As we know, technology is dramatically transforming the way we communicate and do business with each other. The expectation of a consumer that is used to highly sophisticated, more connected and globalised technologies have pushed entire industries to review their models to meet the new demand.
Therefore the translation industry is going through a strong disruptive phase with the ever advancing development of technologies such as MT, NMT, text-to-speech… Just as the translation industry, the interpreting sector is experiencing its fair share of technology advances and has evolved with the ever-increasing demand for more connected solutions.
Dematerialising the interpreting service
In a world more connected than ever, distance is not an excuse anymore to provide a service. Ending the model of physical delivery of services, customers expect a dematerialised, connected service offering everywhere at any time. In the case of the delivery of interpreting services, there is also a cost dimension that comes into play as the delivery of a remote interpreting service enables to dramatically cut down costs and increase competitiveness.
The future is already here, with new actors offering fully remote interpreting services for a wide range of setups ranging from healthcare interpreting to conference interpreting, LSPs need to integrate these new technologies to stay competitive and meet the demand’s new expectations.
Uberisation of interpreting
What if you could connect with an interpreter spontaneously the same way your order your next uber driver? Well, some applications allow that level of service, offering clients direct access to a pool of qualified interpreters via a simple request on a mobile app. Just as easy as ordering a pick up from your uber app, you have instant access to a large base of interpreters that you can filter by languages, specialisations and locations.
However, interpreters are not screened for qualifications and industry sector specialisation this way and there might not be any interpreters in your timezone available.
Therefore, 2M has incorporated this technology and combined it with their handpicked, trained and NAATI Certified translators and offers these services via a simple mobile app that allows a video call between the requestor and the interpreter. This is the 2M Lingo platform.
This service is particularly relevant for setups that don’t require an onsite interpreter and when interpreters are needed on a spontaneous basis such as healthcare or police interpreting. The video feature allows the same feeling as if the interpreter was in the room which can be quite important per example in a hospital setup.
Remote interpreting and software replacing hardware for conferences
Remote interpreting services can prove to be useful in other setups such as conference interpreting. But it is still hard to service. In addition to removing the cost of having to fly in interpreters, further cost savings could be obtained through engaging them for shorter durations. However, conference interpreters on site is still the gold standard and many remote conferences interpreting proposals are still rejected as the risk is too high depending on the calibre of the conference.
Much more interesting is to replace the current hardware of receivers and the simultaneous interpreting equipment with a sophisticated software solution. In addition to considerable savings, the conference organiser also gets the advantage of precious data collection. Who listened, to which language, what does that mean for the next conference? Valuable intelligence can be taken away from this.
But this can go further, if the conference organiser chooses, they can have direct access to the consenting delegates smartphones to send them vital conference messages in the language they are listening to.
Ask us for more details as we provide the 2M Linguali solution.
The challenges of remote interpreting
Just like any disruption, remote interpreting comes with its challenges. Relying on a good internet connectivity and audio quality these technologies don’t always deliver the same quality of output as traditional onsite interpreting. These solutions rely on high-speed bandwidth; any slowness in connectivity translates into the interpretation audio feed being lost and inconsistent sound quality. Just like any cloud-based technology, there is also a concern for data security.
In order to address these challenges and further develop the offer for remote interpreting, major actors of the industry have joined forces creating the Interpreting Technologies Alliance (ITA). Our CEO Tea Dietterich attended the launch at GALA in Boston in March.
What about machine interpreting? As mentioned in our article about translation earbuds, some companies pride themselves to provide real-time interpretation via innovative translating devices. Because this technology only relies on the MT engine lying under it, it is still quite far away from achieving decent interpretation quality and faces many challenges such as speech recognition. But knowing the strong developments made in this area, this is also definitely something to keep your eyes on.
Just check in with us once in a while. We will keep you updated.