Will interpreters be replaced by technology?

Interview with Naomi Bowman at the GALA

Many interpreters fear SRI and see the technology as a threat to their profession. “Will interpreters be replaced by technology?” is a question often asked. The interpreting technology pioneer Bill Woods gave the answer in 2011 at a panel discussion. At the GALA Conference in Amsterdam onMarch 26 - 27 I discussed business opportunities with the President of DS-Interpretation, Naomi Bowman. I discovered  that she is the daughter of Bill: Here is what he said:

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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