Tips for presenters addressing multilingual audiences

 | Interpretation best practices

Help your presenters prepare themselves for speaking to multilingual audiences with valuable tips and resources from experts.

Step six of 7 steps for getting the best conference interpretation solution for your event involves helping your presenters and panelists address multilingual audiences. Presenters need to consider that their messages will also be delivered in other languages via simultaneous interpretation. Speakers must bear in mind that conference interpreters are there to help people understand what the speaker is saying. Here are a few tips and pieces of advice for presenters so that interpreters can do their jobs well. 

Reading is not recommended

We’ve all attended conferences where “speakers” are actually just reading their notes or their entire speech word for word. This is not only less spontaneous and interactive for audiences, but it complicates matters for conference interpreters, who are there to ensure the speakers’ messages are delivered in other languages. Don’t let your presenters get away with reading.  Encourage them to speak freely.

Speaking directly to the audience not only results in a more interesting presentation, but it also boosts the performance of the interpreter. Words are only a small part of communication. The speaker’s facial expressions, accompanying gestures and body language are crucial for conference interpreters to be able to understand what the speaker is saying. These messages may not come across fully, if at all, when speakers’ eyes are glued to the text, which is recited verbatim. 

Share materials with conference interpreters 

Remember in step 2 of this series, we discussed the importance of visibility for interpreters. The task of interpreting becomes extremely difficult if interpreters can’t see the screen clearly with presentations that, in most cases, they have never seen before. This is especially true for figures, technical terms, etc. 

Ask speakers to provide you with notes, technical documents and PowerPoint presentations as far in advance as possible. Share these with your team of interpreters so that they can prepare for the conference ahead of time. 

Smart Speaking TipsSmart speakers speak slowly, pause frequently, enunciate well, and avoid jargon.

Speakers may get nervous, particularly when addressing large audiences. When we get nervous, we tend to speak more quickly. Speakers need to be reminded to speak slowly, to pause frequently, and to enunciate well. Interpreters will have more time to get the speakers’ points across so that all listeners will be able to better understand.

In addition to good pace and diction, speakers should remember that jargon and acronyms may be totally unfamiliar to those who don’t speak their language. Therefore jargon and acronyms will need to be defined, if not avoided altogether.

This short video is packed with tips for speakers preparing to address multilingual audiences. Take a minute to watch and share it with your conference speakers today.  

Download and share Tips for Speakers, a handy checklist for presenters from our resources for event planners page

Thanks for reading step six of our blog series 7 steps to getting the best conference interpretation solution for your event. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to our newsletter

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