Listening and being heard

Richard Roocroft, global sales director of Interprefy (an online simultaneous translation solution company), shares how overcoming language barriers is now more crucial with the rise of virtual events, and how remote interpretation can help such events increase their breadth and scale

Who are some of your clients that have hosted or are planning a virtual event of some sort?
Yes, many; SAS, Genesys, BHP, Google and Herbalife, to name a few. Our core focus was in-person events; bringing people together from across the region and breaking down language barriers by using remote interpretation.

The first quarter of 2020 saw our pipeline obliterated, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the industry. But every cloud has a silver lining, because in order to provide remote interpreting we were taking events online anyway. And with event organisers going virtual nowadays, the only way to remove language barriers is through remote interpretation.

What are some benefits you’ve seen with hosting virtual events that supersede those of in-person events?
Analytics will be the major plus, providing valuable insight to what your audience finds most engaging.

What are some of the challenges to look out for in hosting virtual events and how have you helped clients overcome them?
We have found that live-streaming lots of content to huge audiences can be very expensive. Many of our partners advise clients to keep a percentage of the event live while having pre-recorded sessions available on-demand, which helps reduce costs significantly. In essence, the live part of the event can be hours, while the amount of content delivered can be as much as you need to put out there.

What’s the difference in costs and revenue when hosting an offline vs online event?
This is a difficult one. With remote interpreting for events with several languages, customers can save 40 per cent on average. This is just one part of the overall event cost and usually, these savings are spent elsewhere to enhance the event experience.

Going virtual, I’ve heard clients spending what they would have done offline while going online, to give the virtual event a fighting chance of success. I’ve also seen organisers do much smaller or scaled-down versions to get by in the meantime.

At the end of the day, event organisers will work within the budget they have available to achieve the best experience for their audience whether that be online or offline.

What tools can event planners use to better their virtual event?
There are a number of systems on the market that have developed key features for filling such voids. Interprefy’s strength is removing language barriers, and we are technology agnostic, so if clients decide to use Intrado InXpo, Chime Live or other All-in-One Events (AIO) platforms such as those by Imavox, we simply support them by providing the language layer.

There is nothing stopping event organisers using various tools to achieve their goals, and we have a partner network to support them with doing exactly that. Tools include multilingual options, Q&A, polling, and the ability to provide feedback.

How have you seen hosting a virtual event, or using virtual provider options like Interprefy benefitting your clients?
In the short term, hosting virtual equivalents will provide businesses with continuity during these disruptive times. Having said that, once forced to embrace such technologies for the execution of events throughout 2020, I do believe that when things settle, event organisers should take a blended approach and keep the virtual audience in mind for greater reach. Virtual events could well be a powerful marketing extension to attract delegates to join in person in future years to come.

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