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BLOG | 03 Feb 2020

What it’s like working for NATO

Operations Manager Steve Hunt has his feet firmly on the ground, in spite of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Donald Trump, Angela Merkel and the new British PM. Here he explains what it’s like working at a NATO leaders’ meeting.

It would be easy to get starstruck at an event where world leaders take to the stage to talk about the issues facing the modern world, but buk’s Steve Hunt says it’s just all in a day’s work for him and his team.

You could put it down to the fact that buk Solutions has worked at the NATO leaders’ meetings on many occasions, providing the technology to enable delegates to hear what their opposite numbers are saying interpreted into their own language.

The truth is much more simple: “We’re just too busy to get starstruck – you don’t even end up listening to what is being said because you are monitoring the technology and concentrating on what you need to do to ensure the quality is maintained,” says Steve.

There were 12 languages spoken at the NATO meeting in Watford in December 2019, staged in tandem with the Foreign Office, and while buk Solutions did not provide the interpreters, they have a ready armoury of qualified professionals they can call upon if needed.

Watching interpreters interpreting the spoken word into another language in real time is a humbling experience, yet buk’s role is just as critical. It’s fair to say that the meeting wouldn’t happen if neither were present.

Without the 16 interpretation booths, provided by buk to offer the interpreters seclusion while they get on with their work; the 48 push-to-talk microphones and the 900 delegate receivers provided by buk, the work of NATO at these meetings would grind to a halt.

It took a team of ten from buk more than a week to ensure everything was installed and in place at The Grove hotel for the start of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s leaders’ meeting to discuss the defence and security of its 29 member nations from outside threats.

Simultaneous interpretation has become the dominant method of ensuring international conferences can take place and that everyone present can follow the proceedings.

Buk Solutions has worked at the highest level, not just with NATO but with government organisations for multi-language meetings.

“We have to consider everything when we plan a project like this; from the operation of the delegate mics, to the position of cameras that we supply. We often know what organisations like NATO will ask for in advance before we come on site.

“Often, we can advise our clients in advance of the complexities, what is required and what we recommend for any one project.

“Preparation is the key for us – that comes with experience – planning is vital, and everything is triple checked by us and all the equipment is tested, attention to detail is paramount. That’s why clients come back to us again and again.”

For more information about simultaneous interpretation contact Steve Hunt at buk Solutions email steve.hunt@buksolutions

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