From On-Site to Remote Simultaneous Interpreting

There is no doubt that interpreting practice has changed throughout the years, social and technological circumstances have converged into landmarks in the life of interpreting: The Egyptian trade around 3000 BC in which the consecutive method of interpretation was used; the Nuremberg trials in 1945 when the first official simultaneous interpretation occurred; and now we can pinpoint the pandemic disease.

The truth is that COVID-19 has won its place as another turning point in interpreting services, like in many other spheres, it forced us to change. Until 2020, these services were traditionally divided into consecutive or simultaneous, and occasionally as on-site or remote. On-site interpretation was the standard method in which an interpreter would go to the premises of a conference, meeting, or wherever facilitating communication was needed. However, in the light of COVID-19’s circumstances -lockdowns, social distancing, and what we all know about the aftermath of the pandemic- interpreters were there to adjust. Accurate communication between cultures in Zoom, Meet, and many-other platforms became an increasing demand. Thus, interpreters had to make a quick U-turn and remote interpreting became the standard.

The conference room’s booth was replaced with remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) online tools. These were making their first steps into the market but, like most other digital tools, they were plunged into the market and forced to improve in record time. Some of the RSI tools we have used at Baquero Translations were: Interactio, Interprefy, Ulang, to mention a few. As interpreters always do, we also managed to provide remote interpreting from streaming platforms, which are not specifically developed to carry out interpreting services like Zoom, Meet, WhatsApp, and so on.

We are not sure if RSI will remain the standard since most people agree that face-to-face interaction is essential, but the truth is that for event organizers RSI has saved a lot of money in terms of logistics. They don’t need to rent interpreting equipment (booth, headsets, mics, etc.), they save on travel expenses to take both interpreters and speakers to the conference premises, they save on the rent of the venue, coffee breaks and so on.

Before COVID-19, interpreters were used to working at their client’s premises, while now, they work from home. This means that like many other people they are doing home-office with little interaction between their colleagues or clients. However, the main difference with other jobs is that sound is of paramount importance in interpreting; thus, it is a must to have the mics and cameras on all the time, which simultaneously requests a quiet place to work and avoid home noise. Despite of the resistance to adapt to the new “stay-home” model of work, the pandemic vanished the need for the interpreter to be physically present and made the interpreting market much faster, affordable and competitive. At Baquero Translations, we provide remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) for successful communication in your events.

By: Juan Andrés Baquero

What really happened at G20 Trump’s Conference Interpretation?

From November 30th to December 1st, the 2018 G20 Summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At this summit, leaders agreed upon important documents for the economic, financial and political cooperation of the countries. Despite its paramount political importance, we will focus on a communication issue that concerned many people around the world: the interpretation of the welcome speech for Donald Trump.

When the U. S. President arrived in Argentina, he met Mauricio Macri before the beginning of the summit. Both said some words publicly to the media. The President of Argentina started by welcoming Trump.

Surprisingly, Trump suddenly tossed the earpiece all presidents use to listen to the interpretation in their native language and expressed: “I think I understood you better in your language than I did on this. But that’s okay”.

It is essential to pay attention to his exact words “…than I did on this”. The interpreter, however, rendered her interpretation as “I think I understood you better in your language than I did on the interpretation”.

Maybe this choice of words was made from a humble position and the interpreter ended up putting the blame of the awkward moment on her own. In fact, when interpreting, interpreters need to make decisions very quickly and in this case, it backfired on her. But the truth is that there was a technical issue and the earpiece was not actually working correctly.

Fortunately, the Argentine Association of Conference Interpreters (ADICA) explained that there had been a technical problem with the earpiece. A clear evidence of this can be seen on the US Embassy website, where the transcription of this meeting has been posted (check https://ar.usembassy.gov/remarks-by-president-trump-and-president-macri-of-the-argentine-republic-before-bilateral-meeting/). In this official transcript, readers can clearly notice that the US President said: “on this”.

Of course, we can also start debating about the exact reference: is Trump referring to the earpiece or to the interpretation? Nevertheless, “on this” is already a big difference of what had been previously spread in the media.

Interpreting is a serious profession carried out by professionals who may make mistakes; however, it is essential for international cooperation and for spreading knowledge in business meetings, conferences, negotiations, press conferences, and so on. This is another professional service you can get at Baquero Translations.

By: Andrea Chetti