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

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Vol/53 No/4 2014 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER The Linguist 17 FEATURES hear the interpreter very clearly and you'll hear my voice in the background. If you want to interrupt me, you speak and, even if I don't understand what you're saying, I'll hear that you've spoken, so I'll stop talking. Then the interpreter will relay your question and we can have a 'conversation' in real time." In some other systems, you hear only the interpreter. Frankel continues: "We benefit from this cross- channel communication and low-level audio cues that make the dynamics more powerful." Previous multi-language communication often required separate conference calls – one in each language – with the interpreter using multiple handsets. "That was a nightmare for the interpreter," says Frankel. "But it also meant the groups were completely isolated, so they couldn't interrupt and they lost the flow of conversation. We have taken leaps forward in making multilingual virtual meetings more practical and more enjoyable." Eurosis Ltd (, a supplier of conference interpreters and interpretation equipment, offers another option. Their web-based simultaneous interpreting system enables interpreters working from a booth to stream audio and video live. Eurosis can even place interpreters in their Southeast London conference centre and simultaneously stream to delegates in multiple locations. "That can be more convenient if places are difficult to travel to," explains Client Manager Roni Bandong. "And it also saves on travel and accommodation costs. If a conference needs interpretation into 22 languages, they would need to hire 44 interpreters in a traditional simultaneous interpreting model. On top of paying the interpreters' fees, they would need to pay for 44 flights and 44 hotel rooms. It adds up!" These options are user-friendly and don't require complicated technology. With the Eurosis system, clients simply provide a fixed, dedicated on-site line with a 5Mbps upload capacity. Delegates then use their own iPad or iPhone, or headsets provided by Eurosis, to connect to other delegates and interpreters. Clients using Interpreters-on-Call's solutions don't need to invest in any costly hardware or software, while ZipDX provides interpreters with free software and training. "The interpreters need a Windows personal computer, a decent quality headset, a reliable broadband internet connection, and a quiet place to work. The rest of the solution is provided from the Cloud, and people are connected by telephone," says Frankel. "Then they're off and running on a self-service basis." When a meeting takes place, ZipDX invoices based on the number of participants, their location and the duration of the connections. "Three years ago, when I first looked into remote video interpreting, the technology required was expensive and needed to be installed at both ends," recalls Vaigncourt- Strallen. "Now, there are internet-based services that can be accessed by any reasonable modern-day device that has a camera." TraveLinguis, an LSA specialising in travel, is using Interpreters-on-Call technology to provide emergency interpreting for travellers using their mobile phone. They can download the app in advance, pre-pay for interpreting time and, when they select the language they need, they are put through to an interpreter within 50 seconds. While clients generally welcome these emerging possibilities, interpreters can be sceptical. "The feedback is mixed," Bandong admits. "Our web-based simultaneous interpreting will lessen interpreters' travel time, and while some find that convenient – especially those with young families – others really enjoy the travel aspect of their work. But when clients are squeezing budgets, you have to be able to present a solution. So, with a set- up like this, interpreters might get more jobs." Frankel adds: "We're not trying to replace in-person meetings. In many cases, in-person meetings still make the most sense. But maybe international colleagues can only gather once or twice a year so, in between, you can have virtual meetings. Our system is what I call 'plumbing'; the skill of the interpreter enables these conversations, we're just facilitating them by connecting people." As for Vaigncourt-Strallen, "We are absolute champions of the cause of professional interpreters. Our technology is there to help them do their job and to hopefully increase the amount of work out there. It is not," he concludes, "about finding ways in which we can do without them." Notes 1 DePalma, D A et al, 31 May 2013, 'The Language Services Market: 2013' report, Common Sense Advisory, available via View.aspx?ArticleID=5503 "You have to be able to present a solution. So, with a set-up like this, interpreters might get more jobs" MAKING CONNECTIONS Eurosis interpreters work remotely from their Southeast London conference centre © THINKSTOCK

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