These different means of interpreting have become even more relevant in light of our current situation; with lockdown measures and restrictions in place, and our ability to travel, meet, and cross borders greatly affected. However, even without these complications, we’d like to suggest that you consider this relatively new interpreting service as an appealing alternative to standard interpreting, as it offers many benefits, including greater flexibility and time and cost savings. While many clients will obviously continue to favour in-person interpreting, we feel confident that interpreting via videoconference session will become a regular part of the portfolio of translation and interpreting service providers, and that the demand among customers will grow as we head into the future.
The history of remote interpreting started with phone calls, where the parties involved communicated via direct conference phone calls, or where an interpreter was requested to communicate on behalf of the customer by phone, without the customer’s direct participation, typically by calling an authority or office in a foreign country. This interpreting method is no longer very popular, particularly with the rise and better availability of videoconference technologies.
Here is a summary of the main benefits of remote or off-site interpreting, undertaken via an online video call.
For standard interpreting services, the interpreter needs to travel to the venue in question. As a result, interpreters generally charge half-day or even full-day rates at a minimum, even for short interpreting sessions. The client also often needs to cover the cost of travelling and accommodation for interpreters. If interpreting is done remotely, these costs are of course entirely eliminated.
Because online interpreters work from the comfort of their offices, we are able to respond to your needs with better flexibility, including handling requests for express services. Videoconference calls are also ideal in situations where you may need several repeated interpreting sessions during the course of a week, for example, and at various times.
As there is no need to travel to the interpreting venue, we are also able to offer a much wider portfolio of languages for online interpreting, including less common language combinations. This can mean a significant advantage for you – imagine being able to easily present your product to a potential customer in their native language!
You may have had the experience that you can speak English or German quite well, and your business partner also seems to be fluent in one of these languages. However, as soon as you start presenting your product or solution, you realize that their English is so poor that quality communication is out of the question. What now? Wouldn’t it be great to have quick access to an interpreter who could help you communicate with your business partners in their native language? Thanks to teleconferencing interpreting, this option is both very realistic and easily accessible.
Teleconferencing and videoconferencing technologies are available for a wide variety of devices. This means that you don’t need to possess a super-powerful computer or buy expensive conferencing equipment. A laptop, a tablet, or even a good-quality smartphone will do the job perfectly well.
There is one potential downside to online interpreting that we should mention – in some situations, personal contact is simply better. Some clients or their business partners really do prefer in-person communication, in which case it does not seem reasonable to press them to use an online alternative. By the same token, a remote business session naturally cannot be followed by an informal lunch or some chit-chat over a glass of wine.
However, modern technologies are able to offer many benefits which can compensate for these shortcomings. Thanks to webcams, all participants can see each other, and videoconferencing apps make it possible to share screens, which is ideal for showing such things as PowerPoint presentations. Participants can also exchange text messages with each other while on an online call. In addition, meetings can easily be recorded and shared, for example with someone who could not attend the meeting in person but needs to stay in the loop.
There are a large number of teleconferencing apps available, and most of them do not require any complicated installations. In most cases, all you need is a suitable device with a good-quality internet connection and a URL link provided by the meeting organizer. And your important meeting can begin.
Author: Václav Baláček