The Linguist

The Linguist 53,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 35

16 The Linguist AUGUST/SEPTEMBER FEATURES Emerging technology is making remote interpreting more reliable and effective for all, finds Jessica Moore T he idea of remote interpreting is not a new one, but recent technological advances are rendering it an increasingly reliable and viable option. New platforms are opening up, with companies providing ever more imaginative solutions. Currently, a number of larger language service agencies (LSAs) – including Language Line, The Big Word and Language Service Associates – offer their own telephone interpreting services. Trusted Translations, meanwhile, use Google's innovative new pan-sector video platform, Helpouts, which launched its live on-demand and scheduled video interpreting services in November 2013. Smaller LSAs can deliver these types of services via third-party providers. There is increasing demand. The translation and interpreting industry has been expanding at 22% a year since 2004, according to Interpreters-on-Call, a company that provides fully automated telephone interpreting services to LSAs. While a study by Common Sense Advisory found that the global market for outsourced language services and technology, provided by 27,600 LSAs around the world, reached almost $35bn in 2013. 1 Giving more people access to the 'age-old problem' of how to communicate across languages will inevitably generate more traffic, says Marcus Vaigncourt-Strallen, Director of Interpreters-on-Call. "The evolution of technology for remote interpreting potentially, therefore, opens a floodgate for new opportunity." Via its 'technology platform', Interpreters- on-Call ( is able to provide telephone interpreting services 'anywhere in the world, at any time, on demand'. "The interpreting industry grew up saying 'when do you need an interpreter, where and in what language?', then finding one who will travel to their offices. The old technology was therefore a Rolodex of numbers. Today's technology means we can create a faster, more flexible and more cost- effective service for all parties," says Vaigncourt-Strallen. Also exploiting new technology to great effect is ZipDX ( Founder David Frankel has a telecommunications background, focusing on conference call systems. "I got an inquiry from an agency of the United Nations several years ago saying they conduct meetings in six languages and want to enable remote participants," explains Frankel, who developed a 'language aware' system in response. "On a typical conference call, everybody is on a common channel. Our system has multiple channels. In an in-person meeting, that means each individual has a headphone, a Channel Selector and a microphone. Across distance, each person connects by telephone and selects their channel – so they might be on an English channel or a French channel or Spanish channel – and interpreters connect from wherever they may be. So you can have a virtual meeting in multiple languages." This system is useful in various scenarios – the simplest of which is when a lecturer speaks, an interpreter interprets, and a student listens. "But where it really gets exciting is with conversations," Frankel smiles. "Say I'm talking in English and you're listening to me in French through an interpreter. With our system, you'll A remote possibility VIRTUAL LEAP FORWARD Multichannel systems make conference calls with interpreters much more practical

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Linguist - The Linguist 53,4