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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The covid-19 pandemic is a career shock for many people across the globe. In this article, we reflect on how insights from the literature on career shocks can help us understand the career consequences of the pandemic and offer suggestions for future research in this area. In particular, we offer three “key lessons”. The first lesson is that the implications of Covid-19 reflect the dynamic interplay between individual and contextual factors. Here, we argue that although the pandemic was difficult to predict and control, research shows that certain psychological resources – such as career competencies and resilience – could make this career shock more manageable. The second lesson is that the pandemic may have differential implications over time, as suggested by research that has shown the consequences of career shocks to differ between short-term vs. long-term time horizons, and across life- and career stages. The third lesson is that, even though the pandemic is clearly a negatively valenced shock for most people, further into the future it may allow for more positive outcomes. This lesson builds on research showing how negative career shocks have long-term positive consequences for some people. We hope that these insights will inspire both scholars and practitioners to study and understand the work and career implications of Covid-19 as a career shock, as well as to support people in dealing with its consequences.
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A sustainable career is one in which individuals enjoy at least a moderate degree of productivity, health, and happiness across their lifespan. To elucidate what people might need to learn to enhance their career sustainability, we depict a wide range of typical career- and home-realm challenges. Being in learning mode is proposed as a self-regulatory meta-competency that shapes self-directed learning regarding how to tackle sustainable career challenges. People are in learning mode when they hold a growth mindset as they cycle through relevant approach, action, and reflection experiential learning processes. Given the relative stability yet plasticity of mindsets, we offer a dual-process model of mindsets that highlights how people may be nudged in and out of learning mode, both momentarily and over longer time frames. We outline implications for sustainable careers and mindsets theory and research, as well as practical implications for organizations, management education, vocational counseling and peer coaching, and those striving to forge a more sustainable career.
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Orientation: This article addresses the interplay between individual agency and contextual factors in contemporary career development processes. In light of the prominence of the former in the contemporary scholarly debate, we present a case for a more comprehensive approach by heeding the latter as well. Research purpose: The main aim of this article was to provide a definition and conceptualisation of career shocks, as well as an agenda for future research on this topic. Motivation for the study: Most of the contemporary careers literature has overemphasised the role of individual agency in career development. While certainly important, we argue that we also need to address the role of context – in this case, career shocks – in order to gain a fuller appreciation of career development processes. Main conclusions and implications: We provide a definition of career shocks based on the existing literature related to chance events and turnover. In addition, we provide an overview of attributes of career shocks, potentially valuable theoretical perspectives and key issues for future research. Contribution: This article brings together several existing streams of literature related to career shocks and provides an integrative definition and conceptualisation. We hope that this will ignite future research on an important but often overlooked topic.
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During the last decades, information technology has played a central role in the language services industry. Translators and technical writers take advantage of dedicated software to reuse already translated texts, to adhere to a customer-specific corporate language, to grant terminology consistency, and so forth. The final goal is to increase quality and productivity. Even if information technology did not have the same impact on conference interpreting, also the profession is undergoing some changes. Computer-assisted interpreting (CAI) tools have entered the profession only in recent years, but other, more general resources had already influenced the way interpreters work. This is not only challenging the way interpreting is performed, but it may have an impact on the cognitive processes underlying the interpreting task, even on some basic assumptions and theories of interpreting, for example the cognitive load distribution between different tasks during simultaneous interpreting. Yet, the academic debate is starting to take notice of these changes and their implications only now. As a consequence, it almost failed to shed light on and address the challenges that lay ahead: there have been relatively few empirical investigations on the impact of CAI tools; interpreting models have not been adapted accordingly; the didactics of interpreting has received almost no new technologies in their curricula and no proposal has been advanced to increase the quality of CAI tools and to meet interpreters’ real needs.
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The relation between technology and translating is part of the wider question of what technology does to language. It is now a key question because new translation technologies such as translation memories, data-based machine translation, and collaborative translation management systems, far from being merely added tools, are altering the very nature of the translator's cognitive activity, social relations, and professional standing. Here we argue that technologies first affect memory capacity in such a way that the paradigmatic is imposed more frequently on the syntagmatic. It follows that the translating activity is enhanced in its generative moment, yet potentially retarded in the moment of selection, where the values of intuition and text flow become difficult to recuperate. The redeeming grace of new technologies may nevertheless lie in new modes of opening translation to thespace of volunteer translation, where humanizing dialogue can enter the internal dimension of translation decisions. The regime of the paradigmatic may thus be embedded in new modes of social exchange, where translation becomes one of the five basic language skills.
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This article seeks to present evidence for the pivotal role of multi-sensory integration in simultaneous interpreting. The lack of virtual presence has emerged as one of the major factors determining poorer performance in remote as opposed to live simultaneous interpreting. This deterioration of quality appears to be based in early onset of fatigue, which in turn seems to be a consequence of allocating additional cognitive resources to comprehension processes during simultaneous interpreting and therefore depriving other parts of the process, notably production, of the resources necessary to maintain a high level of performance during normal turn time.
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The article describes the aims, methods, conclusions and recommendations of a large-scale experimental study designed to evaluate the feasibility and implications of the use of remote interpreting (RI) in the European Parliament and other large multilingual settings, where the introduction of a growing number of languages requires the extension of existing arrangements. While the study reveals a relatively small impact on either the quality of the interpreting or interpreters' health and objective measures of stress, it nevertheless points to considerable psychological effects, including an increase in feelings of isolation and alienation. The study recommends greater use of technological support through the possible introduction of individually computerized workstations and a user-friendly working environment.
Despite the established view that investing in developing one's career competencies would lead to career success and employability, little is known about the role of career shocks (i.e., positive and negative unexpected career-related events) in this relationship. To examine the role of career shocks in the relationship between career competencies, career success and employability, we analyzed data from 704 Dutch young professionals (21–35 years). Results showed that young professionals who have developed high levels of career competencies reported higher levels of perceived employability. The relationship between career competencies and perceived employability was partially mediated by subjective career success (i.e., career satisfaction). Negative career shocks undermined the mediated relationship between career competencies and perceived employability, via early career success, whereas positive career shocks strengthened this relationship. This study contributes to the literature on employability by demonstrating that career shocks play an important role in young professionals’ early career development in tandem with career competencies and career success.
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.
Computers, electronic tools, new technologies – in other words, information and communication technologies (ICT) – have begun to impact profoundly on our daily lives, especially in these first years of the twenty-first century. The way of performing our work in every field has changed radically because of them. It is undeniable, however, that some professions have been affected to a larger extent than others. This difference provides the point of departure for a diachronic overview and then a synchronic study of this very important and relevant issue: the use of ICT in conference interpreting in its professional and training settings. Although there might still be a few luddites around, most CIs (conference interpreters) and CI trainers are now embracing ICT in their work.
CAIT (Computer Assisted Interpreter Training) is a relatively new field of Interpreting Studies which began to develop in the mid 1990s. The impetus behind CAIT is an attempt to exploit the multimedia capabilities of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance the teaching and learning of interpreting in various ways. The present feature article offers an overview of the three major approaches that have been developed within CAIT over its ten-year history. Integrative CAIT relies on digital speech banks or repositories to provide students with suitable materials for classroom use or self-study, with computers playing the twofold role of tutor and stimulus. Intelligent CAIT has flourished on the back of new dedicated authoring programs which enable interpreter trainers to easily create various types of exercises and provide trainees with tools to optimize the use of the available resources; in an environment where the computer plays the role of tool, intelligent CAIT applications incorporate new utilities to increase interaction between computer and users and to situate learning in more realistic contexts. The third approach, based on Virtual Learning Environments, seeks to exploit the opportunities offered by computer-mediated communication tools and make the teaching and learning of interpreting more immersive by applying aspects of simulation technology available in computer games. As the overview progresses, the reader is introduced to a number of state-of-the-art CAIT programs and applications.
While the independent contributions of synchronous and asynchronous interaction in online learning are clear, comparatively less is known about the pedagogical consequences of using both modes in the same environment. In this study, we examine relationships between students' use of asynchronous discussion forums and synchronous private messages (PM). We find that asynchronous notes contain more academic language and less social language, are more difficult to read, and are longer compared to PM. In addition, we find that the most active forum-posters are also the most active PM users, suggesting that PMing is not reducing their contribution to public discourse. Finally, we find that those who frequently PM are less likely to rapidly scan forum notes, and that they spend more time online than those who make less use of PM. We suggest that PM supports asynchronous discussions in the formation of a community of inquiry.
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.
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.
Best practices for interpreters during the Covid-19 crisis
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