International events and special international guests are an exciting opportunity for event planners and companies alike. In addition to all the new options for joint ventures and friendships, inviting foreign attendees helps raise interest in the event itself. However, if you don’t have much experience in running an international event or managing significant numbers of foreign attendees – well, your stress levels are probably already rising at the thought. That’s why we wanted to provide a few tips on how to make the planning process much easier.
When Creating Content, Translate it Too
As a general rule, don’t create everything, then translate it. Instead, translate while you are creating it. This saves problems and unearths any future problems early on. It also gives you useful insight on what content is really, truly necessary – and how translation services will affect the event itself. Of course, using in-house talent is a great idea, but don’t forget that there are many professional translation services available online which can do an excellent job with translation, too. Pay special attention to translating signs and guidebooks used for the event itself!
Try to Focus on Bilingual Options
We know that “start out small” isn’t always an option, but generally we see much better results from companies who first try out “bilingual” events that focus on only two different languages and cultures. This simplifies all the work you need to do, and is a lot easier on the attendees, too. Plus, you will save a lot of money focusing on only two languages instead of dealing with multiple translations at the same time.
Find Those Who’ve Done It Before
If you have access to any specialists or planners who have experience in setting up international events, by all means, contact them and ask for a meeting or two – particularly if they have experience in the same countries that you are connecting with. It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, someone who has had real-life experience doing the same thing will be able to offer invaluable advice and pointers, often for things that you never would have thought of – including flower arrangements (surprisingly important) and diet.
…But Do Your Own Research Too
There are many resources out there for corporations that are trying to establish a connection for foreign partners or markets. Please take advantage of them! While they don’t cover everything, they do provide invaluable perspectives on history, culture, habits, and expectations. So grab a book or two, read some online thought leaders, and generally set aside time to study what you’re getting into.
Understand Relative Costs
Remember that in many cases costs will be different for foreign attendees. You may want to adjust pricing information or costs based on the number of international people expected and the currency differences.
Hire Some (Local) Experts
If you are holding an event on foreign soil, investigate the possibility of using local experts or business affiliates who have been on the ground for a while. People who can speak with local idioms, navigate local streets, and offer local solutions to any event problems are worth their weight in gold.
For more information on managing tricky international events, check out McVeigh Global Meetings and Events and the resources we can provide to make your next event go smoothly!