How to translate an event in English into Romanian?

Let’s say you’re an event organizer. Your conference is in English, but half of the participants know English (and Romanian), and the other half know only Romanian. How to translate?

  • The first thing to think about is reducing your audience. I had a teacher of Economics in school who said that if you pay someone a good wage, you get a risk – he might be a good or bad employee. Pay that person a poor wage, and you get a guarantee – that’s surely a poor employee, since no qualified person will stay and work for you for a poor salary. It’s the same logic with this audience – don’t translate the event, and some people who don’t know English, might leave, annoyed. But do translate simultaneously into Romanian and you get a certain fact – lots of people will be annoyed by the long waits – the speaker says something, the translator translates this into Romanian, the speaker says something else, the translator translates and so on. See this videoor this one. Yes, most Romanians don’t know Greek, but, still, it’s a very poor choice to translate sentence by sentence. The first thing to do is consider not offering any translation at all. It is annoying for both the speaker (you tend to forget what you are saying, and it’s much more difficult to focus in those conditions) and the audience.
  • Another option is having a screen, and writing the translation. You could use two translators at the same time – one translates a sentence, the other one another sentence. Or translate just partially what the speaker says. This is much more efficient and pleasant than the first solution.
  • Another option is to somehow split the audience into English-speaking one and Romanian speaking one (two separate rooms, for example; or some in front, with English, and some in the back, with Romanian. And for the Romanian audience do simultaneous translation (no breaks).
  • If it’s possible, you could have the text of the conference in English and Romanian given to the audience, so it’s easier to follow. (via)
  • Of course, there is the option of having headsets, and this is actually the best option for translation, but the logistics and costs are much more complicated.

In my opinion, translating simultaneously does so much evil to the event, that it’s the worst option to consider.


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