Simultaneous on Zoom

August 18, 2020

Working on the simultaneous mode via Zoom

Remote interpretation is here to stay. A few years ago, I was attending a conference in San Francisco about interpretation and its future. Interpreters from all over the world discussed the feasibility of remote language interpretation in lieu of in-person interpretation. Back then, very few could imagine that most of us would have relatively easy access to technology that would allow us to work remotely from home. Nobody imagined that a few years later the entire world would be working from home.

When the pandemic started, my colleagues and I were panicking about the possibility of being out of work for months. Then, Zoom appeared in our work scene like in every other profession imaginable. Zoom introduced its simultaneous interpretation feature in December of 2019, but I wasn’t familiar with it until March of 2020. The concept of simultaneous remote interpretation via this platform is very convenient and because of Zoom’s popularity and ease of access, it is a good solution to providing language interpretation to attendees that require this service.

It has some glitches

Though not perfect, it works. If you follow the instructions carefully. The Zoom’s simultaneous interpretation feature is basically a parallel channel that broadcasts the interpreter’s voice simultaneously to those who want to hear the meeting in a different language in real-time. There are still glitches to this feature. It doesn’t work with all devices such as Chromebooks or if you join a meeting through your web-browser. Once the feature is activated by the host, all the meeting participants MUST pick their language of choice, if they don’t they won’t be able to hear each other. When participants skip this step they can inadvertently create a delay in the meeting. Delays affect efficiency and many times hosts give up on the idea of using the feature. Despite its flaws, simultaneous on Zoom is worth the try.





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