By now, we already know how hard the coronavirus pandemic has hit the events industry. And interpreters have suffered collateral damage. The main message given by governments around the world is that we need to flatten the curve and postpone the peak as much as possible. And this means social distancing. Therefore, live meetings and gatherings are not an option.
In this vein, some planners have been quick to do what the industry now calls “pivot to virtual.” But what does it entail? Does this mean that we can take an event and just run it virtually? Well, no, that is not the case. There are many adjustments to be made, and interpretation is not a minor one. Let us first look at some characteristics of virtual events:
- Although live events are technology-consuming, the planning and production process of virtual events requires a high level of technology confidence, of another type, which needs to be mastered quickly. What to use? There are many options available, but most of them have been overwhelmed by the surge in demand, presenting security and stability issues. These are only a few among the many available options: Zoom, Webex, Pathable Virtual Events, Eventtia, Meeting Play, Virtual Hublio, Glisser, Microsoft Teams for Business, etc.
- Finding sponsorship opportunities for virtual events may prove to be more difficult in terms of methods to monetize the events and the willingness of sponsors to do it. It is really worthwhile to sponsor an event in which people will not have the chance to meet face to face and influence each other? If the answer is yes, how can it be done?
- Engaging the audience is another challenge. Some creative examples to keep your audience attention are real-time illustrations during sessions, live games, and competitions, virtual entertainment, and more.
- Insurance: virtual events is unchartered territory for insurance companies. Live events have been sophisticated enough, and they will also have to change gears and adapt quickly if they don’t want to see one of their sources of income closed for some time.
- And interpretation (which deserves a separate blog) also has to pivot to virtual, with everything which it entails. Before we meet again to talk about different distance interpreting options, it suffices to note that AIIC urges colleagues to insist on compliance with the standards for such interpreting scenarios as set out in AIIC’s guidelines on distance interpreting, as well as with ISO 20108 on ‘Simultaneous interpreting- Quality and transmission of sound and video input’ and ISO/PAS 24019:2020 Simultaneous interpreting delivery platforms — Requirements and recommendations. Ensuring such compliance will benefit our clients, the participants and ourselves, the interpreters.
Let us make the most of what is left of this year and capitalise on virtual events, which will be postponed or virtualised in the most part, not cancelled. And, at the same time, let us strive to be up to date because the age of virtual events is only beginning, and as they continue to take place, there will be more innovation.