Conference Interpretation

Conference Interpretation at an international government meeting

What is conference interpretation?

As an active player in the conference industry, you will doubtless be involved in organising meetings using more than one working language. People travel considerable distances at significant expense to attend these events and to meet and talk to each other. To enable them to communicate effectively, you need professionals who can translate between the different languages used. This is where conference interpretation comes in.

Conference interpretation is the act of conveying a message, which has originally been spoken in one language, in one or more other languages, through a team of conference interpreters. It is used at meetings large and small: international summits, scientific congresses, medical and technical conferences, annual general meetings, corporate events, and financial press conferences, among others.

Who is qualified to provide conference interpretation?

Qualified conference interpreters are highly skilled individuals who have undergone several years of training to become fully fledged members of their profession. Their level of education and expertise can be compared with that of an engineer, lawyer or medical doctor, and they command similar fees. By choosing to provide high-quality conference interpretation at your event you are likely to attract a wider range of participants, including those who are not fluent in the local language. Communication will be smoother, as all will be able to understand and share their views, and the event will be more inclusive, lending your event added prestige.

The different modes of conference interpretation and when they are used

There are several different modes of conference interpretation, each lending itself to a different format or setting. Choosing the right mode of interpreting for your event is crucial. The majority  of meetings, from mega-events with hundreds of attendees in several languages to small bilingual meetings, will require simultaneous interpretation (sometimes called live interpretation or simultaneous translation) with booths and headsets, whereas a short press conference or after-dinner speech may be better transmitted in consecutive interpretation (the interpreter takes notes and delivers the speech when the speaker pauses). Executive interpreting may be the best solution for a business meeting and whispered/diplomatic interpreting most suitable when accompanying a political leader. Finally, a tour-guide system can be invaluable when delegates and interpreters need to be mobile. For sign language interpretation, please refer to our sign language interpreting services. Calliope will be able to help you make the right choices.

Calliope can:

  • help you to define your requirements
  • determine the language configuration and mode of interpretation best suited to your meeting
  • select the most suitable professional conference interpreters
  • show you ways to maximise your budget
  • provide advice on interpretation equipment or source it for you

Examples from our portfolio

Alexandra Hambling providing conference interpretation for the World Meeting of Families

Pastoral Congress of the World Meeting of Families (WMOF)

When 37,000 Roman Catholic pilgrims from 114 countries met in Dublin for the World Meeting of Families hosted by the Pope in August 2018, Alexandra Hambling, Calliope’s representative for Ireland, assisted with project management, simultaneous interpretation and assigning 35 interpreters in 4 languages.


Conference interpretation for President Rivlin in Paris

Presidential meeting between President Rivlin and President Macron

When Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris in January 2018, Gisèle Abazon, Calliope’s representative for Israel, was on hand to ensure that communication between the two leaders flowed smoothly. The meeting, which took place at the beautiful Elysée Palace, was part of an official visit to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and France.


ICSLA conference interpreters working

International conference on sign language acquisition

In June 2018, scientists and students from around the world, as well as the Turkish Deaf Community, met in Istanbul to discuss the topic of sign language acquisition. Maya de Wit, Calliope’s worldwide representative for sign language interpreting, set up and coordinated the team of 13 sign language interpreters (International Sign (IS), American Sign Language (ASL), Turkish Sign Language (TID), Norwegian Sign Language and British Sign Language (BSL)) and 2 spoken language interpreters (English-Turkish).

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