Written by Ellen Göppl, translation by Marnie Christensen

Peschel Communications provides interpreters for the VEGA Trend Event

In November we organised a team of interpreters for a major event held by VEGA Grieshaber KG at Europa-Park. With eight target languages and around 700 participants, it was certainly a memorable job. Interpreting into so many languages was a first – not just for the client, but also for us. While both sides were immediately excited by the project, the prospect of putting together a team of 16 interpreters and coordinating the necessary technology, including booths, was also a bit intimidating.

Luckily for us, our client not only started planning very early, but also approached the process with a great deal of care and professionalism. This was true both for general event planning and for aspects specific to interpreting. Although this was the first time that VEGA had offered interpreting for an event of this kind, our contacts at the company had a keen sense of what might be important for our interpreting team right from the start. The client even invited us to their headquarters more than half a year in advance of the event so that we could talk about our respective needs and desires.

Interpreting equipment is also key

Our long-standing partner for conference and interpreting technology, PCS Professional Conference Systems GmbH, was by our side throughout the entire process and also sent one of their employees to the preliminary meeting with the client. This allowed us to address many questions in person and at a very early stage in the planning process.

The client’s terminology is always a crucial consideration. Here, too, the preparation was ideal. Both the VEGA website and the product brochures were available in multiple languages and – the icing on the cake – there was even a terminology list with definitions. This gave the interpreters an excellent opportunity to familiarise themselves with the very specific and technical topic in advance.

A good rehearsal is half the battle

Around half of the interpreting team was present for the general rehearsal in the EP Arena – a clear indication that the client spared neither cost nor effort to ensure a smooth and successful event. All of the conference interpreters as well as Ellen Göppl, who served as the on-site coordinator, were put up at the same two hotels as the conference participants, which allowed them to discuss important updates and specific challenges at dinner on the evening before the event.

The event itself was a huge success. The interpreters were impressed with the professionalism of the organisation, the moderation and the varied presentations on both days. And despite the number of people involved, the atmosphere was intimate and at times emotional. Even the next generation of the “VEGA family” was present and Managing Director Isabel Grieshaber couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring her baby up on stage with her – a clear indication that at VEGA, balancing family and career is more than just a slogan. Afterwards, everyone agreed that the results were well worth the effort. Despite the challenges, the event was very rewarding and a lot of fun for all involved!

The most important points for the client:

VEGA had previously held similar events exclusively in English, but ultimately realised that not all of their sales representatives were able to follow the presentations, and some didn’t even travel to the event because of their limited English. This year, VEGA wanted to address its representatives in their own languages – with the result that far more guests from around the world registered than in previous years.

The team of interpreters helped present product innovations in an understandable manner to all the participants. But just as importantly, offering this service was a sign of respect that is very much in keeping with the company’s philosophy that they are all “one family”. The fact that emotions are more immediate when they are conveyed to the audience in their native languages offered yet another advantage.

Our biggest challenges:

Of course, we approach every interpreting job with a checklist. But an event of this size with eight target languages brings additional challenges and considerations: Is there enough room to fit eight booths – ideally next to one another – in the hall? How many tables are needed to set out headphones and receivers for 700 participants each morning? Are suitable conference interpreters available in the region or will some interpreters need to travel from abroad?

While we certainly try to keep travel costs low when planning, we also believe that many years of professional experience are particularly important – especially for such a technical topic – and we only work with simultaneous interpreters whom we already know or who have been recommended to us.

In this case, the language of the conference was English rather than German, with interpretation provided not only into several Western European languages, but also into Russian, Chinese and Thai. Thanks to our comprehensive network of conference interpreters, only four of our colleagues had relatively long journeys to Europa-Park, including the two Thai interpreters, who travelled from the UK.

Given the size of the interpreting team, it quickly became clear that rather than having one of its members fulfil the typical dual role of conference interpreter and organiser (chef de cabine), Ellen Göppl would be present at the event as the project manager in order to provide optimal support to both the interpreting team and the client.

From ordering water for the interpreters to helping to coordinate the distribution of the receivers to passing on the latest versions of the presentations, Ellen Göppl ensured that everything was in place for the team throughout the event. She was pleased to hear positive feedback from the interpreters and from our contacts at VEGA, for whom one thing is sure: “The next time we need interpreters, we definitely want to work with Peschel Communications again!”