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Interprefy helps shape the conversation around setting industry standards at AIIC

 Over the weekend of 12 – 13 January 2019, Kim Ludvigsen and Greg McEwan represented Interprefy at an event hosted by The International Association of Conference Interpreters entitled ‘Remote Interpreting: The next big thing?’

During the event, which took place at the International Maritime Organization’s headquarters in London, some 170 interpreters discussed the rise of Distance Interpreting and its impact on the interpreting profession. Through several focused presentations and discussions, they examined where remote simultaneous interpreting could replace events that have until now followed a traditional set up, but also in new areas which are flourishing, such as online meetings, NGO summits and webinars.

Six remote interpreting vendors – among them, Interprefy – were invited to demonstrate their platforms and give interpreters a chance to carry out their work in a simulated remote environment.

 

Within the AIIC, there remain several concerns that describe a “healthy scepticism” about remote simultaneous interpreting platforms. Among these are reliability, quality of audio, ease of use and functionalities.

What is clear that, in this emerging and increasingly important industry, there is a lack of clear industry standards. Barriers to entry in the RSI market are low and we have seen a number of new platforms without the know-how, adequate investment and support team in place to provide an adequate solution for conference level interpreters at major events.

The International Association of Conference Interpreters agrees. At the end of the two day-event the industry body’s Technical & Health Committee Coordinator, Klaus Ziegler, presented the initial findings of a report based on an investigative test of each RSI platform at the event.

The report highlighted that discrepancies between vendors are significant. Interprefy urges interpreters and customers alike to check several fundamentals when considering an RSI platform. These should cover:

  • Audio quality
  • Reliability
  • Tech support team
  • Market references (case studies)
  • Video streaming

Interprefy continues to work with industry bodies as well as the academic and business communities to ensure conversations around industry standards remain open to all as remote simultaneous interpreting begins to take a substantial foothold in the market.

 

Kim Ludvigsen

With an engineering and business degree, I have worked in the financial industry and with start-ups for over 25 years. However, I have always had a keen interest in languages. My mother tongue Danish is only spoken by 5 million people, so when I after high school moved to Switzerland, I had to expand my language command. I discovered that with a positive attitude and a bit of effort, I could learn a new language in two months and today I speak seven actively.

While working for Swiss Post 2004-2010, I sometimes used interpreting and I was very surprised how old-fashioned the underlying technology was. A few years later I met with my old colleague Peter Frei, and together we picked up the idea of developing a remote interpreting platform, using browser-based software and mobile apps. A team of competent language and software specialist was quickly assembled, and by the end of 2014, a prototype developed and Interprefy incorporated.

I quickly discovered that the technology we started developing turned out to be quite controversial, or to use a modern Venture Capital expression "disruptive", meaning that is has the potential to radically transform an entire industry.

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