The world of Remote Simultaneous Interpreting is seeing an enormous boom in innovation, with existing platforms growing their offer for clients and interpreters and monolingual platforms (like Zoom and Microsoft Teams diversifying to support RSI as part of their service).
I hope the series has been helpful for my colleagues and clients as we’ve navigated this strange year together. If you have any ideas of what you’d like me to cover next, let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
Read the full coverage below:
Reviewing RSI platforms: Wrapping up and what comes next?
Out of the challenges of 2020 comes an explosion of innovation to change the way we work.
We interpreters are nothing if not resilient, and this year we have faced a fundamental change in the way we have delivered our services. As the planes were grounded and conferences cancelled, we didn’t slow down and instead found creative ways to continue to support our clients remotely. And so came a boom in innovation within RSI.
For those who aren’t as familiar with RSI (aka Remote Simultaneous Interpreting), it’s a great solution for international training courses, webinars, presentations, board meetings and more with a global attendee list. The attendees can listen to the presentation in their own language via the remote interpreter, whilst simultaneously following along with the speaker. You, your attendees and the interpreter can be anywhere in the world.
Over the last few months, I’ve looked in depth at several of the most popular RSI platforms but there has been tremendous advances in this area of the last few months so I thought it was time to wrap up what we know and look ahead to further developments in this sector.
So first, the wrap-ups and then we look to ahead to what comes next!
Wrapping Up: KUDO
KUDO is one of the key players in Remote Simultaneous Interpreting and a platform that I regularly use for my RSI assignments.
KUDO describes itself as a ¨language-as-a-service¨ platform for multilingual web conferencing and live events. Businesses use it to expand their global audience by offering content in their audience’s mother-tongue through a remote interpreter.
KUDO has a roster of 6500 interpreters (and climbing) that are on call 24/7 in case of an emergency across 80 countries with more than 70 languages available. Interpreters are certified through its Interpreter’s Journey course. I’ve completed this course and for all interpreters serious about offering RSI it is well worth investing the time to do.
As part of the platform’s continued development, KUDO’s VP of Client Success Barry Slaughter Olsen recently revealed that it is deepening its integration with Microsoft Teams, which is hugely exciting as more mainstream monolingual platforms are starting to look to diversify their offering for businesses. Additionally, KUDO has also announced the appointment of Claudio Fantinuoli, a renowned researcher in the fields of natural language processing and interpreting studies, as its new Head of Innovation. This is a team firmly with its foot on the gas so watch this space with KUDO!
Wrapping Up: Interprefy
Interprefy is a cloud-based platform offering remote simultaneous interpreting for events and meetings. It has been built specifically to integrate seamlessly with online conferencing platforms and features an array of tools to optimize the user experience.
Interprefy defines its USP as “extensive event support and the flexibility and scalability of the platform”, and in this, I would have to agree: Interprefy’s technical support is second to none.
There’s no limit to the number of languages supported, and Interprefy works with hundreds of partners worldwide so you can mix as many languages as required.
For interpreters new to RSI assignments, Interprefy may be a good choice because of its ease of use and the technical support available by its team which is invaluable when setting up for and during assignments, especially when you’re still developing the skills.
That said, even for seasoned pros Interprefy’s in-house training options and bank of online resources and tips are very helpful to further your learning of RSI and develop a competitive edge.
Wrapping Up: VoiceBoxer
My first ever RSI platform, used way back in 2014 – it feels like a lifetime ago now!
A platform I keep returning to, VoiceBoxer has an incredibly user-friendly interface which is great, especially for RSI novices. With easy to navigate options for both interpreters and delegates, it’s a very interactive platform with a multilingual chat, whereby you can send your message in your own language and have it translated in your desired language.
I spoke with Sergio Lloran, co-founder and CEO of VoiceBoxer for my previous LinkedIn article, and he shared with me the exciting news that VoiceBoxer was working on a version three of the platform, due to the rolled out over the summer. Another great example of a platform not standing still to continue to remain a frontrunner in RSI.
Now, let’s look forward at what’s new in the sector and some further developments!
What Comes Next: Interactio
Some great news has come out from popular RSI platform Interactio this week for International Translation Day in that they have just announced that interpreters who have delivered an assignment on the platform within the last five months will qualify for its new certification program!
All certified interpreters will receive a badge and a certificate to showcase their expertise and this is a great service for interpreters to show to potential clients. Clients want to know that we are trusted professionals and confident in using the platform, ensuring a great and problem-free service for them and this is a fantastic way to evidence this. This is a great step forward for Interactio and I immediately contacted Laura Donea to receive my badge, I can’t wait!
What Comes Next: Qua Qua Meeting
A fairly new player in the RSI world but I had a delightful experience recently participating in a demo for QuaQua meeting, an online meeting platform which now offers the functionality for RSI. I found the team to be a very responsive, attentive and quick at problem-solving I experienced a small problem which was immediately solved in a speedy one to one session – can’t ask for more than that!
Qua Qua describes itself as “a user-friendly meeting platform for both large and small meetings. For interpreters, the user interface is familiar and effective. For participants, it is intuitive and easy to use.”
I love discovering new platforms to try and to use for assignments and shortly after the demo, I completed my first assignment on Qua Qua and it was easy and straightforward to use as a platform, I would certainly recommend it!
What Comes Next: Zoom and Microsoft Teams
Mainstream monolingual platforms are certainly starting to see the benefit that supporting RSI functionality can offer to their users. With the vast majority of the workforce currently communicating through these two platforms, both domestically and internationally, it’s a no brainer that they’d begin setting themselves up to be a mainstay in international business relations.
I’ve already mentioned that KUDO is working to develop further its existing integration with Microsoft Teams, but what about Zoom?
Available on its Pro plans, Zoom allows the meeting host to designate participants as interpreters on the web portal or during a Zoom session.
When the meeting or webinar starts, the host can start the interpretation feature, which will allow the interpreters to provide their own audio channels for the language they are translating to. Attendees can then select the audio channel to hear the translated audio in their language of choice; they can also choose if they want to hear the original audio at a lower volume. It’s a pretty slick integration and I have had some very positive feedback from both clients and colleagues on Zoom’s RSI functionality.
Wrapping Up the Wrap Up!
There’s a lot covered here, but equally, there’s a lot to say as this is an area of the industry that has seen incredible progress and I believe will have as much of a place in an interpreter’s service offering as in-person interpreting.
RSI offers flexibility for clients as a cost-effective and quick solution but should sit within a wider package of potential solutions. It’s up to us interpreters as industry experts to work with our clients to recommend the best delivery to ensure that we’re all set up for long-term success.
Something that we are increasingly seeing is the move to hybrid events – in other words, running an event as a conference with interpreters based on site, but then streamed to the delegates remotely. As event management organisations look to find new ways to deliver engaging events to an audience not able to be physically present, this is an exciting prospect.
I don’t think RSI should replace in-person assignments – my personal preference – but rather work alongside it. A quick business meeting could be operated through RSI, whereas a three-day EWC meeting would often be better served by a small team of interpreters working on-site in our beloved booths.
For me personally, it’s the human element that I really miss and can’t truly be replicated through a screen. One the one hand, with RSI if a delegate cancels last minute, we can always just log off and do something else, but nothing compares to meeting with fellow sleepy-faced colleagues when catching the first plane to Zurich or Paris to then be fantastically smart and smiley at a conference venue three hours later! Or appreciating the delicious local delicacies of whatever country we are visiting, mingling and meeting new people, and asking about our lives and projects, sharing tips and tools and sharing our life experiences.
After all, how can you taste Porto online, smell the fragrances of the salt mine (anyone who knows me well will know what I mean!) or the listen to the sounds of a bustling conference full of excited delegates?
I for one am looking forward to the days when we can escape from behind our screens and meet my clients, colleagues and real people again, but I believe this will coexist alongside RSI and hybrid events moving forward, offering real flexibility for clients to find the solution that suits their needs.