Remote Interpreting at Conferences
Remote Interpreting at Conferences

Remote Interpreting at Conferences

Conferences and meetings are increasingly being held online or in hybrid form. This development is not only a consequence of the pandemic-related contact restrictions. It also reflects the consequences of climate change. Video conferences make a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of congresses and other meetings. Remote interpreting is a climate- and resource-friendly alternative to traditional simultaneous interpreting, where interpreters work in booths at the actual location of the event. The travelling expenses of the interpreter are reduced significantly or eliminated altogether and no special technical equipment is required on site. A stable Internet connection, however, is crucial.

Remote interpreting — what exactly is that?

The term remote interpreting generally refers to interpreting services (simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting) provided via digital communication channels such as the telephone or the internet. This type of interpreting is used when not all participants are (able to be) at the same place. There are no limits to possible constellations: On the one hand, it is possible for both participants and interpreters to connect with their respective devices, and on the other hand, for only interpreters or clients to be called in virtually and for all other participants to be in the same place.

In most cases, remote interpreting means that the interpreters join the conference remotely from their workplace. They use their computer and headset and tune in via a professionally managed video conference platform. The interpreters either work from home or in a professionally equipped hub of a conference technology company near them. Behind the scenes, a technician makes sure that the technology works properly.

Remote interpreting — the technical realisation

At conferences, congresses or meetings, interpreting is usually done simultaneously. Since simultaneous interpreters speak and listen at the same time, simultaneous remote interpreting requires at least two channels: one channel through which what is said can be heard by the interpreter and an output channel through which participants can listen to the interpretation.

Video communication systems, such as Zoom, include several options for providing simultaneous interpretation. In Zoom conferences, individuals can, for example, be appointed interpreters by the moderator. They then have the option of choosing the channel on which their interpretation is to be heard. The listeners only need to connect to the desired audio channel and the simultaneous remote interpretation can begin.

Nevertheless, given that simultaneous interpreters never work alone but always in teams of two or three, the handover poses a particular challenge. In "classic" simultaneous interpreting in the booth, the interpreters usually communicate via eye contact or short notes as soon as they want to hand over to their colleague. Yet, if this colleague is in a different place in front of his own computer, then a little creativity is necessary: Chat messages, a short exchange over the phone and the like can help to make the partner understand that they wish to hand over. So-called interpreting hubs can solve this problem. They can either be permanently installed on the premises of conference technology companies or be mobile, permitting the interpreters to follow the conference proceedings remotely via an audio and video line.

Remote interpreting — languages

 Interpreters at Interpreting Agency Vienna | Connect Translations Austria GmbH are undoubtedly among the best in their field. They have extensive expertise in interpreting complex content and a great amount of experience with remote interpreting. The working languages of our remote interpreters include: