ESA held a special internal board meeting from 26-28 September to discuss future European collaborative space exploration and human spaceflight in microgravity. Design & Data was brought in to provide technical support for a hybrid stream of leading decision-makers in European space, some on-site and some virtual. Due to the scope of the meeting, the technical requirements posed a significant challenge. The 50+ on-site representatives each would need to be seen and heard when they spoke, would need to be seen by the online participants, and would need to be able to interact with the virtual attendees during key discussions. Additionally, the session would need to be adapted to account for international participants from three language backgrounds.
To accommodate the 50+ on-site participants, the Design & Data team set up a ring of meeting tables in a round-table style where the participants could face one another. Each on-site participant was provided with their own microphone, headset, and session screen so they could easily communicate with the other on-site and virtual attendees. Inside the ring of tables, the technical team set up two PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras that could move 360°. This allowed the team to cycle between the speakers very rapidly in real-time. The team also set up special sound-proof translation booths and employed three live translators. These translators provided real time translations of the meeting in English, French, and German. Each participant was also able to select which language they wanted to listen to on their session screen, and whether they wanted the original multilingual audio underneath.
The Design & Data team successfully produced a multi-day, international, and multilingual hybrid event. This was the first time the team produced real-time multilingual translation services, and the first time language services were employed for a hybrid event. In the end, the technical team produced four recordings of the session for the ESA archives: one translated into English, one into French, one into German, and one in its original format with a mix of all three languages.