How to Handle Language Interpretation for Virtual Meetings
Interpretation functionality will be essential for international associations
Like a lot of organizations, the financial association Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) shifted its meetings and events to all-virtual formats for 2020. That required MDRT to rethink how it was handling language interpretation for its membership, 80 percent of which is located outside the United States. Where before interpretation might be managed in person and case by case, MDRT now needed a more efficient and dynamic solution.
As in many other situations this year, Zoom proved to be a life-saver. Through the platform, conference and webinar leaders can assign interpreters and give participants the option to access interpretations through their preferred audio channel. (Zoom sets the native language at a lower volume to allow the listener to grasp tone and intonation, and interpreters can see the people for whom they’re interpreting.) In 2020, MDRT has used Zoom this way live for leadership meetings and webinars, according to Eryn Carter, CAE, MDRT’s senior director for global markets.
“Some of our members in different countries who are used to engaging with our association in person were quite skeptical of using virtual platforms, but the feedback has been very positive,” she says. “It’s almost been a 180 for some of the markets we work in, in terms of changing their minds about how effective those platforms can be, even with interpretation.”
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