Taskforce on Distance Interpreting
The representative focal point within AIIC for all forms of distance interpreting
New information and communication technologies have brought about paradigm shifts in most professions and conference interpreting is no exception. With the advent of teleconference and remote interpreting, the field of conference interpreting is undergoing a seismic shift akin to the technology-enabled dawn of simultaneous interpreting itself. Notions such as remote speakers (teleconference), remote interpreters (remote interpreting), "virtual presence", "virtual booths", "virtual teams", "virtual co-location" challenge the very nature of what traditionally has been known as conference interpreting, potentially making concepts such as regions, professional addresses etc. redundant.
AIIC’s Taskforce on Distance Interpreting (TFDI) was set up in recognition of the fact that these new interpreting modalities affect all members of the association, and indeed the very notion of conference interpreting itself. The TFDI provides a focal point within the association on all DI-related matters, with consultative and coordinating functions.
The TFDI, in collaboration with the other AIIC groups represented therein, is at the forefront of AIIC’s response to the new paradigm: gathering evidence-based information on the proliferation of distance interpreting (DI) in its various forms, articulating an Association-wide position and providing members with guidance and guidelines for working in various DI modalities.
The TFDI provides advice and assistance to AIIC members and groups, regions, and in particular to AIIC’s Executive Committee on policy decisions concerning technical, physiological, psychological and practical aspects related to distance interpreting. The established AIIC values of teamwork, quality, interpreter wellbeing and a firm commitment to the promotion of multilingualism underpin the DI guidance offered by the TFDI.
The TFDI is made up of representatives of the following groups: Freelance Interpreters ; Consultant Interpreters; Staff Interpreters; the Technical and Health Committee; the ISO Group; the Training and Professional Development Committee; the Sign Language Network; the Research Committee; the Advisory Board; ExCo.
The TFDI coordinates joint DI activities with the Technical and Health Committee and the Research Committee in particular. It is the aim of the TFDI also to coordinate regional DI activities in the future.
The TFDI has undertaken innovative research in the field of DI, with an AIIC-wide survey of members’ engagement with DI modalities. Given the pace of technical and societal change, this will need to be updated in the near future.
Further research is also needed into DI impacts in real-life situations with quality, health and wellbeing as paramount. The TFDI can, in consultation with the THC and the RC, propose areas of further research. Evidence-based findings from research can be used to underpin future guidelines and recommendations.
Awareness-Raising and Outreach
The TFDI provides a platform whereby AIIC’s voice can be heard at DI-interpreting related workshops, conferences and other events worldwide. It is also crucial for the TFDI to engage with members on DI issues, providing them with the necessary toolkit for accepting RI offers or negotiating with employer organisations whilst adhering to AIIC core values and encouraging AIIC consultant interpreters to form RI teams in accordance with AIIC values and guidelines .
However, much more needs to be done. Many members – particularly in Europe – have never even been asked to work remotely, don’t know if they “should” and don’t know what to do if asked. Many AIIC consultant interpreters are reluctant to organise meetings remotely as they don’t know how to or are concerned about the negative connotations. Non-AIIC stakeholders don’t know AIIC’s position on RI or who to engage with on RI issues.
Hitherto the TDFI has worked through remote meetings and virtual discussions. However, given the increasing importance of DI, alongside technical, societal and environmental developments (including the Covid-19 pandemic), the TFDI will also be holding annual face-to-face meetings, in addition to developing other activities to support AIIC members, groups and regions.
The TFDI leads and coordinates the DI debate within AIIC, promoting AIIC values of teamwork, quality, interpreter wellbeing and a firm commitment to the promotion of multilingualism.
Photo: Shalamov / iStockphoto
TFDI in action