Interpretation Industry Trends for 2018

Interpretation Trends 2018:
Questions and Answers with CETRA’s Interpretation Services Manager

Interpretation trends 2018 with Robin Smith
Robin Smith, Manager of Interpretation Services, CETRA

Interpretation services is a growing market, and new technologies have been hitting the market in a flourish over the past few years.  As we look ahead, Robin Smith, CETRA’s Manager of Interpretation Services, provides some perspective to this evolving field and interpretation trends for 2018.  She has directed interpretation projects and services at CETRA for more than five years, and recently attended the 6th InterpretAmerica Summit.  While the full report from the conference is slated for publication later this year, following are some initial takeaways and additional industry perspective from Smith.

Q: What are some of major trends in the interpretation services field?
Robin:  Interpretation services are constantly evolving , and technology is moving the field forward at a rapid pace. As such, client expectations are changing in the market for greater accuracy and efficiency.  One particular area is that the market is increasingly demanding Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) in all sectors.

Q: What are some challenges?
R: One of the challenges is educating clients on the industry and available technology, including greater awareness of services and training opportunities.  For a Language Service Provider (LSP) and clients, the cost of Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI) and VRI technologies are coming down with increased user friendliness.  However,  there is a continued challenge with latency, which is more of a challenge on the video end. Technology companies should run diagnostic tests.  This was raised at the InterpretAmerica conference.

In addition, providers of OPI and VRI need to be mindful of clients’ privacy especially working with medical information by providing appropriate security protocols, high encryption standards, and HIPAA annual audits, etc.

Q: Any perspective from the interpreters end on OPI and VRI?
R: At CETRA, the feedback we receive from interpreters is that they are concerned about the quality of interpretation in the OPI/VRI format and the possibility of unqualified interpreters coming into the pool of resources and artificially lowering market rates.

Q: How can these challenges be addressed?
R: It will be important for all stakeholders to work together to improve interpretation technology platforms to ensure OPI and VRI services succeed.  In addition, it will be key to professionalize remote interpreting and develop guidelines for VRI and OPI.

Q: Where does this leave LSPs?
R: The recommendation at the recent InterpretAmerica conference was that LSPs should review and test any new VRI platform for six months to ensure it meets their needs and the expectations of clients.  However, the window of opportunity is open to educate the market.