Think about interpretation when planning your meeting
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 :
From your last experience of this meeting did you request more languages to speak and to listen to than you needed? Would some others have been more useful instead?
- Please adjust your language request to the real needs of the meeting.
- Please tell participants in the invitation which languages they can speak/listen to (after confirmation by DG Interpretation). Encourage them to speak freely, if possible in their mother tongue, and, when time is limited, to be brief rather than speak faster.
- Brief them as follows:
- Your message may not come across fully when you just read out a text or speaking note. Even someone listening to the original language may find it difficult to take in the message in every detail.
- If you have a lengthy statement, in order to save time, it may be more appropriate to submit the full text to the Secretariat, for the record, and just give a brief summary orally.
- Check if the title of the meeting is clear enough for the interpreters to prepare themselves correctly or if a subtitle would be helpful.
- Please annotate agenda items clearly (information, discussion, vote…).
- If possible, try to indicate the timing on the draft agenda.
- Organise a short briefing with the interpreters – A well-briefed interpreter is a more involved interpreter.
- Check that the documents are ready well in advance/in enough languages for the meeting to be successful.
- Make sure you provide necessary explanations (acronyms, technical terms…).
- Check if documents are clearly numbered/marked (agenda point, legal status, official code, originating institution or country…).
- The documents/agenda are usually provided in the interpreters' booths, but if any new documents are presented in the course of the meeting, please ensure that interpreters have received a copy before you discuss them.
- Have some paper copies at the meeting, even if you already sent the documents to DG Interpretation.
Visual aids/equipment and booths
- For power-point presentations or similar see tips on power point presentations and webcasting.
- Make sure you have requested suitable room/equipment (microphones, screens visible from all booths, and overhead projector).
- Consider using visual aids for figures, flow-charts etc. for your meeting.
- Make sure interpreters have a proper view of the screen and a paper copy of the slides.
- Make sure your room is equipped with booths; if not, you will need mobile booths that fulfil the necessary technical specifications.
Before the meeting
- Please check that DG interpretation has been informed of any last minute changes of starting time.
- Ensure the chair can explain in a few words during the meeting what is at stake on each agenda item. (This will put interpreters and participants in the picture).
- See the DG interpretation checklist for the Chair for practical tips
- Try to give a copy of an annotated agenda to the interpreters – it can contain aim of each agenda point, anticipating questions and preparing answers, etc.