Interpreting & Interpretation Technology

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Where would modern day translation and interpretation be without technology? Imagine overcoming a language barrier even as recently as 100 years ago. You would have to transcribe the spoken language by hand, translate your transcription to the target language, send the translation to the recipient via snail mail and ever so patiently await their response. Talk about a round-about way of doing things! The demand for interpretation and translation has been around for centuries. Thanks to great strides in technological advancement, the process of transferring meaning between languages is much faster and more efficient. Breakthroughs in residential broadband internet and interpreting programs give translators and interpreters the freedom to work from home offices with reliable high-speed internet. Let’s take a closer look at the role technology plays in the field.

Webcast

Webcasts are becoming increasingly popular as a resource for conference interpreting, offering specialized features to interpreters who need to switch off to avoid interpreter fatigue. Webcast-multimedia presentations are streamed over the Internet, broadcasting audio and video content to multiple simultaneous listeners and viewers. Webcasting can be streamed live and is also available on-demand.

Adobe Connect and Webex are two popular web conferencing systems that provide chat windows designed to facilitate communication between interpreters regarding terminology questions, sound quality and turn taking.

High definition audio and video

Advancements in high definition audio and video have shaped modern day consecutive interpreting to include both over the phone interpretation (OPI) and video remote interpretation (VRI). Both methods empower interpreters with the capability to work remotely. VRI technologies utilize video conferencing technology, equipment, and a high-speed internet connection. While OPI best facilitates simple verbal exchanges not requiring visual communication, video technologies provide the closest approximation to face to face interpretation. The exchange of visual information makes VRI especially effective for sign language and mental health interpretation.

E-documentation

E-documentation is revolutionizing the world of translation. Hospitals are using handheld devices and tablets for data entry, digital pens for automated prescription refills and interactive voice response systems for emergency contact. The transition from print to electronic data collection has developed the electronic case repost form (eCRF). All of these technological advancements in the medical field are challenging translators to optimize their translation memory systems and terminology databases to incorporate official regulatory terms so they can maintain consistent and accurate translation across all devices.

Information Technology

Advancements in the field have made continuing education more essential than ever for simultaneous and consecutive interpreters and translators who can no longer depend solely on their experience and knowledge to remain competitive. Industry professionals also need to be well informed on information technology to avoid issues that could otherwise negatively impact work quality and client satisfaction. Check out these insider tips from a freelance interpreter and information technology expert.

Apps

Another technological advancement that is revolutionizing the world of interpreting is the use of apps on handheld and mobile devices. Some apps offer machine automated translation while others provide language access services connecting to real live interpreters. Even medical devices are using mobile apps as remote controls for device displays. Check out Stratus Video Interpreting, a VRI service in the form of an app that can be loaded onto any tablet, computer or video conferencing system. With Stratus Video, you can carry an interpreter in your pocket. Language access is available anywhere anytime!

Technology is playing a big role in the world of interpretation and translation. What technological advancement do you think will be the next big game changer? Geolocation capability? Robots? The possibilities are endless.

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