5 Tips to Ensure a Successful Multilingual Presentation

Presentation; Preparation; Venue; Visuals; Boring; Translation; Practice; Audience; Interpretation; Slides; Handouts

A multitude of problems can go wrong in a presentation,  including computer and projector issues, timing problems, background noises, and your own panic when you forget what comes next.  These   problems multiply when presenting to foreign audiences who aren’t native speakers of English.  For these reasons, speakers must practice their material from beginning to end, conduct dry runs, visit the meeting room and learn from a sample audience what their needs and expectations are.

Here are some suggestions to ensure your success.

1.      Practice

Even the most experienced translators need to practice their presentations four to five times.  The more you practice, the more credible you will be, and the less anxiety you will experience.  As you practice, anticipate questions that your listeners may ask and think about additional material that you know about the content.  Having additional knowledge about the topic will also help reduce anxiety.

2.      Think Positively

Imagine yourself as an authority, well polished and prepared to present.  Have your first sentence memorized.  If you feel anxiety coming on, pause for a moment, take a drink of water and breathe  deeply.  Always focus on your message and audience, not on yourself.

3.      Use Slides and Visuals

Slides should contain only essential information.  Use graphic design elements to highlight key points and colors to stand out from the background.  Fonts should be large enough to be seen in the back of the room.  Research suggests that visuals can improve learning by up to 400 percent because humans can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

4.      Translate Slides and Handouts

Hire a professional translation services company to translate your PowerPoint slides and handouts into the local language of your audience.  Ensure that any units of measures, money, times, dates, and addresses are converted to the forms familiar to your audience.

5.      Hire Simultaneous Interpreters

Good simultaneous interpreters are so hard to find that companies often get burned because the interpreters either are not qualified or cancel at the last minute.  Even if a person is a professional translator, he/she may not have the skills and mastery of both languages and cultures to offer suitable interpretation services.  Further, simultaneous interpretation requires sophisticated headsets and broadcasting equipment that many companies aren’t familiar with.  For these reasons, you should work with a professional translations company.

For more advice, please see the attached infographic.

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