How Interpreting Services Have Evolved Since the Pandemic

April 16, 2021

Language support has become essential for businesses when connecting with audiences across the globe. Interpreting is one aspect of this service, facilitating multilingual verbal communication. This blog explores interpreting services; first looking at its history and how it started, then reviewing its importance in today’s changing world.

Interpreting helps your business communicate with other cultures across the world. Even during a pandemic, the prominence of global virtual events has needed interpreting services to break down language barriers. But what is the future of interpreting, and what is going to happen to remote services in a post-pandemic global world?

Interpreting: A bit of history

Historically, the act of interpreting was for intercultural mediation. In the colonization of the Americas, Malinche, an Indian woman, helped the Spanish Empire to communicate with natives through consecutive interpretation. Another example is the Nuremberg trials, where simultaneous translation of multiple languages was required to support the communication between defendants and judges for the crimes committed during the Holocaust.

Interpreting services make real-time connections possible between different cultures and languages. It provides a crucial link that helps share academic research, solve immigration problems, or close international trade deals, and it has been proven that, even in COVID-19 times, interpreters are indispensable. These days the development of technology has created new tools for professional interpreters and made these services more accessible and cost-efficient.

The effect of the pandemic

The global lockdown forced significant change on interpreting services, putting at risk thousands of positions, specialised in face-to-face interpreting. Fortunately, the boundaries between the real and digital world disappeared further with the global pandemic and, with new technology, businesses have been able to continue to reach a wider audience. The language industry adapted to this new climate and its restrictions, and, according to Slator’s report, last year, more than 55% of language firms grew, with the total volume of business growing as well.

Although at the beginning of lockdown, thousands of interpreters lost their jobs, companies regrouped and started to organise virtual events, offering new ways of interpreting. Videoconference technology provided a wide range of options. Thanks to high-quality camera resolution, microphones, and free tools, like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Google Meetings, interpreters have continued to deliver their service remotely. With freelancers now being able to work from anywhere and, without travel time, they saw more availability in their agenda and an increase in the opportunities available.

Furthermore, the lack of set-up costs for conference interpreting, including the interpreter cabins and its communication equipment, is another expense that is no longer required. Remote interpreting, therefore, offered cost and convenience advantages for businesses too.

Remote interpreting options

When communicating with your client remotely, there are the options of telephone or video conferencing interpreting. Telephone interpreting connects you to a skilled and experienced interpreter over the telephone within minutes, efficiently supporting the verbal communication between you and your clients. If you prefer the benefits of a more visual approach, video conference interpreting offers the convenience of telephone interpreting with all the benefits of an interpreter in person. Video interpreting provides the visual, non-verbal clues, such as facial expressions and body language, adding a deeper understanding between participants. Although telephone interpreting is a quick and convenient solution, without this visual contact, subtle clues in the conversation may be missed.

The future?

The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of virtual and hybrid events; how they present new opportunities to engage with a broader audience, and how the digitalisation of the language industry can support international events in multiple languages. It is likely that businesses will continue to use digital tools for their language needs post-pandemic. As restrictions ease and companies can choose between a range of interpreting services, both digital and face-to-face, the cost-efficiency and ease of remote interpreting suggests they will be more popular than in pre-Covid times.

Mission Translate has more than 20 years of experience in the translation industry, and has an extensive, international network of professional linguists, available for your needs. Please  contact us if you’d like to chat about which service best fits your needs. Our team at Mission Translate will be pleased to assist you.

By Encarna Núñez

  • US: +1 (347) 391 0672

European Office:

Kandoy House, 2 Fairview Strand, Dublin 3, D03 R8P3

  • EU: +44 (0) 121 296 9870