This article was originally published on Linked In.
A year ago, 90% of all interpreting jobs were lost on this planet. Agencies were reporting losses in tens of millions of dollars. Now we are talking about the new normal, RSI (remote simultaneous interpreting) and VRI (video remote interpreting) have become a daily routine. What is going to happen next?
Interpreting (consecutively) for government agencies, public services, immigration centers and hospitals will continue growing. The current remote format is here to stay. Number of on-site interpreters will decrease. Artificial intelligence powered kiosks, chatbots, virtual assistants will become a commodity.
Next generation interpreting agencies will help clients customize their A I driven services. Their interpreters / language assistants will connect to the end-client over virtual kiosks when A I fails to finalize client inquiry.
2020 was the rise of interpreting platforms for simultaneous mode, 2021 will be their fall. Hundreds of millions of people use mainstream video conferencing tools. As more mainstream conferencing tools add interpreting overlays at no extra cost to their standard offering, clients will choose to remain on their favorite platform (MS Teams, WebEx, Zoom, etc.) and use the platform’s build-in interpreting features. Let’s be honest, two platforms for one meeting is too much. Just too many buttons and clicks to manage.
Mainstream platforms will also dominate hybrid meetings because they already have secure and trusted hardware installed at tens of thousands of locations. Users will simply enter any conferencing room / venue and they will have the option to invite the interpreters on-site or keep working with them remotely. Cisco and Zoom are top contenders for hybrid meetings.
Interpreter-specific solutions may find a niche if they revisit their licensing strategies and revamp their security protocols. Ideal scenario would be merging with a video platform, i.e. Hopin, Blujeans, Discord, etc. Some of the interpreting platforms have been violating confidentiality of international meetings by giving access to interpretation with a simple pincode. Meaning, anyone with the pincode can listen to your meeting, your rival, competition or the press. This was unaccetable and organizations who were desperate to find a viable solution during the lockdown are already looking for properly secured online meetings. The cost of a potential lawsuit will be unbearable.
Business hotels have been partnering with live streaming studios. This trend will exponentially grow and offer the interpreters a nice and comfortable – if not a luxurious – hub.
Interpreters at all competency levels will find new job opportunities from different time zones, as more organizations, hotels and event companies embrace the possibilities of online / hybrid meetings.
Text to speech capabilities will be aiding interpreters in terms terminology look-up and audability enhancements.
Live captioning, automated, manual and post-edited captions will continue growing as well as sign language interpreting. Both of them have critical importance in terms of hosting accessible meetings.
Thank you for reading my forward-looking statements. I will hugely appreciate your comments and feedback.