Remote Interpretation Service
Interpreting services with the aid of modern technologies have become accessible as never before in the history humanity. In pre-COVID19 reality in addition to preparing for the event itself the organizers had to worry about complex logistics both for the participants and the interpreters with the technical personnel. The event hosts would book the flights and hotel rooms, organise airport transfers and hire interpreters’ booths and provide technical support for the event. In the times of the pandemic English<>Russian interpreting services can be arranged at a click of a mouse.
There are several options that you can chose from depending on your preferences, the format of your event, number of participants and your budget.
The first simple option is available in situations when remote consecutive interpreting is used, i.e. small business meetings and negotiations, interviews, legal or other professional consultations, medical examinations, etc. with no more than 2-3 participants. In this case a video call can be arranged from your free account in either Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It is a free technical solution for your remote English<>Russian consecutive interpreting services without limitations as to time, with Zoom being an exception. Maximum duration of a video call on Zoom is 45 minutes after which you will need to start another call.
Free tools I recommend for remote consecutive interpreting
The second inexpensive option for scenarios where remote simultaneous interpreting is required, is to use two separate platforms at your meeting – one as a video channel and another strictly for interpreting services. The participants will need to use their computer for visual interaction and a smartphone for listening to the interpretation. It could be Skype and Microsoft Teams or Skype and Webex, with the latter offering a free plan for small meetings. Another combination is Webex and GoToMeeting, with the latter offering a 30 day free trial. It is essential for all participants to have good Internet connection and make sure they have enough bandwidth to run two platforms simultaneously.
Free tools I recommend for remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI)
The third paid option for remote simultaneous interpreting is to use one dedicated platform that will serve all participants throughout the event with an integrated interpreting function.
Popular platform Zoom has an interpreting function. Great news for those who are on a Business plan with Zoom, you will not need to pay extra for enabling it! Others might want to buy the Pro plan and Webinar add-on. In this case as the organiser of the event you will need to enable the interpreting function. Here is a great video with easy explanations on how to do it. You will invite the participants to the meeting like you normally would, assign the interpreting function to me and then ask the Russian-speaking participants to select interpretation into Russian in Zoom. Done! Please note that participants will only be able to ask speakers their questions in writing via Chat.
Apart from Zoom there are several providers at the market specializing in video conferences with interpreting services. I have found Interprefy very good in terms of functionality and, of no small importance, technical support. When using such professional providers who offer a full package of services, all you need to worry about is delivering your presentations or engaging with the participants. Such platforms are excellent for conferences, webinars, product presentation, etc. with a big audience. English<>Russian interpreting services will be provided simultaneously, and you won’t have to lift a finger to add them to the event. The participants, when logging into the platform, will simply need to choose the icon with the Russian language. They will be able to ask questions during the event and the audience will be able to hear them through the simultaneous interpretation.
You might also check out similar platforms such as Kudo and SpeakUP, both accompanied by technical support which becomes particularly handy at events with several interpreters working into many languages (e.g. from English into Russian, Italian, French and Chinese).
Paid tools I recommend for RSI
RSI and conference interpreting technologies are rapidly evolving. I recommend keeping an eye on emerging technical solutions. Here is a table with some Interpreting Systems available to date.
Irrespective of what you decide to go with, you will have to make sure that you are technically equipped.
First thing you need is reliable Internet. You can test your connection for free here. Usually the following parameters are recommended for the event hosts: minimum 4 (8) Mbps upload per video channel for “low” (”high”) resolution setting, ping should be below 50ms, jitter must be below 15ms. Ethernet cable connection is strongly recommended.
It goes without saying that your hardware should be capable of handling video conferencing. Recommended minimum for computers is Core i5 or i7, minimum 4Gb RAM, Windows 7 or higher.
Another vital aspect is good quality of sound. It is highly recommended for all speakers to use headsets with an inbuilt microphone and background noise cancelling feature. Common recommendations are Sennheiser SC70USB, Sennheiser SC60USB, SC260USB and Jabra Evolve 40, Logitech H340.
Before the event run a test call with the actual setup you will be using. Mare sure that during the virtual meeting you are not streaming or downloading heavy files. Install or update the latest version of the platfrom you have selected for your remote event. Please restart your computer the day before your meeting to make sure all automatic Windows updates are installed.
©Tatiana Kovalenko 2020