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Remote simultaneous interpretation platforms

October 18th, 2020

6 months into the pandemic and by now, all the interpreting assignments have moved online in a form of webinars, videoconferences, online trainings etc.

How does it work and which platforms are used for RSI? Here is a brief overview.

The most popular platform is without any doubt – Zoom. User friendly, affordable, intuitive. 99% of my work is done through Zoom these days: two language channels, mute button, mic on/off, participants list, chat –once a mic is on you can barely notice you are working online. All those advantages come at a price, unfortunately, and this price is security. Zoom conferences have been hacked countless times with inappropriate content suddenly popping up on everybody’s screen. It is for this reason that many international organizations stay clear of Zoom.

There are other, interpretation specific difficulties in Zoom –it is impossible to hear your booth partner while interpretation is on. Meaning handover is quite a challenge. Different interpreters solve this issue in different ways – some prefer logging into the conference using a second device (another computer, tablet or ever a smartphone will do) and a second pair of headset; others make a parallel video/audio phone call. It is also possibly to rely on exchanging ready- steady – go -it’s your turn – kind of messages in Zoom chat (always privately!) or regular messengers.  Either way, it is a bit of an inconvenience but interpreters make do because really that is what the clients mostly prefer.

There are other platforms that are used less frequently, mainly due to their high price: KUDO, Speakus, Interactio, Verspeak and others. Some (but definitely not all) organizations are ready to pay a higher price in exchange for a secured online meeting.

From the simultaneous interpreters’ point of view it’s important to keep in mind you have to be certified by some of these platforms (or get a brief onboarding training) before you are allowed to work on these as an interpreter.

Fortunately, the variety of RSI platforms is quite big and one can choose a solution that meets their requirements.  

RSI as a response to the global pandemic

September 21st, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes into our professional and personal lives. Conference interpreting industry was hit very hard as all the big (and small) events got cancelled. Many clients postponed everything that they planned until things got back to “normal”. Half a year into pandemic and “normal” isn’t really back. Instead, there is a “new normal” – working remotely and providing RSI – remote simultaneous interpretation services.

Remote Simultaneous Interpreter Snezhana Skakovskaya

RSI has its advantages and disadvantages: while interpreters have many more responsibilities now (we basically became our own simultaneous interpretation technicians), new opportunities opened up as well. It became so much easier to get access to new markets, to work all around the globe in different time zones while never leaving your home office and not even being in the same room as your booth partner. Many love it, many hate, most tolerate it and everybody misses offline events and coffee breaks 🙂  

Zoom has become our main means of communication, zoom calls and zoom call tests are daily occurrence in our lives these days. Since no one really know when the pandemic is going to be over we might as well embrace all the new technologies, platforms and handover functions.

All in all, like many other professionals, simultaneous interpreters are doing their best to make lemonade out of 2020 lemons.