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EU meeting sees ‘unprecedented remote translation system’


In May 2021, in the middle of the restrictions due to the pandemic, the meeting of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, also known as PPUE, was to be held in Porto (Portugal).

The event was challenging in a particular context given the impossibility of travelling to Portugal. For this reason, together with the uncertainties about the presence of participants and interpreters, the Portuguese Presidency and the Council of the EU General Secretary decided to incorporate a remote interpreting solution. Design and implementation were requested from EUROPALCO, the biggest provider of solutions for events and shows in Southern Europe.

The role of the Portuguese company was essential for the encounter’s viability. On one hand, it was in charge of providing all the audiovisual technologies, including the LED video wall, sound, lighting and video, in addition to the furniture, structures and stage for the event in which the main heads of state of the European Union participated.

On the other hand, it was responsible for developing a remote translation system that allowed a group of translators located in the EU Council building in Brussels to translate it into 24 languages simultaneously, while the event was under way in Porto.

Without an existing simple and standard solution for a similar purpose, EUROPALCO developed a system capable of sending perfectly synchronised video and audio signals, with high quality and security mechanisms in terms of transport, from the event venue in Porto to interpreters located in Brussels.

At the same time, it guaranteed the sending, from Brussels to Porto, of 24 audio signals with their respective translations in the different official languages of the European Union, minimising latencies, to guarantee the normal operation of the event.

“There was no development on the market capable of giving an answer to the event’s complexities. We explored different options and finally made our proposal using our team’s technical knowledge. We achieved a pioneering system that also faced the challenge of ensuring the data was encrypted, so there would be no information leaks between Porto and Brussels. The solution was implemented with a result of latencies that never exceeded 200 milliseconds,” said Pedro Magalhães, CEO of EUROPALCO.

With 36 technicians at the event and two in Brussels, EUROPALCO demonstrated its ability to design, plan and mobilise people and resources to ensure all meeting needs were satisfied, making an effort to understand and coordinate with the other teams involved, both at the concept/demonstration phase and at the completion date.

“The Portuguese Presidency managed to successfully celebrate one of the most emblematic events of the Presidency, in Porto, using innovative solutions to guarantee remote interpretation services, which will undoubtedly open new paths in the organisation of events in the European Union. It is an honour for us to have done our part to make this happen,” added Magalhães.

The Porto Social Summit, one of the highlights of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union Council, had as its main goal nothing less than to outline the European agenda for the next decade. At this summit, the Porto Social Commitment was signed between the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and social partners.

The event in Porto was attended by 700 people, and was broadcast in streaming to the whole world thanks to the technology provided by EUROPALCO.

For more information about EUROPALCO, visit www.europalco.pt.

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