Guidelines: speaking during a meeting
For meetings with remote participation, fees for platforms and other technical services may apply.
Remote participants in meetings with interpretation should adhere strictly to the following guidelines:
Where remote participants intend to participate from a conference room, they must avoid using video-conference rooms that are equipped with omnidirectional, multi-party ‚spider‘ microphones. Instead, they should use a conference room equipped with unidirectional, gooseneck microphones (one per participant), similar to the meeting rooms at the UN.
Guidelines for recording video messages
Delegates recording video messages that will be interpreted into other languages at UN Geneva: Observing the below requirements will not only allow for proper interpretation of your speech into the languages of the meeting; it will also improve the intelligibility of the communication for all the other participants, thus helping to successfully get your point across.
Important: If you will be reading out something that is written down on your computer or on paper, the text must be sent in advance via the meeting Secretariat for interpretation to be provided, even if the film has subtitles on the screen.
Authors of video messages should be aware of the fact that even if the written text has been provided in advance, the sound quality must be sufficient for interpreters to check against delivery.
- The venue should be an indoor facility: if you record outdoors, chances are high that too many sources of noise will disrupt your message (i.e. street traffic, children playing, loud conversations, even birds singing or the wind blowing...).
- Record in a completely quiet room. All doors and windows should be kept closed to avoid any noise interference from outside.
- Make sure there are no disturbing sources of noise in the room itself (other people, air-conditioning, ventilation…).
- Do not add background music to the recording.
- In a room with windows, blinds and curtains should be closed to avoid external light blurring out the camera.
- If you can, use a room with sound-absorbing material (carpet, draperies, fabric walls…) to avoid noise reverberation and echo.
- Use ideally a recording studio, if such a possibility exists for you.
- Do not use an omnidirectional microphone, such as a laptop microphone.
- Use a USB-connected, unidirectional desktop microphone, together with a separate set of headphones.
- For a list of recommended microphones, please visit our page on remote simultaneous interpretation.
- It is essential that you speak at the right distance from your microphone, not too far (however loud you will speak, you will be inaudible), not too close (the sound will be saturated). Follow the instructions for your specific microphone and test it ahead of time to determine how far you should be when speaking.
- Make sure there is nothing between you and your microphone (such as your laptop).
- Use an HD camera (720p or higher).
- Face the camera.
- Camera should be at the same height as the speaker’s head.
- The picture should be zoomed in so that the speaker is visible from the shoulders up.
- The speaker should not be positioned in front of a very bright source of light, such as a window.
- If only one artificial light source is available, point it towards the ceiling (indirect light).
- Consider adding additional sources of artificial light, ideally using the standard 3-point lighting technique.
- Limit the contrast between the darkest and brightest points in the image.
- The statement must be delivered at a speed not exceeding 120 words per minute. For instance, the text of these guidelines (about 670 words) should take 5 minutes 30 seconds to read out.
- Speak in a normal voice, do not shout.
- Talk directly into the microphone and look into the camera.
- Do not turn your head from side to side while talking.
- Do not tap or blow into the microphone.
- Please review it to check the audio and video quality. If the sound and/or visuals are not clear, please re-record it. Messages with poor audio quality may be unintelligible for participants and interpreters.
- Do not accelerate the recording or edit it to cut out pauses as this will render your message unintelligible.
- Label the video clearly with the title, date and time of the meeting at which it is to be screened, together with the name of your delegation/participant.
- Videos should be sent in advance via the meeting Secretariat and someone from the team’s organizer should come in the room with the videos on a USB memory stick one hour before the meeting starts.
- Someone from the organizing secretariat needs to be on-site to assist with switching to/from the video.
- The client must follow the recommendations of the technicians or technical moderators on how and where to launch the videos, in the interest of the smooth running of their meeting.
If these conditions are not met, the broadcasting of the videos will not be possible and / or will disrupt the progress of the conference.
Conference interpretation can be performed in three ways: simultaneously, consecutively and by whispering (chuchotage). In simultaneous mode, the interpreters sit in sound-proof booths where the speaker is heard through headphones and they deliver a running interpretation transmitted through a microphone to participants in the meeting who wear earphones. Consecutive mode, occasionally used, consists of the interpreter sitting at the conference table, taking notes and delivering the statement in another language. Whispering (chuchotage), also occasionally used in certain working environments such as field missions, press conferences, and high-level bilateral private meetings, consists of the interpreter simultaneously whispering the interpretation directly to a very limited audience with or without mobile equipment. For additional information, please refer to our web page about language services.
In general, interpretation is provided for UN Geneva conferences and meetings in the six UN languages. Please discuss all non-standard requests for interpretation with your counterpart at the Meetings Management Section when first reserving the meeting room.
Interpretation and other services can be requested on a reimbursable basis, on an extrabudgetary provision. The Meetings Management Section at UN Geneva will need to verify availability of queried services, for which a cost estimate will be raised. The estimate has to be accepted in due time by the client to assure the availability and ultimately the provision of queried services. Service providers can only arrange for the necessary once the cost estimate has been accepted, and hence a late acceptance may lead to the non-availability of queried services.