Remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) is one of the most challenging forms of interpretation. Among the different modes of interpreting, this is the one tailor-made for all event setups: remote, hybrid, and on-site meetings. While there have been several articles and discussions on the best practices of remote interpreting, one of the main focuses of the RSI industry remains the same – making remote simultaneous interpreting easy for all interpreters.
And in order to make remote simultaneous interpretation seamless and successful, interpreters often need help from the organizers. Not sure how to help? Here are some tips on how to make the interpreters’ lives easier.
The right equipment is of the utmost importance in remote interpreting. Organizers should look into the viability of providing two computers – one carrying the RSI platform and the other to be used for saving documents, communication, and internet searches. The computer should ideally have an i7 processor and enough RAM. The more powerful the computer, the easier it will be for the interpreters.
Connecting to the internet through Wi-Fi or hotspots can create interruptions due to patchy network or bandwidth issues. It’s highly advised to use a broadband connection through an ethernet cable. This will make it more stable and steady.
Remote simultaneous interpreters rely on their microphones and headsets to accurately understand the speaker and relay the translated message. For this, they need a top-notch noise-canceling microphone with an excellent headset. Organizers shouldn’t use the in-built microphones or speakers on their computers since they don’t have advanced features.
Some platforms specify the minimum quality of microphones and headsets, but event organizers shouldn’t settle for the bare minimum. Without reliable audio, nothing else would be relevant in RSI. It’s also a good idea to have a spare microphone and headset in case the other set develops problems.
There are two primary reasons why remote interpreters need a controlled and quiet environment. First, any disturbing noise heard by the participants can negatively affect their experience. Secondly, noise distractions can make it difficult for the interpreters to focus on the speech and do their jobs well.
Wherever possible, interpreters should choose an isolated room where they can’t hear the sound of traffic, television, or anything else. Remember that everything from open windows to ceiling fans to doorbells can disrupt the event or meeting. So make sure that your phone is on silent or airplane mode if you don’t have to use it. Turn off all notifications and inform others not to disturb you for the duration of the meeting.
Whether you use a webcam or external camera, keep it at your eye level so that the interpreters can easily see you. Since interpreters use body language and lip reading to better understand and connect, they need to see the speaker properly.
Another way to foster the connection is to introduce the interpreter at the beginning of the meeting. Informing participants that their speeches will be interpreted and requesting them to keep their camera at eye level would help the interpreters do their jobs better.
Interpreters should make sure that the lighting in their workspace is sufficient. If the natural lighting isn’t feasible, make sure the interpreter sits facing the light source. Other than making it easy for them to see the screen, good lighting will also make them look their best on the participants’ screens.
A table lamp is a good idea. Ensure that there is no harsh lighting and that it doesn’t disturb the camera. Before the meeting begins, you can offer the interpreter to test their lighting and check if they are seen properly.
Once remote simultaneous interpretation begins, there will be little room for the interpreter to request and receive information from you. This is why it’s important to share all vital documents with the interpreters before the meeting.
The interpreter should know the objective of the meeting or event and have information about the panelists. This will help them prepare well by even going through the video footage of the speakers.
A rehearsal will help both the speakers and interpreters. Even a short session will help interpreters familiarize themselves with the topic, the speaker’s style, pace, and tone. But that’s not the only reason to hold a rehearsal.
Technical glitches, if any, will come to light during the rehearsal. This will give everyone enough time to solve the problems and get used to the hardware and software.
Only the speaker should have an open microphone. A common event mistake is that often multiple microphones are open at the same time, giving others an opportunity to speak. This creates several problems.
Overlapping voices make it difficult for the interpreter to listen to the speaker. This leads to incorrect or delayed interpreting, which can negatively impact the experience for all participants.
Organizers should inform the participants of the language they will be using for the event or meeting. This will let participants decide whether to switch to the remote interpreter’s channel or listen directly to the speaker’s audio.
Letting everyone know of the language might seem like an obvious idea, but some organizers take it for granted. This often results in unnecessary confusion at the beginning of the meeting, as participants might have to suddenly switch to the interpreter’s or speaker’s channel.
The job of remote interpreters can come with many challenges. But event organizers can definitely help to ease the burden. We hope that these tips can assist you in creating a high-quality RSI experience for not just the interpreters but all the speakers, organizers, and participants.
Mar 9, 2022