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Remote Simultaneous Interpretation in Pre and Post- COVID-19: An Overview of the Profession Revisited from Sectoral, Ethical, and Pedagogical Perspectives

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Chapter
In the last decades of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first century, the different fields of interpreting have experienced various degrees of evolution in their professional status depending on the type of interpreting and on the country, and in many cases even on the region of a particular country.
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This article reviews recent remote interpreting (RI) experiments carried out at the United Nations and European Union institutions, with emphasis on their salient technical features, which are also summarized in the Appendix. Motivations for remote interpreting with minimum technical requirements for sound and image transmission in compressed form as well as the methods used in recent experiments for image capture in the meeting room and display in the remote room are discussed. The impact of technical conditions upon interpreters' perception of remote interpreting is also examined using questionnaire data, which seem to suggest that the interpreters' visual perception of the meeting room, as mediated by image displays, is the determining factor for the “alienation“ or absence of a feeling of presence in the meeting room universally experienced by interpreters under RI conditions. The paper also points out the advantages of a more coherent research methodology based upon the notion of presence in a virtual environment as well as possible innovative approaches to providing the interpreter with meeting room views.
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This paper is based on an empirical study of teaching liaison interpreting - specifically, dialogue interpreting, consecutive interpreting and sight translation - by distance mode. In this research, two groups of students were recruited - the experimental group to be taught by distance mode and a control group trained face-to-face. The training program lasted for 13 weeks or 39 hours, with three contact hours per week. The training followed the principle that no face-to-face contact with distance students was made during the training process, including the final examination. The major media used in the research included sound-only teleconferencing, telephone and the Internet. Students' interpreting skills including language transfer and paralinguistic skills were assessed in different tests including an independent national test. The results of the research indicate that students trained by distance mode can achieve a level similar or comparable to those trained in the face-to-face manner in terms of interpreting ability and skills. The research has generated pedagogical implications for future attempts to teach interpreting by distance mode.
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