Minimizing the Carbon Footprint of Interpretation Solutions

 | Global business issues, Interpretation best practices

Sustainability is a concept which may not readily spring to mind in connection with interpretation services. After all, as a mental process, interpretation could be considered a quasi-zero emissions activity. However, the logistics to support interpreters come at a cost and have an environmental impact.

Calliope-Interpreters aims to minimize the carbon footprint of interpretation solutions, enhancing the green credentials of your event and saving you money.  Sustainability is a concept which may not readily spring to mind in connection with interpretation services. After all, as a mental process, interpretation could be considered a quasi-zero emissions activity. However, the logistics to support interpreters come at a cost and have an environmental impact. Think interpretation equipment, printing, and above all travelling: if a conference requires a larger number of interpreters than are available locally, interpreters need to be brought in from elsewhere. In fact, most sustainability-related issues derive from the need to move interpreters from one place to another.

How does Calliope address the challenge of reducing the environmental cost of your event?

Simultaneous interpretation equipment

By tailoring the interpreting team to the client’s specific needs, Calliope consultant interpreters can contribute to streamlining the technical set-up and thus minimizing the energy consumption of power-hungry simultaneous interpretation and sound systems. We can help the event organizer and equipment provider to optimize the number of booths, consoles, and heating or air conditioning units in order to cut energy emissions. Redundancy and back-up is also kept to a sensible minimum.

Conference papers

Clearly it is vital for the interpreting team to have access to the conference papers ahead of the meeting in order to prepare thoroughly for the assignment. But gone are the days when bulky parcels of documents would be delivered by post to each interpreter in the team, who would then have to lug the papers to the meeting venue. Calliope has its own web-based platform for electronic document distribution, enabling it to supply documents to its interpretation teams securely and reliably. Calliope encourages interpreters not to print documents out, but rather to make use of e-readers and tablets in the booth, further reducing the meeting’s carbon footprint.

high-speed train

Travel

Minimizing the miles travelled by the interpreting team is key to increasing the sustainability of your event. Let’s say we are providing interpretation for a seven-language conference in Ljubljana. Are we going to “import” French interpreters from Paris, Brussels or Rome? Calliope’s global network means that it is uniquely placed to identify suitable interpreters based as close as possible to the venue, and to minimize the number of interpreters travelling large distances.

A Calliope consultant interpreter then has important choices to make about how the non-local interpreters will travel. Will s/he fly them to Ljubljana or to nearby Zagreb (just 140 km away), where they can catch a flight back home immediately after the end of the conference? Will the German interpreters fly in or take the train? Is public transport available from the airport to the hotel?

A modern aircraft burns about three litres of fuel per passenger for every 100km travelled. The average car requires six litres to travel the same distance, albeit at 1/10 of the speed of an Airbus 330. And the train is 20 times more energy efficient than a private car: the train in Spain (or in any other country for that matter) means energy gain! But if we do have to travel by road, a local bus service will be more environmentally friendly than several individual taxis.

In summary, Calliope responds to the travel challenge by:

  • Harnessing its global network to identify suitable local interpreters whenever possible
  • Choosing the most energy-efficient mode of transport
  • Recommending the use of public transport whenever possible, and arranging car pools if it is not.

Being away from home

Have you ever considered how much less efficient we are when we are away from home? Think of the plastic cutlery on the plane, the sandwich bags thrown in the bin, the disposable slippers at the hotel, dozens of receipts, the obligatory souvenirs for the children at home …

At Calliope we try to raise awareness of each and every parameter, recommending our interpreting teams to choose locally sourced products whenever possible, and to consider power and water consumption when staying at a hotel, especially in those regions where water is a scarce resource.

Calliope is committed to delivering high-quality tailor-made interpretation services, while forging a sensible sustainability strategy. This commitment enables us to enhance the green credentials of your event while saving you money. Our approach can be summed up as oikonomia, the ancient Greek word for stewardship, the judicious use of resources.

 

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