Every spring, the owners of listed companies convene in their respective annual general meetings to vote on their most important policies. Attending the annual general meeting is one of the most important ways shareholders can impact their company’s operations. Therefore, whether a country has restrictions on gatherings or not, companies have the right to organise meetings in one way or another.
When looking at market value, more than half of the stock of Finnish listed companies is owned by foreign companies and investors, meaning that the participants of annual general meetings of such companies may not all share a common language. This means it is important to ensure that all participants are able to follow the meeting and that they are understood. To achieve this, interpreting at an annual general meeting is recommended.
Do you already know if there will be international participants at your next annual general meeting? Great! Below are a few things you should consider when organising interpreting for an annual general meeting:
- Who is going to attend, i.e. which language or languages will you need interpreted at the meeting?
- What is the main language of the meeting?
- Where and when will the meeting be held?
Conference interpreting, meaning simultaneous interpreting, is the most suitable method of interpreting for the requirements of an annual general meeting. This means that interpreting happens at the same time as the speaker speaks. The speaker’s speech is transmitted to the interpreter’s headphones with the aid of simultaneous interpreting equipment and interpreting is then transmitted by microphone to the listeners’ headphones. Simultaneous interpreting runs in the background for those who require it, while other participants can follow the meeting in its original language.
Required interpreting technology
Will your annual general meeting be organised on site or remotely? Is the plan to organise the meeting on site but also live stream it for remote participants? The method in which the meeting is organised affects the choice of appropriate technology.
Simultaneous interpreting at large conferences usually requires the appropriate technology and interpreting equipment. In practice, this means soundproof interpreting booths, microphones for speakers, receivers and headphones for participants and the services of a technician. Technology is always tailored according to the customer’s needs.
On the other hand, simultaneous interpreting can also be organised over remote connections. One of the options is the hybrid model, where a small number of participants and the interpreters are at the meeting location, but the meeting (and the interpreting) can also be watched and listened to remotely. It is also possible that all participants attend the meeting over remote connections. In this case, the interpreting is organised through a specific interpreting platform.
At annual general meetings with a shorter duration and only a few participants who require interpreting, it is also possible to use portable interpreting equipment, which includes a wireless microphone and twenty headphone receivers for participants.
The importance of reference materials
The work of a professional interpreter may seem extremely effortless. When the interpreting is fluent, the listener may not even realise they are listening to an interpreter. In reality, however, successful interpreting requires thorough preparation before the event. The amount of preparation and thorough familiarisation with the reference materials significantly impact the success of interpreting.
In order to properly prepare for the event, the interpreter usually needs at least the following materials in advance:
- the meeting agenda and other relevant meeting documents
- the chairperson’s notes with the themes and meeting schedule
- the CEO’s review
- the speech of the chairperson of the board
- other matters to be discussed.
If the meeting materials are going to be translated, it is also recommended you send these translations to the interpreters. This ensures that the terminology used is consistent in all of the meeting languages.
Added value through interpreting
Well-planned and organised interpreting at an annual general meeting is one way of reinforcing a positive company image. Allowing the participants of an annual general meeting to follow the meeting in their own language often makes them feel like their needs have been genuinely taken into consideration.
Is there something else we can help you with? We are happy to assist with all of your interpreting needs.