When to translate? Wann sollten Sie übersetzen? ¿Cuándo debería traducir?

Moving a pan-European conference to different European locations year on year always begs the question, should we offer the conference just in English or provide simultaneous translation?

Offering simultaneous translation is expensive, time consuming and can be risky – particularly if your subject content is technical or has it’s own specific terminology. If you are offering translation, it has to be first rate! And if you have parallel tracks running, you need a fleet of interpreters and a truck load of expensive kit!

An alternative is to deliver the conference just in English, but to promote in multiple languages and to provide some local language support guides ahead of the event – making it crystal clear of course that the conference will be held in English.

Translating marketing campaigns is not too big of a job and industry–specific terminology can remain in English.  Most email broadcast solutions enable you to host 2 or 3 versions of the same campaign so that you can feature a country flag in your email banner so that prospects can select the language they feel most comfortable communicating in.  Providing an introduction to the conference terminology in language of the host country is often appreciated and is also not too trying. (This has the benefit of providing you with an information resource that you can continue to use long after the specific event.)

To date, we’ve found that some locations demand local language simultaneous translation – Spain and France for example. Whereas in other locations, such as Netherlands or Sweden, offering the conference in English only is standard practice.  Other markets are less clear in terms of what’s the best approach.  We are currently working on a large conference to be held in Berlin in April for the staffing industry.  Business English is common in Germany but delivering the conference in English only is not necessarily the norm. So, the approach the client has opted for is to offer the conference sessions in English, but with marketing campaigns running in German and English and a terminology guide and introduction paper published in German ahead of the event.  To date, the German email campaigns are performing well and generating enquiries and registrations from potential attendees new to the event.

If you’d like support with your Pan-European event contact us and we’ll be happy to help, in English, auf Deutsch, en español, en français!

CWS photo for blog