Remote professional interpreting

The increasingly rapid advancement of communication technologies has now made it possible to provide interpretingservices remotely as well as in person. While in healthcare and hospital settings, which by nature require fairly rapid intervention times, remote interpreting was often prioritised over other forms of communication also in the past, in other areas (business, training activities and during events and conferences) demand for this service was limited until the lockdowns imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing suddenly made it the number one linguistic mediation solution. This new level of awareness has made  video interpreting an increasingly popular language service among Landoor’s clients who see it as an excellent way of managing their relations with their global partners. At the same time, those who hire our services can count on a team of professionals with very strong sectorial and technological expertise, enhanced by continuous professional updating courses which ensure the precise application of best practices and the ongoing refinement of hard skills.

As well as the aforementioned remote simultaneous interpreting services for meetings and conferences, Landoor offers a wide range of multilingual services for the oral translation  of telephone communications, conference calls and video calls carried out via PC using VoIP technology (e.g. with services like Skype, Google Hangouts, Jitsi, Viber, Whatsapp Web, Facetime, etc.). Let’s take a look at them in order of their appearance on the language services scene.

Telephone interpreting

With over-the-phone interpreting (OPI), VoIP telephone or audio conversations between two or more parties are translated  consecutively by the interpreter (for example, the first speaker talks in German for a few minutes, the interpreter listens and takes notes, and then translates into Italian for the other party – and vice versa).

In an ideal world, in order to minimise the possibility of misunderstandings all speakers should be individually connected with the interpreterthrough headphones or loudspeakers with a microphone with suitable range.

Over-the-phone interpreting is a particularly arduous form of interpreting for the professional who, unlike when interpreting services are performed in person, cannot count on any kind of visual support (i.e. non verbal communications, such as the reactions of those present).

This difficulty has been at least partially overcome by videoconference interpreting.

Interpreting for conference calls/video conferences

In what is also known as call interpreting (but also video relay interpreting or video remote interpreting) the clients and the interpreter are connected via audio and video through an online platform with video call functions or via an application for mobile devices. It is a form of consecutive interpreting. Compared with over-the-phone interpreting, in VRI the presence of the video channel permits clearer and more accurate communication, particularly when the technologies used are sufficiently advanced to enable the interpreter to zoom the camera in on the speaker.

In the medical and hospital setting the most advanced suppliers of video interpreting services provide special tablets – user-friendly and easily transferrable portable devices – which are directly connected with their platform and provide access to the interpreters 24 hours a day.

When is over-the-phone or call interpreting a good idea?

Traditional over-the-phone interpreting and call/video interpreting are highly practical solutions in all situations in which there is an urgent or unexpected need to exchange information.

Remote interpreting sessions via telephone or video are also traditionally used in less formal situations than those for which conference interpreting is required.

In addition, this type of linguistic mediation is ideal for relatively short exchanges as well as those in which it is necessary to protect the anonymity or privacy of those involved.

This type of interpreting can include services for:

  • calls to emergency numbers;
  • calls to customer services;
  • police stations and HQs, prefectures, prison services;
  • public bodies and institutions;
  • hotels and other tourism services;
  • hospitals and health authorities;
  • public services;
  • schools;
  • social services;
  • courts

Landoor receives lots of requests for over-the-phone interpreting services from private citizens who are in contact with foreign parties or abroad on business.

Companies also take advantage of video call interpreting to manage business negotiations and strengthen commercial relations with foreign clients or suppliers in a simple way, directly from their offices, with productive conference calls for the development of their businesses.

Online meetings and conference calls between the Italian and international offices of companies that use interpreting services are also common and represent a big step forward compared with the forms of communication used in the past.

It goes without saying that, compared with in-person interpreting, the rates for this type of remote service are more economical (there are no travel costs for the interpreter) while inconveniences like lateness or absences can be practically excluded. Last but not least, this type of service also makes it possible to reduce the environmental footprint of work meetings.

Remote interpreting

Nowadays, a number of highly advanced technologies also make it possible to provide genuine remote interpreting (alternatively, distance interpreting or virtual interpreting) services in which the interpreter works remotely, translating one or more speakers via a dedicated platform. In essence, the interpreter works exactly as they would in an onsite booth, with the possibility of seeing the facial expressions and body language of the speaker in real time on their interface, as well as any slideshows or videos that form part of the speaker’s presentation.

This new option simplifies the organisation of events (webinars, virtual meetings, online conferences, online presentations, international training events) for clients while guaranteeing notable savings on the transfer, food, lodging and expenses of interpreters, as well as on equipment and interpreting booths or bidules.

With remote interpreting the speaker, public and interpreter are usually located in three different places. It can be carried out consecutively, but the most refined form is remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI), a service in which the Landoor linguists are able to guarantee exceptional levels of performance. Remote simultaneous interpreting is the natural evolution of conference interpreting and is greatly appreciated by our clients and suppliers also as a form of safe remote working for various types of language services. RSI can be carried out via different tools which all share one thing in common: the interpreter works remotely and interprets simultaneously.

The most widely-used remote interpreting platforms are based on cloud technologies and require users/listeners to have a laptop, smartphone or tablet with headphones. The interpreter accesses the platform of the language services provider and receives the audio and video input of the event on their virtual console together with other supporting materials like abstracts, briefings and event schedules. The public sees the speaker on their screens and listens to the interpretation in their own language with excellent audio quality via a regular browser or having downloaded a dedicated application.

There are also a number of extremely sophisticated apps that apply respeaking to the remote interpretation, with a simultaneous translation in the form of subtitles that appear on the smartphones of participants.

Remote interpreters are required to carry out a highly cognitive role and so Landoor’s professionals are always organised in teams of two or more colleagues that share the interpreting work and alternate at regular intervals.

Main advantages of remote interpreting

  • cost savings
  • elimination of geographical distances
  • flexible hours: a leading agency like Landoor can guarantee 24-hour availability
  • greater respect for privacy and confidential information
  • environmental sustainability

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