How to Plan Multilingual Virtual Events
International event planning is becoming more and more sophisticated, with virtual event software that enables experiences that surprise and awe audiences. With this, organizers are doubling and in some cases, tripling their pre-COVID-19 events attendance, attracting international participants from across the globe. In addition, historically global events, such as Spark AI, are switching to a full-virtual solution, becoming more accessible than ever to their thousands of attendees.
But with more diverse online event audiences, international event planners should be prepared to make complex decisions about their virtual environments. With attendees joining virtual conferences from all areas of the globe, having an event that is available in multiple languages is becoming a necessity. While offering translated content seems simple at first, event planners can quickly get sucked down a wormhole of decisions related to the translation.
In this blog, we’re going to share some key considerations and solutions for successfully translating virtual events in multiple languages.
Pre-recorded Video Content in Multiple Languages
How do you provide pre-recorded video content in multiple languages? The answer is planning ahead and thinking of all facets of your event that will need to be considered surrounding language accessibility.
Let’s say you have an upcoming virtual event and you would like to offer your pre-recorded video content in 3 different languages.
When your virtual attendees log into your event for the first time, have them choose the preferred language they want to hear video content in and they will only see videos in their selected language.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to produce pre-recorded content in different languages is to have the audio translated into the languages you want to offer. The translated audio plays in time with the presenter in the video, also known as dubbing.
An alternative way to achieve this is to have 3 different speakers who speak your chosen languages present the session content in their native language.
Keep in mind that whether you choose to dub the event's translated audio your sessions or provide live presenters, this triples the total number of event sessions within your virtual platform. Because of this, it’s vital to choose a virtual event platform that can house content of that size and still be easy to navigate.
Interpreting Live Sessions in Multiple Languages
Live streamed sessions are a bit more complex. Because they take place in real-time, dubbing the audio isn’t a viable option. Enter interpretation technology.
One of the best options for integrating multiple languages in your live sessions are AI software like Wordly and Interprefy can translate a presentation on the fly in more than 15 languages. Not only are they robust enough to translate a multitude of different languages, but they can also be a cost-effective tool to use.
Another option that kills 2 birds with 1 stone by solving for multiple languages and meeting ADA compliance for the hearing impaired, is to provide closed captioning in multiple languages. Successful multilingual conferences provide instant, real-time closed captioning that can be displayed with any live session.
A third and more complicated option is to have different live presenters speaking different languages. Although this is the best option for attendee experience, it could prove costly when it comes to presenter honoraria.
Whichever solution you choose, don’t forget Q&A! Will you offer Q&A in one language or all of the languages you offer?
Virtual Networking in Multiple Languages
Here’s where many international event planners start falling down the rabbit hole.
Consider how offering a multilingual virtual event will impact your attendee networking. Will you need to offer more virtual networking sessions for people who speak the same language? Will you only allow attendees to network with attendees who speak their language? These are important decisions you’ll need to make to ensure success.
Our suggestions are to start basic and then fan out on the details:
- What virtual platform are we using to host the event? Is it equipped to handle multiple languages?
- What languages are we offering during our event?
- What tool/technique are we using for event translation?
- How can we format our networking sessions to be inclusive to all, or have breakouts for specific languages?
- How can we take advantage of AI in our platform to make the work easy for us?
Breaking your event down into bite-sized discussions will help you keep your head above water during the planning process and steer you away from those planning rabbit holes.
In addition, one of the biggest pieces of advice we can give any multilingual conference planner is to find a virtual event platform provider that works hand in hand with you during this planning process. Not only will this help shape your event into a more well-rounded experience, but it will take a lot of the stress off of your plate.
Additional Considerations for Multilingual Virtual Events
Video content is only one aspect of offering a virtual event in multiple languages. You may want to have your agenda or even all of your content in your virtual event platform translated into the languages options you offer participants.
And beware! The more you have translated, the more your overall event costs will increase. So, be sure to keep your budget top of mind and consult with your virtual platform partner before making any decisions.
Offering your virtual event in different languages can boost attendee experience but it can lead to complex decisions for planners. We hope our international event planning resources have armed you with the right questions and considerations to make the best language decision for your virtual event.
Need assistance planning a virtual multilingual conference or other event? Contact MeetingPlay.