The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020 - 37

feed from the floor, and how to run the
system and supervise my teams.
Consequently, during the lockdown, I
quickly turned to remote simultaneous
interpreting (RSI) platforms, which all have
a lot in common. I tried out 10 of them
and made my choice based on streaming
quality and stability, confidentiality, and
user experience design for both interpreters
and users. I can now provide remote
interpreting from my home studio or from
a hub located in Nice.
Clients and users still rely on the true
expertise of professional interpreters that's
required to make international events a
success. Let's not forget that platforms,
hubs, and web apps are just tools exactly
like portable interpreting equipment and
booths. No more no less.

GIO LESTER
gio@giolester.com
www.GioLester.com
I started the transition to remote interpreting
in 2017. It was the first time I was trained
on a platform. I've also participated
in training for other interpreters,
demonstrations for potential clients, and
actual interpreting on a volunteer basis
(training for me). It was exciting!
Since then, I've become familiar with
other platforms. This month I had my first
job assignments: an arbitration, an interview,
and the most recent was a conference with
attendees from all over Latin America and
speakers from the U.S. and Latin America. I
had no issues other than a pain in my outer
ear from the headphones. The padding on
the earpieces was not enough to prevent the
discomfort. Other than that, interpreting
remotely has been a piece of cake!

GABRIELLA SUZANNE VANZAN
gsvanzan@fastwebnet.it
www.linkedin.com/in/gabriellasuzannevanzan
Italian conference interpreters have been
severely impacted by the coronavirus
crisis due to our government's ban on all
conventions. In addition to citizens not
being allowed to leave their homes (except
out of necessity), here in Italy many socalled nonessential activities had to stop
during the lockdown, leading to a sharp
economic setback.
Before the crisis, the market was still
dominated by traditional onsite conferences.
With the crisis, conference interpreting
www.atanet.org

was obliterated. Even institutions of the
European Union have had to drastically
reduce the amount of interpreting they offer.
The pandemic has accelerated the increased
use of RSI, pushing many professionals to
take this path with a minimum amount of
technical equipment.
Almost all European (as well as
international) associations of conference
interpreters have drawn up guidelines,
recommendations, or position papers
(mostly referring to the International
Organization for Standardization's "ISO/
PAS 24019-Simultaneous Interpreting
Delivery Platforms-Requirements and
Recommendations" regarding intrusion
detection prevention [IDP] platforms).
These guidelines specify that RSI can be
justified only under emergency conditions
and that it still presents too many risks
related to sound quality (e.g., acoustic
shock), quality and stability of the internet
connection, power shortages, high cognitive
load, technostress, liability (disclaimer!), as
well as data protection and security (e.g.,
General Data Protection Regulation).
After having tested (and still testing)
many IDP platforms, I've chosen to work
from network hubs. In my opinion (as well
as for most, if not all, European conference
interpreter associations), hubs are the
solution that come closest to conventional
onsite interpreting, allowing conference
interpreters to work under safe conditions
and in compliance with ISO standards and
assisted by sound technicians. The number
of these platforms is rapidly increasing in
Europe. Hubs can use dedicated systems,
IDP platforms, or web conferencing
platforms depending on the customer's
needs and preferences. Customer
education is always crucial in this area.
There has been no Europe-wide survey
of just conference interpreters, so there's no
way to know the extent of the shift from
conventional interpreting to RSI or the
increase in the latter. Toward the end of this
year (depending on whether there's a second
wave of the virus), we'll be able to better
understand the longer-term consequences
of the coronavirus crisis for the Italian and
European conference interpreting market.

LORETO P. ANSALDO
lpansaldo@gmail.com
www.lpansaldo.net

I've worked as a community interpreter,
translator, and language justice practitioner
for the past four years. My focus is
supporting local social justice communitybased organizations and grassroots efforts.
The shift to remote interpreting has been
made easier by the generosity of colleagues
around the world who have shared their
knowledge through webinars, social media,
and blog posts. Like many, I've attended
countless presentations and practice
sessions, for which I'm grateful. The
language justice community has also come
together to learn, create resources, and
organize in our networks.
I primarily interpret on Zoom. Hacks
are needed, but it's a financially accessible
option. I added the webinar feature to my
personal Pro account to play around and
learn collaboratively with my interpreting
partners, and I've made my account
available to organizations as needed. I've
also learned the basics of VoiceBoxer (thank
you Seven Sisters at www.7sisterslearn.
com!), but have not interpreted on there
yet. An essential part of this process has
been supporting community members
and organizations to navigate the new
technologies. This commitment requires
time and intention, but it's worth it.
From my perspective as a translator, I
marvel at the ingenuity of the interpreters who
responded to my query and at the speed with
which these changes are taking place in the
world of interpreting technology. While I'm
sure this change is painful to some (a change in
something you love is always painful), it seems
to me so much less painful than the long and
protracted process that translators went through
to accept technologies like translation memories
and other computer-assisted translation tools.
Remember, if you have any ideas and/or
suggestions regarding helpful resources
or tools you would like to see featured,
please e-mail Jost Zetzsche at jzetzsche@
internationalwriters.com.

Jost Zetzsche is chair of ATA's
Translation and Interpreting
Resources Committee. He
is the author of Translation
Matters, a collection of 81
essays about translators and
translation technology. Contact: jzetzsche@
internationalwriters.com.
American Translators Association

37


http://www.GioLester.com http://www.7sisterslearn.com http://www.7sisterslearn.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/gabriellasuzannevanzan http://www.lpansaldo.net http://www.atanet.org

The ATA Chronicle - July/August 2020

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