Providing Interpreters for Conferences: IHS CERAWeek Case Study

Providing interpreters for conferences is not an easy task – many details need to be outlined, schedules coordinated and even equipment provided before the event begins, to ensure everything goes smoothly. In order to demonstrate the best practices for requesting and delivering interpreters for conferences, we’ve looked at a particular case with IHS CERAWeek – a premier international conference on energy.

Each year, industry leaders, experts, and government officials meet at IHS CERAWeek. Featuring international speakers, the event requires conference interpreting services including both high profile interpreters and professional technical support in order to reach all audiences. When Language Connections was chosen as an official vendor for the 34th annual CERAWeek conference a team of skilled Russian and Chinese simultaneous interpreters was assembled and custom equipment setup was provided to facilitate smooth communication for all the participants. 

The Client:

CERAWeek is an annual energy conference organized by the information and insights Company IHS in Houston, Texas. Based in Cambridge, MA, IHS is a major consulting company that advises governments and private companies on energy markets, geopolitics, industry trends, and strategy.

The Main Challenges:

The challenges of providing interpreters for conferences center on the ability to provide high-quality language services for hundreds of people, while ensuring that participants don’t miss a second of the presentations. An international conference of a such level as CERAWeek required top-quality interpretation assistance as well as professional technical set-up.

As not all conference participants could adequately communicate in one common language, relay interpreting from Russian to English to Chinese was required for a speech given by Vagit Alekperov, president of the leading Russian oil company LUKOIL. Relay interpreting is a complex process that relies upon synchronization and involves interpreting from a source language into a common language, and then into the language of the target audience.

Conference interpreting equipment, including over 1300 receivers with headsets, was required to ensure full coverage. Additionally IHS CERA requested isolated interpreter booths that had to be set up in the primary conference room, as well as during breaks in between sessions. All this had to be well coordinated in order to maintain the natural flow of the conference.

The Solution:

Conference interpreting on such a large scale is no easy task. Drawing from a global network of over 4,000 highly skilled linguists, Language Connections assembled a team of simultaneous interpreters who had specific knowledge regarding the oil and gas industry. This industry knowledge was extremely important as the terminology required for the conference discussions was highly technical. Moreover, the linguists were experienced at relay interpreting (from Russian into English into Chinese), and qualified relay interpreters in these languages are both rare and costly.

Having previously administered linguistic support for IHS CERAWeek, Language Connections was able to supply all of the necessary interpreting equipment to accommodate everyone in the audience. Our highly experienced technical support team arranged for the intricate set-up of insulated booths by working closely with the organizers before the conference began, ensuring that everything was ready for the interpreters before they arrived.

By carefully coordinating linguists and technical equipment, our team performed flawlessly to the highest satisfaction of all the participants at IHS CERAWeek 2015. The event organizers guaranteed that all participants were able to follow the lectures and presentations during the conference at a normal pace.

Interpreters for Conferences - CERAWeek Flyer
Interpreters for Conferences - CERAWeek Speaker
Interpreters for Conferences - Interpreter Booth