COVID-19 has created many new challenges for global communication as almost all international events are canceled. Video remote interpretation provides an opportunity to maintain multilingual support for those events that have been transferred to the online conference format. In addition, it makes it possible to add simultaneous language support for events where language support would not be possible without such technologies (limited budget, lack of local interpreters, travel restrictions, etc.)
Virtual language solution
In the classic version, an interpreter who physically takes part in the event, conference, or meeting, providing multilingual support to the participants, performs the simultaneous translation. The interpreter is usually located in a special soundproof booth at the back of the conference room and interprets through a console connected to the sound system. Simultaneous interpreters usually work in pairs and change every fifteen minutes due to the complex mental effort required to interpret simultaneously. Participants who require language support can listen to the translation on their receiver headphones.
A virtual language solution involves translation in which interpreters are located outside the location of the event. Perhaps even at home or in a specially equipped studio, that can be located thousands of miles away. These interpreters join the event virtually through the platform on their laptops to provide the necessary translation. Through the platform, they also receive a live video of the speakers and provide remote simultaneous interpretation as if they were working with an interpreter desk. Participants can listen to the translation through the same platform if they join virtually, or through the translation equipment if they are on site.
The main benefits of global communication
Video remote interpretation has been around for years as an alternative to the classic on-site experience, and due to COVID-19 and many events turned into virtual settings, it is now more than just an alternative and in many cases the only way to provide multilingual support to listeners from different countries.
- Providing multilingual translation at virtual events;
- A more economical solution (no travel allowance, daily allowance, equipment rental);
- The platform imitates the work of the translator’s console, creating a similar working environment for the interpreter;
- Participants, speakers, and interpreters can join remotely, reducing the cost of organizing a conference;
- Multilingual support at events that otherwise could not be offered, such as the lack of local interpreters.
Remote video interpreter, who is he?
Video interpreters must meet certain conditions in order to be able to provide services: the ability to use the translation platform and equipment (headsets, microphone, and computer, access to a high-speed Internet connection). Most platforms have clear and strict rules for this and only work with interpreters that match them. Some interpreting companies offer their interpreters access to all the necessary equipment and a high-speed internet connection to enable remote video interpreting.
The most famous platforms
The best-known virtual translation methods for global communication are platforms such as Zoom, KUDO, Interprefy, VoiceBoxer, Interactio, and others that have these features. Several more platforms differ from each other in quality, a large number of translation channels, and, of course, price. Many companies that provide video translation services create applications that allow you to directly contact available translators. There are examples of such applications in the American and European translation markets.
Like many innovations, these and other platforms can at first glance cause distrust and wariness, especially among experienced translators. Nevertheless, a closer look shows that this is a good example of using modern technology for good. Virtual translation expands the possibilities of translators and makes their services more accessible to customers. Now, video remote interpretation is a noticeable, but still a niche, but it is possible that this niche will expand in the future.
While video remote interpretation provides language support for all conferences and meetings that have changed to an online format, it has also expanded the capabilities of simultaneous interpretation, adding more options, greater flexibility, cost savings, and convenience. It can be argued that this is not going anywhere. However, we expect major events to return to the traditional local option when things return to normal after the pandemic, as this still provides the lowest risk option and is the standard for quality.