Interpretation is a vital aspect of translation services, utilized worldwide for the sake of business, medical practice and legal advice. In the current global climate, face-to-face meetings aren’t always possible, and typically aren’t advised as nations battle the pandemic of COVID-19. In this blog post, we’re going to look at the next best thing: video remote interpreting.
What is video remote interpreting?
In brief, video remote interpreting is the combination of face-to-face and over-the-phone interpreting. It can be done from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
How is it done?
Video remote interpreting utilizes video conferencing software, the same sort that has been used in business for years to enable conference calls between people in different countries. As the practice is becoming more common as a result of social distancing protocols, more people are familiar with the use of video for communication in business. Video remote interpretation works in the same way as a typical meeting – without being restricted to corporate use – and enables meetings between people from different nations who speak different languages.
Why should you use it?
In a normal situation, video remote interpreting allows for remote interpretation where the physical presence of the interpreter isn’t possible. This can be for many reasons, including:
- An unforeseen requirement for an interpreter at short notice
- The need for an interpreter in a remote location
- The budget limitations that make transport costs difficult to justify
With COVID-19 currently placing restrictions on social gatherings of any sort, video remote interpreting enables business to continue as normal in an ambiguous environment, and maintain international relationships without the need for flights and face-to-face meetings.
When is it most often used?
There are several industries that make use of video remote interpreting more than others, historically. Typical uses of video remote interpretation include:
- Medical settings, enabling patients and medical staff to communicate more easily
- Government agencies, enabling international communication; this is vital when communication between different nations can help save lives during a pandemic
- First responders and service workers, enabling them to interact quickly and easily with a stranger who requires assistance
There are no specific industry restrictions. Its advantages can be felt by anyone in need of an interpreter, whether it is urgent or not.
The benefits of video remote interpreting
A professional interpreter will always bring the same basic benefits to a company or an individual, whether they are assisting in-person or interpreting. These focus on a reduction in error in translation, rather than relying on someone who is bilingual but not trained as an interpreter. The benefits vary between industries, but include:
- A reduction in risk to the health or life of patients by correctly communicating symptoms and medical information between patients and medical professionals
- Protection against reputational damage from a misinterpretation
- Protection against misunderstandings in legal discussions, which can have implications including fines and/or imprisonment
Video remote interpreting offers additional benefits, worth noting in a time when it may be the only option available. These include:
- Cost reduction, by removing the requirement for the interpreter or any individuals involved in the process to travel
- Immediacy, by allowing for quicker and easier access to an interpreter without the need for specific travel arrangements
- Anywhere access, through the use of conferencing software
As a result of the outbreak of COVID-19, business is typically slowing down for many people around the world. Where interpretation is required to keep negotiations moving smoothly, video remote interpreting is a cost-effective solution that adheres to the restrictions in place in different countries around the world – including travel restrictions from and into countries affected by COVID-19.
Is video remote interpreting limited to use during the pandemic?
The short answer is no. While the benefits are more greatly felt during the pandemic, the practices and use of video remote interpreting are available year-round. While people adjust to new working conditions, this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to decision-makers the practicality and use of video remote interpretation as a means to save time and money in multi-language meetings going forward.
What if you don’t like video conferencing?
During social distancing periods, there aren’t other options available that offer a personal touch in the same way. For those who wish to use an interpreter in a face-to-face scenario, this can be arranged once travel restrictions have been removed, and when businesses can operate as normal.