Millions of people are attracted to Las Vegas each year, whether in town for business, to gamble, see a show, or to just plain have fun.  But did you know that Las Vegas is also one of the largest destination spots for conventions and conferences in the country?

Meeting space in Las Vegas can be as small as a 200-foot hotel room, or as huge as the one-million-square-foot exhibition hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Facilities are modern, high-tech and up-to-date.  Hotel ballroom size can easily be configured and re-configured with movable walls to act as partitions.  

If you are planning a major and/or international function in Las Vegas, have you considered the need for simultaneous interpreting? Meeting planners usually tend to forget that not all participants are proficient in English and may need translation assistance onsite. Sometimes organizers don’t find this out until it’s too late, after the meeting has begun, and company embarrassment is the result.

Simultaneous interpreting is a great service in that it allows the translation to happen in real time. Interpreters hear the speaker via a set of headsets and transmit their translation (on a special frequency) to unique radios that audience members wear. Thus, the conference runs at natural speed and foreign listeners are only seconds behind the rest of the audience in comprehension. This is the ideal situation since there is no disruption of the meeting.

The translation company you select will ask you questions about your event:

— What are the languages being used?
— What is the subject matter?
— How many listeners will each language have?
— How many people will be in the room total (or how big is the room)?
— Who will the audience be?

Let the prospective supplier ask you the questions – it’s a good way to make sure they know what they are doing. Many companies specialize in other areas of language work – try to find one that specializes in CONFERENCE interpreting. And be as specific and detailed as you can in your answers. 

Be sure the company will be providing experienced conference interpreters. There are many styles of interpreting. Many interpreters who are excellent at, for example, court interpreting, are poor conference interpreters.

The interpreters must also be familiar with your subject matter. A medical interpreter may be able to explain the insides of a person, but  might be clueless about the insides of a computer.

Conference interpreters almost always work as a team of two people per language (or occasionally, three per language in high-stress environments). Don’t try to skimp by hiring a solo interpreter, it nearly always backfires — an interpreter who is willing to work solo at an all-day meeting is probably not very experienced and just wants the job. Remember, your attendees may have spent thousands of dollars to be at your event. You want them to be able to understand and enjoy it, so next time they’ll come back with their friends and associates.

It’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple companies, but it’s not a good idea to make the decision purely on price. Interpreters are not like boxes of cornflakes –- each interpreter is different.  Each interpreter has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Matching interpreters to customers is an art that takes many years of practice. Choose an experieince company that you trust to make the best decision for you.

Here is just such a company: Conference Interpreting Las Vegas

Chris Redish owns A Bridge Between Nations, a Las Vegas Conference Interpreting company which operates worldwide and all across the U.S. He would be happy to provide you with a free translation estimate for your next conference.

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