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Thinking outside the booth

recent blog post published on The Professional Interpreter, by Tony Rosado, highlights a growing problem within the interpreting community. In the globalized world in which we live, travel has become more affordable and borders more easily traversed. What about interpreters? Does a conference organiser apply for a working permit for a professional guest speaker presenting (again a fee) at his/her conference? Does the onsite management of a conference require a permit? This is a grey area and there are no clear answers.

 Each nation has different rules when it comes to consulting as a foreigner. In Switzerland, for example, a person from outside the country without a work permit can consult for a maximum of seven days per year.

 Remote simultaneous interpreting removes this problem entirely. Because the interpreter does not need to travel to the site of the event, no work permit is required. Interpreters in such circumstances are working within the legal boundaries of their home country and not in that of the event location.

 Increasingly interpreters are recognizing this as a major advantage of remote simultaneous interpreting. For those who turn left when boarding a plane, it may seem that borders are becoming easier to cross than in the past. But, as many countries across the world are tightening their borders and making it harder for non-domiciles to obtain work permits. This raise another benefit of remote simultaneous interpreting. No longer do interpreters need to spend so much time unnecessarily on filling visa forms, traveling and waiting around for their event.

 Remote simultaneous interpreting for events


 With remote simultaneous interpreting, interpreters will benefit from more work – not only do they have more time disposable to work but, by removing the need to hire AV equipment, booths and spend on travel and accommodation, more orangazations will be able to afford interpreting. Basic economics dictates that lower prices equate to higher demand. It’s a win-win for everyone!

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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