Since the onset of the coronavirus, UN interpreters have had an especially hard time tackling the challenge of operating online. Mediating simultaneously across 6 different languages (Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, French, English, and Russian) is no easy feat–certainly made no easier without equipment, coworkers, and workspaces. Surely nothing compares to in-person interaction, but online interpreting doesn’t come without its own benefits.
Online Interpreting Isn’t Without its Struggles
Distractions, sound quality issues, internet connection – things we’re all having to deal with in meetings and classrooms – become huge obstacles in interpreting, a job heavily dependent upon clarity. In international diplomacy, easy slip-ups like mishearing “can” and “can’t” can come with disastrous consequences. Furthermore, especially in the context of U.N. meetings, undivided and continuous concentration are a must–but try telling your kids that, or worse, your neighbor’s dog. And yet, the U.N. and its interpreting team are finding its ground. Though Chief of French Interpretation Veronique Vandegans struggled in switching from the office to her apartment, “it quickly became apparent that we could adapt [to online interpreting], given the proper equipment, testing and training.”
All Alone in Online Interpreting
Interpretation for the U.N. is too high-stakes of a responsibility for one person, so the job is usually done in teams of 2 or 3. It’s far too complicated to just move online, like a Zoom meeting or say, switching to English classes online. Catching what one person missed, pulling up important documents, switching roles–all these must happen in a matter of seconds for a successful job well done. But Covid-19 has forced interpreters into the environment of communicating remotely AND simultaneously with both clients and coworkers. Online interpreting has proven itself very different from the regular job.
Online Interpreting is a Chance to Hone Interpreting Skills
Which is exactly why many interpreters, for the U.N. and beyond, are taking this time to improve themselves to step up to the challenge. They’ve noticed a silver lining: by removing the need for travel and commuting, online interpreting has actually given interpreters more of what they’re always concerned about: TIME. Many have taken the chance to hone their abilities, focusing on all sorts of fields like language training courses for business, high-level English courses online, and so on. And what better time is there to do so? Interpretation is a multi-faceted skill that covers many spheres of life, and is constantly expanding. And training online makes it all the more accessible. From training in education, law, corporate language training and more, the avenues are as endless as the need for interpreters.
Online Interpreting has a Positive Outlook
As work slowly returns for us all, adaptive measures in online interpreting will allow for greater flexibility, and create more possibilities. Mr. Pickles, a member of the U.N.’s English Interpretation Team, has a bright outlook, realizing that interpreters “will return with a new set of skills – remote interpreting – that could be useful for business continuity purposes in the event of future unforeseen circumstances.” This is true for all professional fields, opening up opportunities for language training for employees, corporate ESL training–all sorts of avenues to improve communication and understanding in the workplace.
The amazing flexibility the U.N. has shown these past few months has more than exemplified the great need for interpretation, and not only at the diplomatic level. Communication is vital in every sphere of professional life, so whether it be corporate English training or employee language training, let us at Language Connections improve the spheres of communication in your business.
About Language Connections:
Language Connections is one of the top language service companies in the US. Over the last 30 years, we’ve focused on providing the best business translation services, interpreting services, as well as interpreter training and customized language training programs. In addition to top-tier corporate language training, we offer certified corporate interpreters and professional business translation services in 200+ languages. Our network includes linguists with backgrounds in all major industries. They’re ready to meet your needs, whether they’re for technical translation services, legal translation, government translation services, international development translation services, education translation services, life sciences translation, or something else. Reach out to us today for a free quote on our cost-efficient and timely translation services, interpreters, or other linguistic services.
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