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How to make multilingual meetings work for you

The Directorate General for Interpretation provides interpreters for between 10000 and 11000 meetings every year. It is the interpreters' job to make communication possible between delegates who do not share a language. Our experience has shown that also the communication skills of the participants are of paramount importance when working in a multilingual meeting. The greater the number of languages in use and the more complex the interpretation arrangements, the more this is true

When you are chairing or participating in a multilingual meeting it is useful to think about how your message gets across through interpretation. The interpreters are there to help the meeting proceed as if everyone was speaking the same language, and we provide the following tips in order to help you get the best possible quality of communication in your meeting.

The suggestions below refer specifically to the working conditions upheld by the European Commission but are generally valid for all meetings with interpretation. You are welcome to copy or use the information in these pages and to create links to it from your agendas or websites.

Read more...Planning

You have decided to hold a meeting with interpretation. Extensive experience and recent communication research have shown the following points to be important in preparing for such a meeting. Please check these points before you do anything else : Communication issues From your last experience of th...

Read more...Chairing

Every team of interpreters is assigned a team leader. He/she will contact you before the start of the meeting to confirm the languages available and outline other relevant information on working conditions/timetable. When you open proceedings, please announce which languages delegates may speak and ...

Read more...Tips for speakers

The Directorate General for Interpretation of the European Commission has collected experience over many years. Our interpreters have prepared a few tips for speakers in meetings with interpretation. You can, if you wish, print a PDF brochure with this information. When you are given the floor, plac...

Read more...Tips for speakers in a Webcast

Streaming media technologies or webcasting enable people to follow conferences via the Internet from any remote location (office/home). Combining digital audio and video with slide presentations (e.g. PowerPoint) given in the room and Internet chats (IRC) provides a memorable experience for remote p...

Read more...Chats

  Multilingual "chats" are organised by the European Commission: political figures interact with European citizens connected to the Internet using a chat facility. People can follow the chat discussion in any of the different languages provided. Incoming questions are translated as they come in by D...

Read more...Webcast and Chat combined

Virtual conferences often combine several media tools. DG interpretation usually provides a combination of : "Webcasting” which allows people located elsewhere to follow the conference in any of the languages for which simultaneous interpretation is provided in the meeting room; An interactive inter...

Read more...Videoconference with messaging

So far, videoconferencing standards (i.e. ITU-T H.320 used with ISDN lines, or H.323 on IP networks) have not met the technical requirements for simultaneous interpretation as specified in the ISO-2603 standard and in the Code for New Technologies adopted by a wide range of professional conference i...