Remote Interpreting: Video Conferencing Platform Edition
While video conferencing platforms existed before the pandemic, they only became more of a thing when everyone was stuck at home but work and meetings still needed to get done.
Breaking the language barrier seemed to be more in demand than ever before, and therefore interpreters found themselves having to become more tech savvy to support themselves while they navigate the new era of remote interpreting. In-person assignments were not an option, so more and more remote alternatives emerged.
The pandemic is over, but remote interpreting is here to stay. VRI has boomed in the past few years, and any new interpreter wanting to enter the market needs to at least have an idea of the different apps/platforms that companies will use to conduct depositions, webinars and other events that would require interpreting services.
The following is in no way a comprehensive list of said apps, but it gives you an idea of the most popular ones out there:
Zoom is a widely used video conferencing platform that offers features like screen sharing, video recording, and real-time interpretation with its Language Interpretation add-on. Launched in 2013, Zoom went through the roof during Covid.
Zoom is hands down my favorite platform to work on. It is extremely user friendly! There is the free version, and there is the corporate version which companies can purchase and which has more options and cool features.
2. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a collaborative communication platform that includes video conferencing capabilities. It allows interpreters to join meetings and provide simultaneous interpretation through its built-in interpretation features.
Microsoft Teams is the worst platform I’ve had to use for my work as an interpreter, and I know it isn’t only me: this is a sentiment shared among countless colleagues who have all had the same unpleasant experience with this tool. It’s just so confusing and there’s nothing smooth about it!
3. Cisco Webex
Cisco Webex provides video conference functionalities along with features like real-time language interpretation, translation, and document sharing. It can be a great choice for interpreters working in multinational or multilingual settings.
This platform is a decent option. I’ve dealt with clients who used Webex for their depositions, and I’ve had no issues whatsoever! It’s easy to navigate and use.
Interprefy is a specialized interpretation platform that offers remote simultaneous interpretation services. It enables interpreters to provide language support during video conferences, webinars, or virtual events.
I haven’t had the chance to use this platform yet (I know! Hopefully soon :D) but all my colleagues say it’s pretty neat, so I figured it deserves a spot on this list.
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing tool that also supports language interpretation. It allows interpreters to provide real-time interpretation services through its language interpretation feature.
This is also another platform that I haven’t yet tested myself.
In addition to these platforms, I have also heard of some companies and interpreters using Google Meet for their events. I’m still not sure how language interpreting can be supported on Google Meet, but it would be interested if this feature is developed.
The above are just a few options you can explore, but it’s always recommended to assess your specific needs and the requirements of your clients before selecting an appropriate video conference app for interpreting purposes.