The Work We Do

Community Interpreting

Community Interpreting serves the basic needs of our communities and businesses. According to Hale , community interpreting is a broad label to cover all interpreting that takes place “within one country’s  own community”. Community interpreting covers settings such as hospitals, courtrooms, immigration office, social services organizations, schools, and others where members of a community need to interact. There are two main specializations in community interpreting: medical and legal interpreting.

Community interpreters  mostly deliver their services in the consecutive mode, but also need to master the (simultaneous) whispered mode, also called chuchotage. It is the client and the context that determine whether whispered or consecutive interpreting is required. Relying on interpreters working in teams switching every 30–50 minutes is recommended to cover long stretches of time. 

Community interpreters have been reached by digitalisation before conference interpreters began to feel the impacts of what is also commonly called the 4th revolution. The search for already available solutions at the inception of Interpreter Commons as Interpreting Think Tank back in 2017 showed that the medical industry had vouched for the development of dedicated, company-restricted solutions (e.g. for a healthcare company) to allow their patients to be attended by a professional interpreter from the distance. 

In her university paper “Video Remote Interpreting’s Acceptance in Medical Settings” (link  paper M. Belén Watkins) ,  M Belén Watkins, translator and interpreter, analyses  and groups 5 VRI related studies carried out between 2003 and 2015 under providers and patients to provide insights into  the interpreters’,  patients’ and providers’  preferences with regard to in-person interpreting to phone or VRI. M. Belén Watkins had the welcome initiative to  share her comparison paper with the Translation Commons LinkedIn Interpreting Think Tank, in a truly collaborative spirit of commons.

We encourage Community Interpreters to share their insights, papers, or publications with our Community of peers:

 Explore this site’s How to collaborate and section for further information

Conference Interpreting

Conference Interpreting is often wrongly referred to as simultaneous interpreting, though some conferences also include the consecutive mode, which on some occasions might prove to be even more demanding for the interpreter than the simultaneous mode. 

Used in conferences and high-end meetings, there is a lot of glamour associated with conference interpreting, but the reality is that this job can also be very demanding and stressfull.

Whilst Community Interpreters have delivered Remote Interpreting via telephone (OPI) since the 1970s, conference interpreters are only now being confronted with new players and providers of new simultaneous interpreting equipment as well as the subsequent enhanced competition and changing working environments.

We encourage conference interpreters to share their insights, papers, or publications with our community of peers, either:

  • Join the LinkedIn Group Interpreting Think Tank 
  • Become a member of Interpreter Commons (register at Translation Commons), thus being able to take part in the discussion forum 
  • Write a user report and publish it under this site’s  Guest Publications
  •  Explore this site’s How to collaborate and section for further information

Remote Interpreting

Remote Interpreting (RI) and Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) are two different products of technological developments. Remote interpreting can be done through video, or telephone and is very common in sign language and medical interpreting, it is less common in court interpreting but very much in use for depositions and other quasi-legal encounters.

RSI and Remote Video Simultaneous Interpreting (RVSI) represent the spear point of recent technological advancements for the interpreting profession. Hence, it might seem anachronistic to include Over the phone  interpreting (OPI), in the list of RI modalities, but the good old telephone actually is the cradle of the Remote Interpreting, and broadly used  in Community interpreting settings (medical, business).

Interpreting using VOIP (voice over internet protocol) is now common place in our profession. The advent of web Real Time Communications (webRTC) along with other technological developments in the sound, video and recording  industries allowed for the development of new platforms for the delivery of human simultaneous and consecutive interpreting services through the Cloud . 

There are many players on the market right now and we will refrain from rating them and invite you to try as many as you can.

We encourage Interpreters with user experience in remote interpreting to share their insights, papers, or publications with our Community of peers in the Linked in Group Interpreting Think Tank and to explore this site’s What & How section for further information.


Photo credit: 070719-N-9421C-030 -DA NANG, Vietnam (July 19, 2007) Ñ Lt. Cmdr. Leila Williams, attached to Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, awaits a response from an elderly Vietnamese man after communicating to an interpreter at Nai Hiem Dong Ward Station. During the medical civic action program, members of Pacific Partnership 2007 work together to provide medical and dental care for local residents. At the invitation of the government of Vietnam, the Pacific Partnership deployment exemplifies the U.S. commitment to working together with the Vietnamese government and the regional community to provide medical, dental and engineering support programs to the region. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kerryl Cacho (RELEASED)