The last two years have taught us two things: First, *crackle, crackle bzz bzz* and second, video conferencing is often not as trouble-free as the advertising promises. A successful video conference with simultaneous interpreting is more than just sending the right links to the right addresses in time - and since even this elementary point can sometimes be forgotten, we would like to share our 10 examples of best practice:
1. Schedule regular breaks
The NZZ and other media recently reported so-called "zoom fatigue", as video conferencing is cognitively more strenuous than conventional meetings. Regular short breaks are therefore doing a favour not only to the interpreter who is listening and speaking at the same time, but also for all the participants.
2. Pay attention to your camera settings
Seeing the speaker’s facial expression makes it considerably easier to understand what is being said - even if it is only via a small window next to the split screen. Set up your camera so that you can easily make eye contact and ensure that your whole face or even your hand gestures are captured.
3. Connect your PC via LAN
With a wired Internet connection, ensure that your listeners can benefit from clear images and sound. Click here for a speed test.
4. Use a wired headset
You don't need any professional equipment; even your smartphone headset will serve to provide sound quality that is far superior to that of the integrated PC microphone.
5. Mute your microphone when you are not speaking
You don't want your video to be shown each time you clear your throat, nor do all participants need to hear the sound of your coffee machine - after all, they are not being offered coffee. And speaking of coffee machine noises...
6. Ensure a quiet working environment without background noise
Apart from locking the barking dog out of the room, this also includes muting telephones or even doorbells. The fewer noises there are, the better.
7. Familiarise yourself with the functions of the video conferencing platform
Master the functions (screen sharing, chat, polls, etc.) you would like to use and make sure you know where to find the corresponding buttons.
8. Carry out a final test immediately before the event starts
Invite your speakers and interpreters to join the meeting about 30 minutes earlier than the other participants and use the time to ensure satisfactory video and sound quality for everyone.
9. Do you expect questions from the audience?
Consider beforehand in what form queries and questions are permitted and discuss how they can be translated.
10. Appoint a moderator
Define who monitors the chat, announces new speakers, starts polls, and is responsible for technical problems - experience shows that neither speakers nor interpreters have time to do this.
These tips might not prevent a technical glitch from occurring at some point. But at least they will reduce many sources of error and thus contribute to the optimal success of your video conference. If, in addition, the content is well prepared and excitingly packaged, nothing should go wrong. Speaking of content, the eleventh tip would be to brief us early on - the more precisely we know the content, the better our interpreters’ preparation will be, whether your conference is offline or online.
We look forward to your event!