6 Tips to Choose the Right Interpretation Service for Your Events in Korea

Planning an event in Korea? Make sure you choose the right interpretation service with these 6 tips. Don't let language barriers ruin your event!
6 tips to choose the right interpretation service provider for your events in Korea

Hosting an international conference or a seminar in South Korea? You’ve likely gone to great lengths to invite renowned experts and scholars. Now, you face the challenge of ensuring clear communication. Enter, interpretation services.

However, it can be difficult to find the right interpretation service provider. You may find yourself overwhelmed, unsure of what to prioritize, and wary of pitfalls.

If that’s the case, this guide is for you.

Read on for expert insights from our founder, Eunnara Jo (Nara), on how to make your international event a success for your global audience.

The importance of interpretation for international events

International events are not just meetings—they are rare gatherings of knowledge, ideas, and innovations.

When hosting scholars and experts from around the world, the essence of every discussion needs to be captured and conveyed accurately.

The right interpretation service ensures that your speakers’ messages

  • break through language barriers;
  • resonate with your audience.

More so, with the post-pandemic surge in hybrid events, the demand for top-tier interpretation has soared.

People are much more comfortable joining live-streamed events than ever before. Even at major international conferences, some panelists may opt to participate via platforms like Zoom. As a result, the reach and impact of the discussions have broadened.

When your event is being live-streamed, sharing conversations with a wider, possibly global audience, it’s even more important to avoid any embarrassing misinterpretations.

But what exactly should you look for when choosing an interpretation or language service provider? Let’s find out.

6 tips for choosing the right interpretation service provider

1. Know what to look for when assessing language expertise

Being good at interpretation goes beyond being fluent in two or more foreign languages.

If you’re sourcing individual interpreters, the most common thing to look for is their career record and educational background. Yet, sifting through profiles can be a daunting task, especially when you’re uncertain about how to ascertain quality.

Engaging with an agency simplifies this. You’ll want to check, at minimum, if their pool of interpreters have

  • a solid career record with several years of experience;
  • a degree in interpretation and translation, ideally from a reputable graduate school.

For example, at JOEL Localization, all of our Korean interpreters have graduated from a renowned graduate school in the country with at least 3+ years of experience in the field.

2. Consider a turnkey solution

Arranging interpretation for international events is no small task. It’s about more than just finding people.

Imagine that your event includes simultaneous interpretation, for which you’ll need specialized equipment like:

  • a soundproof booth
  • interpreter sets, including microphones and headsets;
  • receivers for the audience;
  • shorthand devices for subtitling (in the case of live streaming).

You’ll also need at least two interpreters on hand to take turns.

If you’re navigating this realm for the first time, identifying the best interpreters and device companies can be daunting.

Opting for a turnkey solution that includes all of the above (like the one we offer at JOEL Localization) can significantly streamline this process.

Occasionally, you may even have a sudden need for additional services like subtitles, document translation, or even legal translation. As our founder, Eunnara (Nara) Jo, says:

“Often, the need for translation occurs even for events. Such as last-minute decisions to add subtitles on congratulatory remarks shared as a pre-recorded video, translating promotional brochures and marketing collateral, etc. You want your agency to be able to cover all that with a tight turnaround time.”

If you find an agency with a one-stop solution, you can ensure that all aspects—from accurate translation and interpretation and equipment to subtitling—are handled through a single point of contact.

3. Prioritize technological proficiency

Today’s events are evolving into hybrid models, combining both offline and online elements. In this context, live streaming becomes vital.

The agency you choose must be skilled not only in interpretation but also in handling the tech challenges that accompany this format. This includes:

  • configuring the booth and receiver communication systems;
  • ensuring seamless audio coordination between the interpreter booth and the floor sound;
  • handling the two-line real-time subtitle format software to render the shorthand into proper subtitles;
  • addressing any technical issues immediately.

Given the multitude of devices and event staff using walkie-talkies, proper setup of your booth and receiver communication systems is pivotal to prevent frequency interference and ensure uninterrupted interpretation delivery to the receivers.

Nara says that:

“You want an agency that already has experience and knows how it works and can take prompt actions in the case of emergency. Because we provide the booth and audio device as well, we do all such checks depending on the format of the event when we go install the booth prior to the event.”

4. Evaluate cost-effectiveness vs. quality

While budget constraints are valid, avoid compromising on interpretation quality.

Given the nuanced nature of live events and the unpredictability they bring, you need seasoned professionals with specialist knowledge and experience.

5. Detail your requirements

When approaching a service provider, be clear about your event’s

  • date
  • time
  • venue
  • number of participants
  • specific needs like booths & receivers (and how many)
  • the booth installation schedule.

Although not required, Nara also adds another tip for how you can help conference interpreters in delivering higher-quality service:

If there are no confidentiality requirements, sharing available information like speaker profiles and presentation decks in advance is helpful because the conference interpreters can do prior research.

6. Watch out for red flags

When navigating through the plethora of Korean translation agencies and interpretation service providers, you’ll need to be vigilant about potential red flags.

Be wary of agencies that:

  1. Offer surprisingly low rates. While an economical solution might be tempting, surprisingly low rates can be indicative of an agency employing simultaneous interpreters who lack substantial experience, particularly during events.
  2. Focus primarily on translation services. It’s worth noting that translation and interpretation are distinct skills, and proficiency in one doesn’t necessarily translate to adeptness in the other. The latter demands not only linguistic skills but also the ability to convey spoken words accurately and with the appropriate intonation, in real time. Agencies with a high emphasis on language translations only may not be the right fit.
  3. Do not ask for specifics around the conference format or study materials. In-depth preparation is integral to high-quality interpretation. This often involves studying materials related to the event (presentations, fireside chats), understanding jargon, and familiarizing oneself with the subject matter.

As Nara says:

“If the agency cares about the quality of the interpretation, they’ll have to bug you a bit.”

Elevate your events with interpretation services from JOEL Localization

We tailor our services to fit the unique needs of your event. Our expertise combines top-tier technology with a pool of professional translators and interpreters, ensuring an excellent experience for all attendees.

Let JOEL Localization help make your next event in Korea (or online!) a success. Contact us today to find out how we can make sure every voice is heard and understood, no matter the language.

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