to a locally-organised one, where logistics and budget restrict the scale of the event.

Now that virtual events came of age by making a virtue out of necessity, the future of the industry is both in-person and online, with the two meeting halfway with hybrid solutions.

With the increased reach offered by virtual events, language barriers emerge even more starkly. An online event, if organised properly to take advantage of all the benefits offered, will most likely be a multilingual online event.

Contrary to popular belief, relying on English as the main language for an event because ‘everyone speaks it’ just doesn’t cut it. Yes, English is the most spoken second language in the whole world, but the keyword there is ‘second’: it is estimated that 1.3 billion people speak English - out of these, 978 million are non-native. In order words, over 75% of English speakers learnt the language later on in life and have different levels of proficiency when it comes to understanding and speaking it.

This is why it is vital for brands to engage with their target audience in their native language. As Nelson Mandela beautifully put it:

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”

But how do you go about organising a truly multilingual virtual event? What different factors do you need to take into consideration compared to a ‘standard’ online event? Who’s best equipped to provide multilingual support? Where can you source real-time translators, also known as interpreters, for a multilingual online event?

To answer these and many more questions about multilingual online events, we have decided to gather in one single place everything we have learnt over the course of the past two years as providers of interpreting services for virtual events and as language consultants for event agencies.

This guide is unique, as it not only covers how to best manage the interpreting team for your online event, but it looks at the organisation process holistically, taking all the different important aspects of ‘standard’ virtual events into consideration and integrating the interpreting service, along with the multilingual support and other language related features, into the bigger picture.

We’re going to be honest: there is a lot to cover – this is why we have decided to split the guide in different chapters to better analyse each aspect and delve into more details. These sections will have some overlaps and will cross-reference one another, but we’ll add links and clear directions for you to easily find the information you need to make your multilingual online event a true success.

Here below you’ll find links to all the different chapters and a brief description to pick the one you need.

The ultimate guide to multilingual online events – Part I: How to set your event up for success

In the first chapter, we’ll discuss how to lay the perfect foundations for your multilingual online event, so nothing can trip you up later down the line! We’re talking about setting the date, choosing the right duration and format, outlining your agenda, choosing the best platform and selecting the perfect interpreting team. With this first chapter, expect to answer questions like:

  1. How long in advance should I plan a multilingual online event?

  2. How long should a multilingual online event be?

  3. How many languages can I add to a multilingual virtual event?

  4. Which platform is best for multilingual online events?

  5. Where can I find real-time translators (aka interpreters) for a multilingual virtual event?

The ultimate guide to multilingual online events – Part II: The interpreting team

The second chapter of the guide delves more in detail into the topic of the interpretation service – an essential feature of every truly multilingual online event. This one is for you if you want answers to questions like:

  1. What is Remote Simultaneous Interpreting?

  2. What platform is best for RSI?

  3. What set-up do I need for RSI?

  4. How do you build the perfect translation team for a multilingual online event?

  5. How do you work with interpreters?

The ultimate guide to multilingual online events – Part III: The platforms

After the boom of virtual events, the number of teleconferencing and ad-hoc platforms skyrocketed in a short amount of time. Not all were created equal, though, and selecting the right platform/solution can make or break your multilingual online event. This chapter of the guide is for you if you want to discover:

  1. What platform is the best for multilingual virtual events?

  2. What online event platform should I use for translation?

  3. Does Zoom have translation?

  4. How to use translation in Zoom?

  5. Which platform is best: Zoom, Skype, Teams?

The ultimate guide to multilingual online events – Part IV: Coordinating efforts ahead of the event

Planning a multilingual virtual event requires an extra coordination effort compared to a ‘regular’ online event, as there are many more moving parts that need to be briefed, kept in the loop and managed, both on the day but especially ahead of the event. Read more to find out:

  1. What information do the speakers need to know ahead of the event?

  2. How can you effectively share material and information ahead of the event?

  3. What’s the difference between a tech-check and a dry run?

  4. What information do the interpreters need to know ahead of the event?

The ultimate guide to multilingual online events – Part V: Managing the event on the day

You’ve planned, coordinated, prepped, briefed and promoted as best as you could – now it’s showtime! In this fifth chapter of the guide, we’ll share tips and tricks on how to be on top of your multilingual online event once you go live. Read more to find out:

  1. What are the best practices of remote simultaneous interpreting?

  2. What’s an online event moderator?

  3. How do you monitor interpretation during a live event?

In each section of the five chapters we’ll also share a PRO tip we’ve learnt along the way to make your life as easy as possible.

We can’t wait to embark on this journey and learn together!

If you’re pressed for time and can’t wait for each chapter to be released, just get in touch to book a free consultation where we can discuss your needs and create the most engaging, well-crafted and truly localised multilingual online event your audience has ever seen.

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