Inclusivity is a top priority for meeting and event planners, but 40% are apathetic to the needs of non native English speaking attendees

New research reveals 77% of businesses report increased frequency of multilingual meetings and events, but only 33% regularly offer interpreters to bridge the language gap

Wordly, the leading SaaS provider of AI-powered simultaneous interpretation, today announced the 2022 State of Multilingual Collaboration, a comprehensive global study by Dimensional Research. The new report provides deep insights from corporate meeting and event managers into interpretation and translation trends, challenges, and initiatives impacting multilingual collaboration.

The findings clearly illustrate that although inclusivity is of great importance to corporate meeting and event planners, 40% are apathetic to audience needs.They believe attendees will understand the language “well enough” or choose not to attend. Additionally, 77% of respondents observed an increase in multilingual attendees in the last 12 months, with 58% reporting that over 25% of their audience speaks a different language than the presenter. As expected a primary driver of the increase was the shift to virtual events during the pandemic. As COVID restrictions lessen, 72% still expect the multilingual trend to continue over the next year. But despite the number of multilingual events, only 33% regularly offer interpretation.

“The increase of virtual meetings over the last two years has made it easier for people all over the world to attend events that they may not have been able to previously,” stated Diane Hagglund, Founder and Principal of Dimensional Research and author of the study. “As a mixture of in-person, virtual and hybrid meetings have become the standard, this research shows that most event managers are increasing their use of interpretation, reflecting the increased number of event attendees who speak a different language.”

Key findings from the 2022 State of Multilingual Collaboration Study include:

  • 60% of event managers report their attendees typically speak more than 5 primary languages, and 23% report they have more than 10 languages.
  • 42% have limited to no experience with interpretation services.
  • Top barriers for providing interpretation include translator scheduling complexity (40%), equipment complexity (39%), too many languages to support (37%), and apathy to audience needs – believing attendees will understand the language well enough or choose not to attend (40%).
  • Respondents identified several attendee benefits to providing translation services including increased inclusivity (65%), ability to fully focus on content (60%), better understanding of information (57%), and increased engagement (52%).
  • Business benefits include increased attendee satisfaction (49%), higher event attendance (49%,) and better attendee comprehension (40%).

The results of this study demonstrate that sales and marketing professionals responsible for planning and managing multilingual meetings and events want to increase inclusivity and engagement in order to reach more global employees, customers and partners. It also validates that language barriers are a significant obstacle, even when participants speak some English.

While human interpretation solutions are still popular, respondents confirmed that there is a growing demand for technology-powered solutions. Respondents indicated that they want solutions that are easy for attendees to use (63%), support all languages spoken (56%), and enable attendees to listen to audio or read captions (48%).

“As ultilingual meetings and conferences continue to grow at a rapid rate, organizers need to invest in interpretation solutions to drive multilingual collaboration,” said Lakshman Rathnam, Founder and CEO of Wordly. “These findings confirm that when interpretation is not offered, engagement, inclusion and productivity suffer. Legacy human interpreters are not a preferred  solution for most organizations due to cost and logistical complexity. Wordly helps drive multilingual collaboration with our AI-powered interpretation solution, making it possible for any organization to be more inclusive with their employees, members and citizens.”

To download the complete findings, please visit Wordly Research Report.