June 2020: travel is slowly resuming, but international travel is still at its lowest for decades. So is business travel. And in-person attendance of conferences in the coming months is suspended.
But remote conferencing technology is offering today what only ten years ago seemed a faraway future for the majority of businesses and organisations: The possibility to recreate virtually a conference or meeting setting, complete with full multilingual support in an easy, accessible and cost-effective way, capable of accommodating an internationally diverse audience.
Video conferencing today is considered by many as the ultimate solution to connect with remote workers, customers, and employees, as the most efficient way to satisfy the demand for cross-border communication. Businesses of all sizes which have focussed on expanding their business in the global market use it to interact with their clients and manage the workforce in various subsidiaries. Institutions, on the other hand, must ensure that their services in courts, hospitals and other settings are accessible to an increasingly diverse community..
Remote interpreting significantly improves the video-conferencing experience because it bridges the language divide: participants can choose which language to listen to, and which language to use to interact with the speaker. Remote interpreters clarify the speaker's message to audiences at risk of not understanding correctly or misunderstanding what is said. With remote interpretation, participants interact in the language they speak best, forcefully express their viewpoint with confidence, be persuasive and offer more elaborate argumentations, all difficult in a foreign language.
Remote interpreting can be conducted in two different ways: consecutively and simultaneously. While telephone interpreting is mainly rendered in a consecutive mode, video-conference interpreting is often simultaneous. Technically, both the host and the interpreters have their own channel. The listener then chooses which channel to listen to, that is the original language or the interpretation.
The advantages of simultaneous over consecutive interpretation are manifold:
- the length of the conference is not increased by a duplication of the content in the other language
- the original content can be interpreted in more languages
- the content is translated word by word, while in a consecutive setting it is usually summed-up by the interpreter.
Video-remote interpreting can be used to recreate three different communication scenarios:
- The traditional conference or business meeting in a room: attendees sit in a physical room and connect to a remote interpreter and speakers in other locations. In this case, the video-conferencing software interfaces with the equipment physically installed in the room and connects the attendees to remote interpreters and remote speakers.
- The virtual conference or business meeting: Attendees and interpreters all connect from different locations in a totally virtual environment.
- A webinar broadcasted simultaneously in different languages to remote listeners.
The increased need for multilingual virtual conferencing is being met by an increasing number of technology providers. Platforms are taylored to specific use-cases or targets. In this article Nimdzi has recently summed up the existing VIT technology.
A recent development has also seen video-conferencing platforms develop specific interpreting functionality to cater for multilingualism. Although not offering an exact replica of all functionalities of a traditional simultaneous interpreting booth, they offer ease of use at a lesser overall cost.
Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the Zoom interpreting functionality or