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In many education or training courses, e-learning and more specifically teaching via web conferencing is current practice. Would it be possible to integrate this kind of teaching in conference interpreter’s training courses, so that trainer and trainees take part in a web conference and practice simultaneous and/or consecutive interpreting? Do you have any experience with this method? I would be happy to read your answers. You are welcome to answer as well in French or German.

asked 24 Jun '12, 12:57

Solveig%20Rose's gravatar image

Solveig Rose

edited 29 Jun '12, 05:06

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Dear Selveig Rose, Yes it is possible to teach interpreting with web conferencing tools such as the ones you mentioned. In fact interpreters can also coach each other via the web. During the "Interpreters-for-Interpreters" Workshop in Berlin on July 13th we are going to show how easy it can be. All you need on either side is

  • a strong internet connection,
  • a computer
  • a headset or earphones
  • a microphone
  • Skype, WebEx or other software for teleconferencing purposes
  • Audacity or other software to record and replay the original and the interpreted version.

Nacho's list of recorded conferences for practicing interpreting which can be found under Recorded conferences or presentations for practising simultaneous interpretation gives us many useful websites to explore for teaching and training purposes.

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answered 24 Jun '12, 16:06

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edited 26 Jun '12, 01:44

Angela's gravatar image


My personal position: I am still a little bit skeptical. Technical requirements are immense and there must be sound quality en par with conventional conference facilities. It may be hard to achieve in many cases. Student/teacher interaction is slower as not as quick and spontaneous, and discussions are much more difficult to conduct.

But, most importantly, a good teacher should create a certain vibration in the classroom: a mix of alertness, presence and enjoyment. The very physical presence in the same room with a teacher is a learning experience. It may be hard to achieve over the wires.

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answered 02 Mar '14, 16:36

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov

You've just watched "Whiplash", haven't you? ;-)

(26 Mar '15, 09:27) William White

I have been lately training consec via Skype and it worked really well. At ISIT (Paris) we usually organize face-to-face training sessions with classmates having compatible language combos. These training sessions have become essential for us. In the summer period, when everybody is back home or abroad for an internship, Skype is a very useful tool which allows us to keep on working at a steady pace!

However, I'm not sure if I would change face-to-face lessons for on-line lessons. It may work in the case of simultaneous interpreting, as we could consider that the teacher is somebody from the audience and the student could pretend he or she is in the booth. However, in the case of consecutive, I think teachers need to see in person how students look, move, take notes, etc.

But this is just my humble opinion! ;)

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answered 18 Jul '12, 15:07

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edited 18 Jul '12, 15:09


I personally don't think you could EVER do without face-to-face classes for an entire curricula! Skype and the likes of it are useful only for a specific, once-in-a-while occasion, it would be a very bad idea to make it the rule instead of the exception...

(19 Jul '12, 05:51) Fiona

I fully support the use of online tools in the classroom, but I wonder about teaching consecutive or simultaneous interpreting to students who could otherwise not do it because of their location. Even if they do make it through the program and learn the necessary techniques successfully, are they aware that they will eventually have to move to one of the major conference interpreting hubs to get work? International organizations try to hire local interpreters as much as possible, and private market clients also tend to favor interpreters based in major cities. Another point: the importance of networking should not be underestimated in our profession, since most of us are freelancers. One of the advantages of attending an in-person program is that you get to know very closely a broad network of more experience colleagues.

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answered 26 Feb '15, 12:16

Anyuli%20In%C3%A1cio%20Da%20Silva's gravatar image

Anyuli Ináci...

In the MCI programme of Glendon College at York University, which is described at the link below, I teach the first-semester course in French-English interpreting entirely on line. It works very well. Although I still prefer the atmosphere of a real classroom in some ways, the on-line method makes this possible for many people who otherwise could not do it because of their location. Regards, James Nolan

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answered 08 Apr '14, 08:54

jamespnolan's gravatar image


Also see more discussion here:

I personally doubt remote CI teaching is a feasible idea because it is very difficult to establish rapport online and a set up to practice simul online seems very complicated.

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answered 27 Aug '14, 20:55

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov

edited 29 Aug '14, 21:12

I haven't personally been involved in any remote teaching, though it is a fascinating subject. I think, assuming that the connections are good, that for learning a specific skill or as an event that doesn't replace the entire curriculum, or even as a way of practicing when everyone has scattered to the four winds for vacations, that it would be very good.

What concerns me more than the post-degree period and getting work is the replication of stress and teaching teamwork. If the entire class is remote and you don't have anyone with you physically, this would be difficult to do. The EU remote classes seem to replicate the stress well, as it looks like you are still in front of your local peers while also having the added stress of performing for non-local peers and for EU staffers. But teamwork is also a huge part of our job, and teaching that without having at least one teammate physically in the same space as you would be very difficult.

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answered 27 Mar '15, 07:29

JuliaP's gravatar image


I don't know the specifics of it, but I do know that the European Commission organizes virtual classes whereby the trainers are in Brussels and the trainees elsewhere. Get in touch with me if you want me to look into it.

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answered 17 Jul '12, 06:36

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Hi Fiona, g'day! I would like to discover more about those virtual classes by European Commission. I had a look on their website and it does not mention anything about it. Would you have more information about this? Many thanks, Jonas

(25 Jul '12, 22:35) Jonas

Hi Jonas, I have never actually done any of these classes, but according to the information I was given, if a university or interpreting course asks for it and provided that the technical conditions are met (so we're not talking just skype, here, I reckon), virtual classes can be organized by establishing a link between the university and the Commission, with Commission interpreters giving feedback. Are you a teacher yourself? Hope this helps. Fiona

(26 Jul '12, 05:59) Fiona

Hi Fiona and Jonas,

I've taken part in a few of those videoconference classes run by the European Commission. I described the experience in my blog post "A Closer Look at Distance Learning":

I should add that as far as I know, the technical requirements are pretty high (and pricey), as you need the full videoconferencing set-up, so not all schools will be willing or able to participate.

Hope this helps,


(24 Aug '12, 05:32) Michelle

To be noted: the EU virtual classes do not comprise a complete online training program or anything similar. They are part of cooperation with universities, and offer the students of collaborating institutions the chance to interpret for and get feedback from EU interpreters.

(26 Mar '15, 20:14) Luigi
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question asked: 24 Jun '12, 12:57

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