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Simultaneous interpreting success for your conference

Are you organising a conference and you know the speakers will be interpreted simultaneously?

Are you a speaker going to a conference which will be providing simultaneous interpreting to its audience?

Then keep reading and follow these simple tips, that cost nothing, yet make a massive difference to the quality of your event. Help interpreters excel at their job, provide your audience a stellar service, and speakers the chance to feel at ease.


1. Two in the booth

For any event lasting longer than 1-2 hours, in fact, for any event more or less, you need to hire two interpreters. We each interpret for about 25'-30'. When one interprets, the other one listens, follows the speeches, searches for terms and gets ready to jump in any time. Most of the time, we will be swapping every time the speaker changes on the floor to ensure a smooth and natural transition. But if the session is lengthy or our colleague needs a break, we may switch halfway through a session or speech.

2. The tech

When we are two interpreters, we need two microphones, two headsets. They must, first of all, work, and secondly work simultaneously, so that we can switch smoothly back and forth from one to the other interpreter without interruption.

We need a fast internet connection, so we can do a quick terminology search for our booth colleague or ourselves, in case we get stuck somewhere, or need to cross-check our sources. This ensures smooth collaboration between the two interpreters and increases accuracy of information across languages.

If you find you're using simultaneous interpreting more and more often, consider buying your own, permanent equipment, including the booths. This will save you the repeat expenses for equipment hire.

3. No cost solutions - reference material

We need to have some very critical reference material sent to us in advance.

For example the schedule/order of the day, programme of your event, including the full names of the speakers, and the titles of their talks. If the speakers use a speech, even in draft form, it is very useful for us to have that too. If there are slides, please email those, even in draft format.

This kind of information, helps us do the appropriate research of the topic. We also research the speakers, make sure we know who they are, what they do, how they speak, and watch previous talks delivered by them to familiarise ourselves with their speaking style.

It is critical for interpreters to have the participants' material in advance too. Anything participants see in front of them in their folders, such as leaflets, budgets, handouts, etc., especially if references are made to the material by the speakers during the talks. Names, numbers, and any other factual information can be shared in writing and in advance, as this type of information should be accurate. What participants see in front of them should be the same as what they hear through their headsets from the interpreters.

4. We do the prep, you do the prep

It is always a good idea to mention at the beginning of your event that there is simultaneous interpreting taking place so that speakers can speak slowly. This does not mean speakers need to become incredibly slow and robotic. In fact, it is a lot harder to interpret a speaker that reads out of a speech on paper, or a speaker who is not natural. This comment applies to those who speak objectively way too fast, not only for interpreters, but in general. A natural, eloquent, gifted speaker, with a well-prepared presentation and a logical train of thought, should sound equally good through the interpreter in a different language.

5. In confidence

Regarding confidentiality and discretion, interpreting work is always carried out in confidence. We treat any conversation, speech or material as confidential, even if it is not, because this is the code of conduct for our profession.

In any case, we forget what has been discussed as soon as we leave, because we need to empty our tired minds and fill them in with information for our next project.

Get in touch to discuss your conference interpreting needs.


Vasiliki is a translator, interpreter, transcreator, blogger, consultant and director of Greek to Me Translations Ltd. She works with English, Greek and French herself and has a team of trusted colleagues who can cover other languages. The offered language services serve mainly the legal, creative, and psychometrics industries.

Vasiliki is a Chartered Linguist, member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and Panhellenic Association of Greek Translators (PEM). She is registered with the Greek Embassy in the United Kingdom as a certified translator and interpreter. She holds a BA in English Language and Linguistics and Masters in Business Translation and Interpreting. She is a Member of Council to CIOL, a University Lecturer in Languages (Translation) at School of Business and Law at London Metropolitan University, a public speaker and writer for industry magazines.

Her mission is to help organisations and individuals achieve their goals through the power of words. Through mentoring, Vasiliki helps aspiring or young translators to overcome self-limiting beliefs, build a business mindset and achieve their highest potential.

You can follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Greek to Me Translations Ltd
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The contents of this blog belong to Vasiliki Prestidge, Director of Greek to Me Translations Ltd and cannot be copied or reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

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