International Symposium: Bilingual Videoconferencing in Legal Settings
(Paris, 21-22 January 2016)

Reports will be available soon.


Videoconference interpreting (VCI) means that an interpreter is involved in a communicative situation in which the clients are at two (or more) different locations that are connected via video link (e.g. interpreting in court-prison video links). The interpreter is co-located with one of the primary participants. Remote interpreting (RI) refers to a communicative situation in which all clients are at a single location, whilst the interpreter is at another (remote) location and linked to the clients via video link (e.g. remote medical interpreting). Both VCI and RI can be combined, leading to multi-point videoconferencing.

Videoconference technology is used in connection with both spoken-language and sign-language interpreting and across different fields of interpreting including business, conference and public service or community interpreting (see also more detailed definitions).

The practice of video-mediated interpreting is not new but has increased and diversified in recent years through technological innovation and evolving demand, but also as a result of cost-cutting in public services.In line with the variety of forces that drive this development, video-mediated interpreting is often perceived as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, its use as an alternative to onsite interpreting raises questions about interpreting quality and communicative dynamics as well as broader questions concerning the training and skills required of interpreters and their clients in video-mediated interpreting, the interpreters’ working conditions and the clients’ perception of the interpreter. On the other hand, video-mediated interpreting clearly opens up new opportunities for gaining or optimising access to interpreters; meeting linguistic demand; increasing the efficiency of interpreting service provision; and maintaining the sustainability of the interpreting profession.

The viability of both VCI and RI has been the subject of much debate. While some see these forms of interpreting as ways of speeding up communication processes and providing timely access to qualified interpreters, others are concerned that they will have adverse affects on the interpreters’ working conditions and the quality of interpreting. Research conducted to date has generated mixed results

Research into video-mediated interpreting has analysed the quality of the interpreter’s performance and a range of psychological and physiological factors associated with this method of interpreting; the dynamics of participant interaction; and the strategies that interpreters develop in relation to video-mediated interpreting. In addition, video-mediated interpreting has been investigated in terms of efficiency gains compared to onsite interpreting. The knowledge about video-mediated interpreting gained to date has been instrumental in advancing our understanding of its complexities and has begun to inform policies and to improve the practice of video-mediated interpreting (see research). Research will help to develop viable solutions for video-mediated interpreting.

This website does not advocate the use of video-mediated interpreting. Its aim is to provide a point of reference for work in this field. It documents the results of relevant research, provides links to ongoing and completed projects in this area and makes available results including project reports, research publications and materials for training.

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