Greg McEwan, head of Communications, Interprefy Greg McEwan, head of Communications, Interprefy
Dec 27


The industry has moved on, writes Greg McEwan, head of communications at Interprefy. As technology has disrupted travel, accommodation, music, film, so too has it transformed the interpreting sector. Interpreters are presented with a unique opportunity to benefit from this change. Here’s how.

1. Look for the right technology

Remote simultaneous interpreting is not actually new. Many companies ascended and then disappeared in a cloud of dust. This is because the technology was unable to provide interpreters with a platform to adequately provide their services at the same level as they would have done previously.

Don’t necessarily look for a large agency that retains interpreters. Their core focus is unlikely to be on RSI. Instead, look for the technology providers who power the RSI platform itself. Get to know the technology first and introduce yourself to the technology company so that training and guidance can be provided. In doing so, you’ll be sure to be in the best hands on the day of your RSI events.

2. Ensure you get the support you deserve

It’s the day of your event and suddenly you lose your internet connection. Or your boothmate (based remotely) is sick. To avoid this kind of stressful situation and to ensure you work as smoothly as possible, you’ll need to work with a RSI provider which can provide training but critically, online support prior to, and throughout, your events.

3. Do your due diligence

Your reputation matters. So you need to work with a company that shares your values. Do some market research to identify which RSI provider you will feel most comfortable with. Check reviews online. Look at which customers the technology provider has worked with in the past and ask your peers which the most reputable RSI providers are.

4. Rethink your business strategy

RSI removes the need for event and meeting organisers to hire booths and AV equipment as well as interpreters’ flights and hotels. The net effect is significantly reduced cost and administration. But none of this cost reduction is borne by the interpreter, making for a real opportunity to increase your revenue. You won’t need to be on the move. Instead, you can maximise your working hours by taking on several projects per week, rather than just one. Furthermore, if you’re based in London, for example, you’ll now be able to realistically take on projects in Sydney or Tokyo, meaning you can cast your net much further than you would have done before.

5. Make sure you are equipped with knowledge and technology.

The importance of doing some research on the RSI market before jumping in cannot be overstated. By mapping out the players in the technology landscape you’ll work out where you can best fit in and how you can maximise your revenue and build your reputation.

With RSI, you’re responsible for your own technology, so make sure you have a modern computer, a fixed and reliable internet connection, strong 4G signal and a landline phone as a back-up, as well as a quiet dedicated room or office. Ensure you train up on the technology and get to know it inside-out so you can work as smoothly with your booth partner virtually as you would in a traditional environment.