Due to the rise of remote interpreting services and more specifically the Remote Simultaneous Interpretation, we would like you to meet Loreto Rodríguez Untoria, one of our most trusted conference interpreters to chat about the service and to share with you a professional’s point of view.
Hi, Loreto! We’re so glad you agreed to talk to us and to share your point of view! Let’s get straight to the point. Several weeks ago, we woke up in a completely different reality. To make a long story short: the world went online. This affects interpreting companies as well. We’ve read the stories of businesses going online but how about conference interpreters: how do you feel this challenge affects you?
Of course, our interpreting lives, and personal lives, have been turned upside down. I consider myself lucky because in the field of market research we have been using these systems for at least five years. Still, we will have to go through training on how to use these new platforms. Also, when we use them for the first time, we face many challenges and our work becomes even more stressful. This new way of working is also affecting our families who need to remain quiet and stay away from the WIFI, not an easy task with teens at home.
From your experience, do you think clients take Remote Simultaneous Interpreting as an opportunity or a threat?
I actually consider it an opportunity. Face to face meetings will come back, but many companies are realizing that remote systems are good for smaller meetings which went without translation because clients wanted to avoid travelling expenses and all costs associated with simultaneous interpreting.
I think that in the future both systems will coexist, clients are already realizing that RSI is feasible for many types of meetings and events and we will benefit from the concurrence of different solutions, as proven in so many sectors.
We at SeproTec believe that moving the conferences and events to the online world can help clients go through the crisis. We also strongly believe that, with the help of professional interpreting companies they can be well prepared to host multilingual online events and we are concentrating our efforts in explaining and counselling them on the various options available in the market to best suit their needs. As a professional interpreter with experience on RSI, what would be your advice to the clients?
I totally agree with you, RSI can be very helpful for businesses that want to thrive in these difficult times. My advice to the clients is to trust an experienced provider. They will be able to support them with the platform that best suits their needs, contact the best interpreters for specific services and organise all the technical aspects. Also, as happens in face to face meetings, the events can be more successful if the client can provide us, the interpreters, with the necessary documentation so that we can prepare for the event. It is also advisable to run a test before the event and to be able to talk to the main speakers to further clarify terms and to explain to them how interpretation works.
Also, for those who want to try RSI but are reluctant, my advice is to start with a small meeting or a webinar, so they can see the dynamic and become familiar with interpretation services. I am sure that afterwards they will feel more comfortable to take on bigger events.
The technology available on the market is improving on a daily basis and we are getting new solutions every day. Prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, only 17% professional interpreters embraced and were familiar with RSI technologies. From our experience, the interpreters we work with are, on the contrary, always excited to be able to use the newest technologies which may facilitate this process. So, are you willing to use it?
I’m more than ready!!! And based on what I’ve seen in LinkedIn and on what I’ve heard, most of my colleagues are also happy to embrace these new platforms. Most of us are learning about them and, I guess, platform developers are also learning to improve them to make them more interpreter friendly.
What are the main advantages of a conference interpreting job being ‘transferred’ to online? Do you feel, as lots of our interpreters do, that this may be less stressful for an interpreter than working from a booth? We are not only talking about working from home – there are other places where an interpreter can perform her/his job, like a hub, office or a studio…
Well, you can sit in a nice, cosy, undisturbed spot at home where you feel comfortable working, and you can do so while wearing more comfortable clothes than the one you wear to an on-site event
The great advantage is that, on line, interpreters can accept projects from all over the world, thus increasing their geographical reach. It is also good because many of the projects that they though impossible have now become feasible and it allows them to get access to the best interpreters regardless of their geographical location, something which was unthinkable offline.
What are the main differences between onsite and remote simultaneous interpreting? Apart from not being ‘locked’ in one booth with your co-interpreter, of course
They are totally different!! Being at the same booth with a colleague is key to run a smooth and natural interpretation. At the moment, with RSI to avoid inconsistencies in terminology and style, we have to keep the contact with your virtual booth mate through other desktop digital technologies, which we need to get used to. Also, as mentioned, we miss being able to talk with the speaker before doing our job, not to mention receiving documentation beforehand. Still, I’m optimistic and I’m sure that some of the problems that we are currently facing will be solved soon.
Now that you had the chance to review SeproTec’s online training platform on RSI with some of the advice we are giving to our interpreters listed below,
do you agree? What, based on your experience, would you add to the list?
I agree with your advice, I would highlight the necessity of getting familiar with a desktop version of a secured communication tool and keep it open in your computer to better communicate with your booth mate.
It is also a good idea to invest in a good headset with noise cancellation microphone, audio surge protector, dual monitors and an uninterruptible power supply system to deliver the service with full security.
Thank you Loreto for your time and for the important insight!
Thank you!!! Keep safe everybody.