In the line of fire - Presenting RSI to the EU commission

21st edition of the SCIC-Universities Conference in Brussels, 6 - 7 April 2017

The Directorate General for Interpretation (DG Interpretation – also known as SCIC) is the European Commission’s interpreting service and conference organiser. Once a year, it organises a conference with participants from universities, national governments and European and international institutions.

The topic of this year's SCIC conference was "Interpretation: Building Capacities for a Changing World". I was contacted, as SCIC wanted somebody to speak about new technologies. As I received the invitation, I was warned that I would probably receive a "lot of critical questions". I was particularly honored to be invited, as it was the first time that an industry representative had been invited to present.

Will RSI lead to more or less interpreting work?

At the beginning of the conference, a realtime survey was carried out, one of the questions was : Will RSI lead to more or less interpreting work? It was a great pleasure to realise that a large majority of the participating academics and EU staff share our opinion that RSI will lead to MORE interpreting. Lower overall costs generate higher demand. Our claim is confirmed.

survey

 My presentation

I tried to empasise the benefits of RSI to interpreters:

Q&A session after my presentation

As expected, I received a lot of negative remarks and critical questions after my presentation. Watching the video, it is interesting to see how the agressive comments are all from participants from countries with very high interpreters fees. Why is this?

 

 

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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