Providing interpreting services for a conference means providing access to content that otherwise would be closed to an audience that is unable to hear or understand. Language is the gateway through which information is shared and relationships are built. We are reminded of this link every time we hear about the positive experiences left by our subcontracted interpreters; whether after a meeting with a case worker, an appointment with a doctor, interpreting a conference, or so many more settings. As the Interpreting Events Coordinator, one of my roles at LTC is locating the best possible interpreter for a specific conference and providing the technical equipment needed to make the simultaneous interpreting as seamless as possible for our client’s foreign language speaking and deaf attendees. Regardless of the location or type of event I will bring extras of every piece of equipment needed just in case a need arises.
Just this past week, I was in Nashville, TN working with a direct sales company for their annual consultant reunion. The event lasted four days and hosted about 8,000 attendees from all corners of the world. For this particular conference, LTC had the opportunity to provide ASL and Spanish simultaneous interpreting for all of the general sessions, as well as ASL interpreters for the exposition portion of the event. We received countless feedback from the deaf and Spanish speaking attendees commenting that this was one of the best experiences they have had at this event because of the accessibility of the service and the matching quality from our experienced interpreters. However, one attendee’s feedback stood out over the others.
For the past few years one of this conference’s consultant attendees has been unable to hear much of the content discussed in the general sessions due to a particular type of hard of hearing disorder induced by loud background noise. There are special types of hearing aids that individuals like this can use but many times even in the best scenario they can be ineffective for a variety of reasons. Before the conference began, I met with this woman to get to know her and understand her problem thoroughly. One of the benefits of sending a technical advisor to conferences is the experienced on-site support learned with assisting several clients’ interpreting needs. After meeting with our hard of hearing attendee, I determined the best solution would be to use one of the extra pieces equipment that we use to transmit the foreign language interpretation but substitute the Spanish with a direct audio feed from the stage. With this solution, we were able to control the audio level going into her ears and turn it up to a volume that she would be able to hear, understand, and experience the conference fully for the first time in years.
Events like this conference in Nashville remind us why providing a communicative link is crucial in our constantly globalizing world. When we leave out a single individual, even one hard of hearing participant, we all suffer. LTC enjoys coming alongside companies in a variety of different industries because day by day we see the benefits provided by accessible interpreting, translation, and language training. By investing in our clients and community we see the impact of a world connected through language.
-Alec Mandla, Interpreting Events & IT Coordinator