From ASL to Zapotec: The Challenges and Opportunities of Video Interpretation for Sign Language and Rare Language Communication
Did you know there are an incredible 7,111 spoken languages in the world today1? However, more than 90% of these languages are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people2.
For rare-language speakers, video interpretation opens up a world of possibilities, allowing them to communicate, connect and thrive in diverse communities, breaking down language barriers and fostering inclusive communication.
That sum does not include Deaf or HoH individuals who communicate using sign language. According to The Gallaudet Research Institute, there are around 1,000,000 Deaf people in the United States3. For these individuals, video interpretation is a critical tool that bridges a significant gap, enabling them to communicate effectively and participate fully in a world predominantly designed for spoken language.
Let’s take a deep dive into the landscape of video interpretation, uncovering the challenges and seizing the opportunities it presents.
Benefits of Virtual Interpreting
In today’s globalized world, language barriers can often pose communication challenges. However, with video interpretation, bridging language gaps has become more accessible and cost-effective. For example, virtual interpreting allows people to connect with individuals who speak rare languages without the need to physically fly them over, opening up new opportunities for communication and collaboration. It also offers improved accessibility, particularly for the Deaf and HoH communities who may otherwise struggle to access services.
Virtual Interpreting can help you:
● Talk to rare language interpreters anytime, anywhere: With virtual interpreting, you can connect with interpreters who speak rare languages, no matter where you are or what time it is.
● Save money and hassle: Virtual interpreting is cost-efficient and hassle-free. You don’t need to worry about booking flights, hotels, or dealing with logistics. Just connect online, and you’re good to go!
● Start interpreting sessions in a snap: Forget about complicated protocols. Video call your interpreter through any platform you choose.
● Find the perfect interpreter: Virtual interpreting gives you the freedom to choose the interpreter that best fits your needs. SInce you’re not limited to interpreters in your local area, you can find the perfect interpreter with the right qualifications and experience, ensuring high-quality interpretation and effective communication.
● Flexibility and convenience: Virtual interpreting offers flexibility and convenience to both interpreters and clients. Interpreters can work from anywhere and clients can access interpretation services at their preferred time and location.
● Connect with specialized interpreters: Virtual interpreting allows you to connect with interpreters who have domain knowledge in specific fields like medical, legal, technical or business interpreting.
How Does the VI Booking Process Work? It’s simple. >Contact Ad Astra and book a virtual appointment at a time that suits you and meets the interpreter’s schedule. Then, meet your interpreter during your scheduled time using your desired video calling platform.
Challenges in Virtual Interpreting
Despite its many advantages, video interpretation can also come with its own challenges.
One major challenge is reliable internet connectivity, which is essential to prevent issues like lag, freezing or dropped calls. To prevent this, you can use a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi, close unnecessary applications that consume bandwidth and choose a location with a strong internet signal.
Another challenge can be using a device that supports video calls. Outdated or incompatible devices can cause technical issues and interruptions during video interpretation. However, with the increasing affordability and accessibility of smartphones, this is becoming less of a problem.
Dealing with time differences is another common issue. Coordinating video interpretation sessions across different time zones may require extra effort. The key here is to plan ahead and be flexible whenever possible.
Interpreters may also face challenges with difficulty hearing or seeing the speaker, especially for signed languagesor when the speaker speaks too fast, not allowing enough time for the interpreter to comprehend and translate the sentences. Technical difficulties like poor video and audio quality can further aggravate the problem. Additionally, having a bad microphone or being in a noisy environment can make interpretation challenging.
Lack of preparation for the session can also pose a challenge. Adequate training for interpreters on the specific video interpretation platform, including its features, settings and troubleshooting techniques can help overcome this challenge.
Mastering Virtual Interpreting: Best Practices for Effective Communication
Where there are challenges, there are opportunities. Let’s start with best practices on the interpreter side of things.
1. Tech it up: Make sure you’re using appropriate technology, like a reliable computer or phone that’s up to the task. You want to avoid any technical hiccups interrupting your session.
2. Get a clear view: Position yourself in a way that gives you a clear picture of the speaker. Seeing their facial expressions and body language can significantly enhance your experience.
3. Manners matter: Follow remote meeting etiquette, just like you would in person. Don’t interrupt the speaker and be sure to follow their instructions. Polite and professional behavior goes a long way!
4. Keep it quiet: Choose a quiet location to interpret from, where you won’t be interrupted by people speaking over each other or noisy distractions. A peaceful environment will help you stay focused and provide accurate interpretations.
5. Be prepared: Take the time to prepare for your interpreting session. Familiarize yourself with the topic, any specific terminology, and the platform you’ll be using. The more prepared you are, the smoother your interpreting will be!
6. Communication is critical: If you encounter any technical issues or need clarification on something, don’t hesitate to speak up. Clear communication ensures a successful interpreting session.
7. Take care of yourself: Virtual interpreting can be mentally and physically demanding. Take breaks, stay hydrated, and practice good ergonomics to prevent fatigue and strain.
If you’re the one hiring an intepreter, test your technology beforehand, be present and attentive (avoid distractions like checking emails or multitasking), speak clearly and at a moderate pace and pay attention to any instructions given by the interpreter.
What’s the Verdict?
While video interpreting may come with challenges, the benefits far outweigh them. Beyond the convenience of remote access, it also addresses the need for interpreters in rural and remote areas, where access to language services may be limited. Additionally, virtual interpreting expands the choices of interpreters beyond small linguistic communities, providing a more comprehensive range of language options for users.
Ready to experience the advantages of virtual interpreting first-hand? Contact Ad Astra now and unlock a world of communication possibilities! Our experts are ready to help anytime, anywhere.