The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020 - 25

FEATURE

BY SILVANA G. CHAVES

interpreting services. The latter believed
it went against the fundamentals of
traditional interpreting. A similar
situation occurred when computerassisted translation (CAT) tools were
introduced. At first, many translators
saw this technology as a threat but later
discovered its benefits and harnessed
them to increase their productivity, and
hence their income. It was just another
example of human resistance to change.

Remote simultaneous interpreting
was being used widely in many
countries long before COVID-19,
yet there was a solid dividing line
between supporters and naysayers.

Remote Simultaneous
Interpreting Hubs or Platforms:
What's the Best Option?
In times of lockdown and social distancing, remote simultaneous interpreting
(RSI) has suddenly become the perfect solution for many, despite being still
technically imperfect. Two work environments have emerged for delivery
that interpreters will need to explore before they jump on the bandwagon.
The following sheds light on both to encourage interpreters to reflect on this
somewhat unchartered territory.

T

he outbreak of COVID-19 turned
the world upside down across
industries, forcing everyone to
shift gears to avoid a full stop. The
translation and interpreting industry
was no exception. All at once, the
schedules of interpreters around the
globe became a long list of crossed-out
assignments. Then a topic that many
www.atanet.org

interpreters had underhyped for years
suddenly became overhyped: remote
simultaneous interpreting (RSI).
RSI was being used widely in many
countries long before COVID-19,
yet there was a solid dividing line
between supporters and naysayers. The
former thought that RSI was another
technology-enabled solution to provide

RSI platforms were going through
a trial period when COVID-19 broke
out. Although these platforms had been
around for some time, most interpreters
reported technical issues when using
them. However, when in-person events
were wiped out in a matter of days
after the pandemic hit, these platforms
became the perfect solution-despite
still being imperfect-and the naysayers
rapidly changed their attitude.
Many clients and interpreters only
associate RSI with online platforms, but
RSI has a much more friendly side: RSI
hub networks. In fact, RSI services can
be delivered through hubs or over online
platforms. The following aims to shed
some light on the differences between
both work environments for interpreters
so they can make an informed decision
to best serve their clients or to accept or
decline an assignment.

HUBS AND RSI PLATFORMS:
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
The main difference between a "hub
environment" and "RSI platforms" is
that hubs are a "controlled environment"
that replicates most of the features
of a traditional interpreting setting.
Although the interpreter is not there,

American Translators Association

25


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The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020

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