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Five things you need to know about remote simultaneous interpretation

Here are some of the most common misconceptions about interpretation debunked.

Many people overlook interpreting services simply because they hold a number misconceptions. These are often unfounded or out of date. It’s time to realise the potential of interpreting to improve user experiences and meet business objectives. Let’s take a look at busting some of those myths now. 

Things to know about interpretation

1.    Interpreting is expensive

Well, that depends. Traditional interpreting tends to be costly with several logistical layers, making it prone to problems. For example, renting equipment for one day alone cost in excess of €15,000. But technology is changing things for the better. Remote interpretation offers a more affordable solution. Interprefy estimates that like-for-like interpreting services can be provided for around 50% of what a traditional provider would charge.

2.    Interpreters should be on site

Thanks to advances in cloud technology, this is no longer the case. With remote simultaneous interpretation, so long as the interpreter has undergone training and has the right equipment to hand, he or she can work from anywhere, thereby increasing their productivity – no travel, accommodation and carbon emissions required! It also means that interpreters are not limited by geographic location. Instead of traveling and waiting on-site, they can focus on what they are good at, delivering high-quality interpreting services.

3.   Interpreting is used just for big high-profile meetings and events

By significantly redusing costs, simultaneous interpretation is an affordable service. It is useful in any scenario where there are people of different cultures, who speak different languages. Events can range from conferences, seminars, workshops, board meetings, small international team work meetings, visits with international clients, international customer visits to a factory or online meetings with international partners. Any situation where a language barrier would be involved is remedied by multilingual interpreting services.

4.    Interpreters can be replaced by technology

Bill Woods, interpreting technology pioneer, disagrees. He states that “Interpreters will be replaced by interpreters using technology.” Technology-assisted interpreting like Interprefy is more and more welcome. To stay competitive in the industry, leading providers are adopting technology that is best suited to their customers. As the need for interpretation services increases, smartphones, tablets, and online dictionaries become of greater use to the public. Machine interpretation is in its earliest stages of development but there is no telling what the future will bring. 

5.    "Everybody speaks English nowadays so there is no need for interpretation"

While English is widely spoken, this myth is wrong. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an estimated talent shortfall for some 83,000 interpreter and translator jobs by the year 2020. The job market is expected to grow significantly over the coming decade.

There are an estimated 400m native English speakers globally. A further billion or so have some understanding of English. But that doesn’t mean this latter group is comfortable participating with others in English. This is something they are often too embarrassed to admit. In many fields, cloud based interpretation services are already very popular. Take for instance, the areas of medicine and law. If communication errors exist in either field, complications can be colossal. That’s where a skilled medical or court interpreter is necessary. In high risk fields, interpretation services must be offered to prevent confusion and lawsuits. 

Technology has opened up many new opportunities for individuals and organizations to get closer with counterparts in other countries and from different cultures. Its ability to drive down costs and improve the user experience has not gone unnoticed. Have a look at what our technology can do for you.


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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