Case Study

PFUE Interpretation Mission – Franco-Portuguese Forum on Gender Equality



A forum is a space for discussion that lets you reach out to a large number of people. Through colloquia, meetings or round tables, many topics are addressed and the different speakers must be fully understood and highlighted. 

In 2022, France assumed the presidency of the European Union for a period of six months. Since January, many large-scale events have been organized to discuss the various issues encountered by the countries of the European Union, and by the Union itself, and to provide solutions.

Within this framework, on 9 and 10 March 2022, following International Women’s Day, the main players in the French and Portuguese Ministries of Culture met at the University of Angers to discuss gender equality in society.

An interpreting project with multiple challenges

To encourage discussion around this very important societal issue, it was essential that all participants could express themselves in their own language and be understood by every member in the audience. It was the Institut Français, operator of France’s cultural action abroad, that launched the call for tenders for interpreting services in French, Portuguese and English, in order to ensure the debate would run smoothly.

After being chosen for these services at the end of 2021, Acolad made good use of the few months before the event to prepare as well as possible and to:

  • Bring together a team of six experienced interpreters in the three language combinations. Specialists in simultaneous interpretation, they had to have experience at various European events and to be able to interpret the words of high-profile politicians. According to the Institute’s instructions, interpreters for the French-Portuguese and English-Portuguese combinations were specialized in Portuguese from Portugal, and not from Brazil.
  • Provide preparatory work for the interpreters, to whom many resources related to the topic were sent in advance: prepared speeches, videos, schedules, etc. The aim was to provide them with a solid understanding of the topic for quality interpretation and fluid discussions on the day.

Outstanding interpreting services alongside minute-writing, solutions tailored to clients’ needs

The organization of a simultaneous interpretation project requires certain resources and specific equipment. Booths, microphones, headsets for the audience, and more. In this case, all the equipment was provided by the venue hosting the event.

In addition, for this event, the contributions of each speaker and their interpretation were also broadcast live online. The users of the interpreting services were therefore all the members present, but also all the viewers who watched the broadcast online.

In total, over the three days of the event, interpreting was provided for nearly 40 speakers during the meetings, including speeches, round table debates and cocktail receptions. Working at an intense pace, the interpreters regularly took turns to always provide the best possible quality.

Simultaneous interpretation requires such intense concentration that the interpreters switch roles every 20 to 30 minutes. According to the client, the interpreters were highly skillful and able to produce work of excellent quality.

On top of its expertise in simultaneous interpretation, Acolad also offered written coverage of the event. This service included the provision of a complete transcript of the discussions as well as a summary that all those involved in the forum could understand, based on the recordings made during the mission.

This additional service, which was not initially requested, was much appreciated by the Institut Français, which quickly perceived its added value. Indeed, these notes make it possible to keep a written record of the forum for archiving purposes, but also to publish certain extracts within the Institut Français networks. It also serves as a springboard in anticipation of the next event, another forum of the same kind that will be held in Lisbon in October 2022 on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the New Portuguese Letters.

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