Why Real Interpreters Are Indispensable

By David Fetterolf, Stratus Video President

Have you ever gotten frustrated with Siri? Imagine just how frustrating it would be if you tried to use Siri to help you communicate in a foreign language. A BBC News journalist experienced this first hand when he set out to put automated interpreter applications like Google Translate and Vocre to the test to see if they could help him communicate in the Spanish Basque Country of Bilbao. He made a to-do list and set out with several of these automated interpreter apps to see if he could get the job done. His list of to-dos included having to go to the Guggenheim museum to find out its most valuable work of art, ask someone the best way to get to Plaza Nueva from the Moyua metro station, take a selfie with a local in Gili Gili and so on.

On several occasions, the app failed entirely, forcing him to rely on crude drawings and hand signals in order to communicate. The apps’ biggest weaknesses were background noise and the “[rigors] of real life”, in this case a hailstorm. The apps struggled to keep up with the pace of the speaker even at the speed of a normal conversation. Another obstacle was the technology itself. Many people were not familiar with the use of automated interpreting apps, and were immediately turned off by the idea. The journalist was tasked with explaining the concept time and time again despite major communication barriers.

While automated machine translation and interpretation applications have come about, most experts argue that real live interpreters can never be replaced. Aside from the fact that automated interpreting apps still have long strides to take in terms of development, there is a lack of empathy that can only be established with a real live person. The inability to communicate basic needs often puts individuals with limited language proficiency in vulnerable situations. Those in need of an interpreter wish to see another person and feel empathy on the other side.

With that in mind, Stratus Video has fused cutting-edge technology with real live qualified interpreters in order to provide effective and accurate solutions for those in need. This isn’t an automated interpreter app. Stratus Video Interpreting is a cloud-based video remote interpretation service. We are using innovative, platform agnostic technology to connect you with real live qualified interpreters. Click here to find out more about Stratus Video’s technologically advanced solutions and the great strides we are taking towards facilitating better communication.

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