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Remote Simultaneous Interpreting: What Is It and How It Works

In this modern age, there are a lot of ways to communicate with the use of the latest technologies as we also adapt to the new normal. Different online applications are being used as we communicate virtually. Over the years, multiple software applications have come onto the market that maximizes the use of live video features; some of these applications include Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and RingCentral. It keeps the economy going as we work remotely or in the comforts of our homes. Part of our work is attending meetings. We all learned that video conferences, webinars, and international business meetings are all possible with the use of technology.

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting, also called Distance Simultaneous (DS) Interpreting or teleconference services, allows language service providers (LSPs) a means for providing platinum-standard language solutions from anywhere around the world, without requiring physical proximity to clients, delegates, or the venue where a particular meeting or seminar takes place. The main difference with traditional simultaneous interpretation is that remote interpreters are not present at an event venue but they work from a different location (it can be from a translation office, or even at their own home). This is being done usually via an interface that allows them to see and hear the event exactly, and they stream their interpretation in real-time to the target audience. Meanwhile, attendants can listen to the interpretation via a web application downloaded either from a gadget of their choice; laptop, tablet, or a smartphone.

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting works this way; for instance, a conference in the United Arab Emirates may be translated by one or more interpreters working from Europe or anywhere else. They will receive audio and video feed through a cloud-based platform and send back their interpreting to the target audience through the Internet in real-time, exactly as if they were at the venue. Participants can select the language they want to listen to from the speech.

How possible clients can take advantage of remote or distance simultaneous interpreting

  • Interpreting “hub” or center

Some cities or communities have interpreting centers or hubs equipped with soundproof booths. Using approved sanitation guidelines and regulations, the setup includes interpreters working at the center’s premises, watching and listening in on a meeting, and simultaneously broadcasting the interpretation.

As long as the clients and other participants have strong internet connections and the right technological equipment, interpreting hubs or centers typically provide the highest-quality, remote interpreting services.

  • Video/visual options

Video-based software application platforms have specific interpretation-oriented capabilities to facilitate distance simultaneous interpreting. Remote interpreters may adjust on how it would be most comfortable for a possible client, or they could also make suggestions if there should be a change or upgrade on existing software and equipment, and a certain client would be comfortable with it.

  • Telephone/teleconference platforms

This option is best for clients from remote areas with a poor or less stable internet connection. In many cases, this platform uses voice-only (no video) telephonic technology. While the video is ideal, voice-based platforms are often a better solution in this circumstance. While in-person interpreting services have their advantages, there are multiple benefits to using simultaneous interpretation via remote applications when needed.

Face to face or in-person interpreting has its many advantages and could be less complicated, but when needed, as what the global challenge we are facing now, there are multiple benefits of using remote simultaneous interpretation:

  • Cost-savings potential for international conference services

Costs will be lower than traditional on-site simultaneous interpretation since it will be possible to save on interpreters’ travel and accommodation expenses.

  • Maximize high quality of interpreting

Because there is no geographical constraint, it will be possible to work with the best interpreters worldwide. Therefore, maximizing interpreting high quality is highly achievable.

  • No limit to language availability

Finding interpreters for rare languages will no longer be a challenge for conference organizers since they will be able to choose from a large international network of professionals.

  • RSI is available anywhere and anytime

It is ideal for events of any size and duration, including traditional conferences, small business meetings, lectures, workshops, discussion panels, webinars, and focus groups. There are qualifications to look for in a translator or interpreter. It is highly encouraged that you go the extra mile in researching the credentials, backgrounds, and work experience of various translators and interpreters before signing a contract. This makes all the difference in determining who can truly interpret simultaneously, even when the going gets tough.

What are the qualifications to look for in a remote interpreter?

  • Education and Experience

International Association of Conference Interpreters has a list of universities and institutions with most-sought-after linguistic programs:

  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey (MIIS)
  • Institute of Intercultural Management & Communication Paris (ISIT)
  • École Supérieure d’Interprètes et de Traducteurs (ESIT), Paris
  • The University of Geneva, Switzerland (ETI)
  • University of Mons, Belgium
  • University of Bath, England

This is not to say that other schools do not have excellent programs, but this list of schools has graduates whose credentials are highly respected around the globe. Experience is also important. Work with an interpreter who is familiar with your industry niche and/or approaches.

  • Work ethics

Work with an interpreter who values:

  • Working regularly (you want an interpreter who has years of experience of conference-level interpreting behind them);
  • Spending time in countries that speak their professional languages on a regular basis
  • Keeping up-to-date about terminologies of a variety of fields, topics, and industries
  • Reading news/pop-culture articles and watching TV/movies/media in their working languages.

These are important qualities because it does not only keep a professional linguist’s language and communication skills intact, but it also ensures they remain updated with the current culture of your target audience.

  • Being professional

A professional linguist maintains strict confidentiality.  If you’ve hired the right translator/interpreter, their professionalism, demeanor, and experience will put you at ease, and sharing important information with them that is critical for your interpreting sessions will not be a problem.

With the necessary training and right interpretation equipment, remote interpreters have the capacity to work anywhere. Very fit for the modern time, instead of traveling to the venue of an event, they can focus on their work, delivering high-quality interpretation services.