First-time posters: please review the site's moderation policy

Hello everyone!

I have a situation where there are one or more interpreters simultaneously interpreting a remote speaker to remote listeners.

The event is also interpreted on site into several languages. Due to the fact that all interpreters are volunteering, not all of them can translate the original language (Norwegian) well enough to interpret directly so they listen to another interpreter (German, English). For the same reason it is not always possible for all interpreters to be present on site.

What is in use now is a skype conference, but this makes things complicated due to the fact the original sound must be sourced from another device, as well as annoyances like constant bandwidth problems, dropouts, etc..

What we are now looking for is a PC/Mac based software that would offer the following features (in order of importance):

  • Must be open source/free or at least low cost
  • Have an "origin" where we could feed in the needed streams (Original, 1-2 other interpreters)
  • The "server" would need to be able to take inputs from multiple sound cards for example
  • The interpreters need to be able to select the origin they want to listen to + its relative volume
  • Server must handle the distribution of streams, not the interpreter (due to the fact the we can host the server in a place with plenty bandwidth but no one of the interpreters can host a large enough skype conf on their line)
  • The interpreters must be able to control the relative volume of their own voice
  • The interpreters must be able to turn mute on or off independently of other interpreters on the same line, while the other(s) must see their mute status
  • Built in recording capabilities are a plus

I have googled far and wide and have not stumbled upon anything even remotely supporting this capabilities, and would be very grateful for any ideas!

Since I cannot add comments yet I will answer the questions here:

What about video requirements?
It may be a special case but I have no video requirements due to the fact that all of the speeches are transmitted via a private satellite program, that I can view anywhere I have a satellite dish. That is the same reason why I stated above that I am able to get the audio from a different device (TV) but it makes everything complicated for the interpreter in the setup phase.

Skype won't do. The frequency response must be stable and range from 124 Hz to 12,5 kHz
Yes, i agree but considering the whole thing is on volunteer basis, this is the best we were able to come up with. Do you have a skype like solution with better quality/freq response?

You say the interpreters must be able to control the relative volume of their own voice. Where and why?
None of us is a professional/educated interpreter so I do not what the standard is but some of the interpreters participating like to have an "echo" of what they talk into the mic, but as very varying volumes, thus they need to be directly able to control the volume of that echo relative to the original voice.

Edit 2: Since I still don't have the right to comment I will write a few additional things here.

First off I would like to thank all who answered/asked questions. I have gotten many great ideas as to how I can proceed and how I might be able to improve our current situation.

My advice ... spend some money on flying in qualified paid interpreters. With untrained volunteers and Skype it is doubtful whether it's worth bothering trying to organise interpreting at all.

  1. Yes it is worth bothering as we already have a very positive feedback. We just wish to improve on the service we are currently delivering.
  2. Money: The organizer of the events will not (let's not discuss why, it is a unrelated issue/discussion) support us financially, thus making the viewers responsible for covering any expenses. There are not many (less than 20) viewers and hiring a translator for ~40 days a year to translate 2-6 hours a day is not in the range of realistic.
  3. Interpreter availability: I doubt there are many professional interpreters that do Norwegian <-> Slovenian, so getting one for 40 days a yer might prove a hard and/or expensive task.
  4. Time: Since about 20 of those 40 days are quite evenly spaced out through the year it is not reasonable to expect any of the volunteers to travel to each of the events even with all costs covered. If nothing else it would start to conflict with their day jobs, not to mention their normal/family life (minimal travel time is about 6 hours one way).
  5. Qualifications: No, none of us is a professional interpreters but we all speak both languages on a native level, and have been interpreting for a few years already. In addition to that we have intimate knowledge of the language and constructs used, that might be hard to interpret for someone not familiar with it while still maintaining the intended meaning.

But "quality" and "free" don't rhyme - For the most part I agree with you but especially in the software world this is not alawys the case :)

It's like asking a surgeon to operate with a rusty scalpel. - Yes, that was kind of the point of my question. At the moment I have the rusty scalpel and am butchering around, while at the same time trying to organize better tools/conditions.

No competent colleagues I can think of will accept to work in that lousy conditions (i.e. Skype) - Possibly slight misunderstanding: Skype is used for sending the interpreters voice only, so the ones that have to put up with bad quality are the viewers. The interpreters are currently sourcing the original audio from a high quality satellite transmission.

Again thanks to everyone!

asked 30 Dec '13, 10:53

KillerX's gravatar image

KillerX
23115

edited 01 Jan '14, 15:09

No solution, but additional questions: - You list only audio requirements on your list. What about video requirements? An interpreter who cannot see the speaker won't be able to deliver. -Skype won't do. The frequency response must be stable and range from 124 Hz to 12,5 kHz. - You say the interpreters must be able to control the relative volume of their own voice. Where and why?

(30 Dec '13, 11:27) Angela ♦

That's a rather ambitious wish-list! But "quality" and "free" don't rhyme. If you want it free, it will be poor for interpreting purposes (as you've discovered with Skype). If you want quality, someone will want paying for it. You could have a look at this... http://www.zipdx.com/showcase/multilingual.php but I very much doubt it's cheap but it would appear to be one of very few options for what you are trying to do.

My advice... spend some money on flying in qualified paid interpreters. With untrained volunteers and Skype it is doubtful whether it's worth bothering trying to organise interpreting at all. Sorry!

permanent link

answered 01 Jan '14, 13:00

Andy's gravatar image

Andy
6.7k212739

Due to the fact that all interpreters are volunteering, not all of them can translate the original language (Norwegian) well enough to interpret directly so they listen to another interpreter (German, English). For the same reason it is not always possible for all interpreters to be present on site.

Nowadays, there is no (cheap) technical workaround allowing to do quality remote interpreting. In all settings my fellow colleagues who have volunteered, have been flow-in. For the success of any event, it is important for organizers to understand that some expenditures are vital. Budget plans need to include flight tickets, housing, and per diems for interpreters.

No competent colleagues I can think of will accept to work in that lousy conditions (i.e. Skype). It's like asking a surgeon to operate with a rusty scalpel. You got to guarantee minimal working conditions or they won't be able to make the difference.

Even the most grass root organizations do pay tickets for volunteer interpreters based in Europe to fly to Asia or Africa.

permanent link

answered 30 Dec '13, 18:16

G%C3%A1sp%C3%A1r's gravatar image

Gáspár ♦
6.6k141829

edited 30 Dec '13, 19:34

I agree. I do not know of any remote interpretation systems especially web based that would be ISO compliant for sound quality. If you are interested why, here is a more technical explanation. http://www.ata-divisions.org/ID/remote-simultaneous-interpreting/ Hiring high quality onsite interpreters is the best option.

permanent link

answered 16 Jun '16, 23:36

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov
566259

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here

By RSS:

Answers

Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:

×41
×24
×20
×17
×15
×12
×2

question asked: 30 Dec '13, 10:53

question was seen: 1,999 times

last updated: 16 Jun '16, 23:36

interpreting.info is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

about | faq | terms of use | privacy policy | content policy | disclaimer | contact us

This collaborative website is sponsored and hosted by AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters.