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Importance of Relay Interpretation at Multilingual Events

July 21, 2015

Around the Middle Ages, seaports developed along the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and seafarers suddenly had a pressing need to communicate with strangers who spoke different native languages. The need resulted in a bridge language being created for trade that was different from everyone's mother tongue. Quickly trade languages, which had no native speakers, made communication possible for thousands. Called a lingua franca or pidgin, most survived until the nineteenth century when French became the common language of Mediterranean traders, but other parts of the world were creating their own lingua franca. Most of these impromptu dialects consisted of a limited number of morphed terms, which were never written down.*

Assuming you don't have the time to establish your own lingua franca, then how do you plan a multilingual event where the native languages of the speakers involved must be converted to a variety of target languages simultaneously? Can you actually find an interpreter who knows every language that might be encountered? Well the good news is, you don't have to. Relay interpretation is used when there are multiple source and target languages involved. First, an interpreter will convert the speaker's message to a common floor language. Then, the other interpreters will render the message in his or her respective target language.

A good example of relay interpretation would be where a message delivered by a Japanese speaker is converted to English by a relay interpreter before a group of interpreters render the message from English to Bengali, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. Worldwide relay interpretation is quickly becoming the Gold Standard for international communications, especially with the formation of new trade groups like the European Union. Naturally the process becomes increasingly complicated as the number of languages for the floor and audience continues to grow. That's why it is essential for you to have the right source for interpretation equipment, event managers and interpreters for your multilingual events.

At ProLingo, we have a professional staff of event specialists that are ready to assist you with project management, equipment design, interpreter selection, facility setup, equipment rentals or sales, and all the technical assistance you'll need from the start until the last word is spoken. Use our website's convenient "Get a Quote" submission form or call toll-free at 800.287.9755 to discuss your specific needs.

*Traces of the Mediterranean lingua franca still survive today but only in rhymes that were passed down to children from one generation to the next.

Client Spotlight

Thank you very much for making our World Congress an outstanding success. I have a special thank you for you and your team of interpreters. I know it was a huge undertaking, but you made it seem so effortless. The simultaneous interpretation was excellent. Your staff was extremely professional and patient with the attendees. I am looking forward to working with you and your group in the near future.
- T. Washington, Convention Logistics Manager

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