In July, a research team that involved Sabine Braun and Elena Davitti (two of the lecturers from when I did my master’s degree at the University of Surrey) presented the results of its three-year research into remote interpreting via video and telephone link.
After a short introduction, the event opened with an intriguing talk by Angelica Villagran; the interpreting coordinator at a Californian hospital. She told us about her experiences and the pitfalls she and her colleagues encountered whilst setting up a remote interpreting team for their expanding institution.
Her talk was followed by a short panel discussion, consisting of several industry stakeholders: representatives from the most important professional associations in Britain and empolyees of technology providers and interpreting agencies who briefly discussed Angelica’s accounts.
Then it was time for a presentation on the results themsleves. The international team of researchers from Surrey, Bologna, Granada and Seville found, for example, that remote interpreting seemed to tire intpreters more than direct face to face interaction. They discovered that they corrected themselves more frequently and sometimes found it hard to judge when a speaker had finished (resulting in regular cross-talk of different parties).
After this insightful session, a second panel discussion scrutinised their findings. The panellists agreed that the reseach team’s insights were important for pracititioners, associations and researchers, but that further research was needed (especially into remote simultaneous interpretation). They also raised several potentially critical points, among them the question of rates and payment. These are questions that the industry at large will have to answer in the years to come.