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Language Services at the ICANN74 Policy Forum

13 May 2022
By Sally Newell CohenSally Newell Cohen

As we approach our first in-person ICANN meeting after more than two years of virtual gatherings, we want to share with you some of the adjustments we are making to language services for the ICANN74 Policy Forum.

As you may remember, until ICANN66, the last in-person meeting in Montreal, Canada, our team of interpreters travelled to the respective host country and provided interpretation support using on-site booths and equipment.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote participation in ICANN meetings meant that virtual attendees could listen to live sessions in languages for which interpretation was provided. However, they could only participate in discussions or ask questions in English.

Through the virtual public meetings held since ICANN66, we consistently adjusted and enhanced our services to meet the participants' evolving needs. Meeting by meeting we have adapted and improved the services to allow all participants to gather and communicate virtually. For example, attendees can now select their language of choice in Zoom and speak in any of the six U.N. languages.

What's New at ICANN74?

ICANN74 in The Hague, Netherlands, is ICANN's first meeting to offer in-person and remote attendance since ICANN66. We are striving to support both in-person and remote participants with the same service they have all become familiar with. To do this successfully, we are introducing new or upgraded technology and conducting rigorous testing and training to ensure that it works as expected.

  • A small team of interpreters will be on site to support the At-Large Advisory Committee room. This team will provide English to French and English to Spanish interpretation.
  • To ensure safe social distancing, there will be four interpretation booths, each with one interpreter console.
  • The new interpretation equipment and technology provides two separate audio feeds:
    • Floor and language streams for recording
    • Language streams that go exclusively to Zoom (to eliminate feedback)
  • The languages will be available in the room using the infrared receivers that attendees are familiar with.
  • The languages are also uploaded to the cloud and inserted into Zoom to provide remote participants the same experience they are already familiar with.
  • In the other on-site meeting rooms, interpreters will provide support remotely. They will do so via the Remote Simultaneous Interpretation platform that will be supported remotely by the Congress Rental Network technicians, as has been the practice for all virtual ICANN meetings.
  • People participating remotely will have the same experience they have had for the past six virtual meetings. People participating in-person will have the same experience as at previous in-person meetings. Receivers will be allocated to rooms and sanitized after each use.
  • To ensure COVID-19 safety practices, each on-site participant will receive a set of ICANN-branded headphones at registration. They will use these headphones throughout the meeting as they move between sessions.

During this next meeting, we will continue to learn important lessons that will further improve our capabilities in the future. We look forward to seeing you in-person and virtually at the ICANN74 Policy Forum.

Authors

Sally Newell Cohen

Sally Newell Cohen

SVP, Global Communications and Language Services
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