Bridging the Language Gap to Promote Renewable Energy
How a customised interpreting solution led to successful and productive international cooperation
Use of renewable energy is on the rise worldwide as a clean and sustainable alternative to non-renewable energy sources, which will not be replenished, are damaging to the environment, or becoming prohibitively expensive. The role of our client, an intergovernmental organisation established in the Middle East, is to promote the use of this clean energy and to help implement best practices globally. In order to do that, however, their message has to transcend language barriers. And that’s where our ad-hoc interpreting solution comes in – doing just that and allowing our client to circulate knowledge successfully.
In addition to encouraging the use of clean energy, our client is setting a real benchmark for best practices for those countries that wish to develop policies and procedures for renewable energy and push for its implementation. They act as an intelligence centre that shares professional advice, resources, technology and financial knowledge on any matter associated with the different phases of adopting renewable energy. Data and information on bioenergy, geothermal energy, hydropower, solar and wind energy, and wave-energy technology are available for countries and international organisations willing to promote a cleaner future for the world.
Our client’s mission is particularly important given the increasing pressure to reduce dependence on non-sustainable energy, combat climate change and work towards achieving a low-carbon economy. We feel the urgency of these demands and have been working with our client since 2012 to help them overcome the international challenges linked to their call for renewable energy.
Our client organises regular international events attended by senior state officials from various nations (prime ministers, ambassadors, heads of state). These meetings require a pool of thirty interpreters, for a total of six language combinations, and working in various sessions that take place, in parallel, over the course of four days – quite a demanding situation for an LSP team. The main meetings usually have an audience of around one thousand, while smaller meetings generally attract around three hundred and sixty-five delegates.
But the challenge doesn’t end there. For events like these to both take place and also be fruitful, it is crucial that interpreting support is organised efficiently. Finding the best interpreting talent, with a working knowledge of renewable energy terminology, and a thorough understanding of the complexity of the situation, is far from easy. Yet any perceived flaws in interpreting could lead to diplomatically sensitive situations. In addition to ensuring that interpreters are suitably prepared, it was suggested that this particular client should also consider organising the language experts into teams, pairs or groups. These teams could then be rotated, allowing for more effective time management whilst delivering the best performance possible – this is particularly important when the programme and timetables are challenging. It is also important that the LSP is able to find the perfect balance of compromise between the client and the interpreting team because, despite thorough planning by the client, it is fairly typical for these events to overrun at the last-minute, in order to allow a resolution to be reached.
Secondly, interpreters need to prepare for the event in advance. Such preparation requires suitable resources – such as relevant documents and glossaries – and proper instructions, in order to guarantee their best performance. Once again, this falls under the umbrella of organisational tasks carried out by the LSP.
Thirdly, technology is also of paramount importance at an interpreting event, so all the necessary technical checks should be carried out to avoid hiccups in the systems, and to make sure interpreters master the tools they will be using. Finally, the LSP has to organise logistics for the event and provide appropriate accommodation and transport for the interpreters, at a competitive price for the client.
How CPSL Helped
In order to successfully respond to this challenge, fulfil the needs of the client, and bridge the language gaps at these international events, CPSL established a three-phase process:
- Phase 1 – recruitment. CPSL identified the best interpreting talent able to meet the client’s expectations and requirements. Thanks to our Vendor Management team, which has access to the most experienced language experts around the world, we were able to put together two interpreting teams of 30 and 15 specialists, working at the bigger events and in the council-type meetings respectively.
- Phase 2 – training and validation. In order to guarantee the smoothest experience for the client, the event attendees and the interpreting team, CPSL had to make sure the interpreters had sufficient knowledge of both the type of event and the sector. To that end, our interpreters went through a thorough approval process prepared in close cooperation with the client.
- Phase 3 – negotiation. A specialist team mediated between the interpreting team and the client, efficiently tackling any potential communication problems and unforeseen circumstances. For example, if the interpreting team identified any gaps in knowledge at the last minute, CPSL took responsibility for filling those gaps and asking the client for relevant feedback. Pre-event meetings were held to inform the interpreters about all the aspects of the meetings. They were also provided with a schedule, resources and documents relating to the sector, and terminology. Any questions they had were also addressed. During the event, other meetings were held to resolve on-site issues, such as last-minute arrangements, schedule changes and any other matters.
The event was a great success. Afterwards, a post-event meeting was organised to analyse various situations that arose during the event, with the aim of supporting continuous improvement and further refining our performance. It is always essential to collect feedback from both interpreters and the client after such events, so that the quality of the interpreting service, the terminology used, and flexibility can all be reviewed. The learnings from post-event meetings are essential to improving the process behind providing interpreting solutions and to incorporating best practices that help the operation run flawlessly.
Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans
Thanks to CPSL’s strategy, which was efficiently planned and executed, the client has been able to convert challenges into opportunities and establish themselves as leading advocates of renewable energies. At the same time, CPSL has satisfied the client and earned their loyalty – evidenced by the fact that we have now been collaborating since 2012, and the client has consistently renewed our services. CPSL has been able to implement a customised process, selecting the most suitable interpreters from among their global portfolio of experts and verifying their experience and suitability for the event. This process could be adapted for other sectors and requirements. The success of these international meetings has paved the way for ongoing accomplishments in the field of renewable energy, and for increasing dialogue between different countries. The excellent service provided by the interpreting team has helped raise awareness of the subject and has stimulated interest and participation at a global level.
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