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Removing the Language Barrier with Vonage and Interprefy

This article was published on April 21, 2021

Interprefy, the world’s leading cloud-based remote simultaneous interpretation technology and services provider, delivers simultaneously translated conferences and meetings with highest quality thanks to the Vonage Video API. Whether at the venue or remotely, Interprefy and Vonage connect conference topics, speakers and interpreters worldwide.

Laptop showing online event platform

Imagine the scenario of Paul, an interpreter working a panel discussion in Geneva. A few minutes before the discussion begins, Paul is as focused as the CEO of the Chinese tech company, whose arguments he is to translate with high precision and in real time. Within fractions of a second, simultaneous interpreters like Paul must both understand what is being said in Mandarin and deliver the appropriate translation into English. Maximum concentration is required, along with the highest sound quality. This is especially key in a tonal language such as High Chinese, where a change in tone also changes the meaning of the word, so audio transmission is essential for comprehension.

Manage multilingual events online or on-site with Interprefy

Marta is pulling the strings in the background of the Geneva conference and now follows on the screen what is happening on the stage in front. The first speaker can be seen and heard via video transmission. A few moments later, an English voice-over in Mandarin, which is now quieter, is superimposed on the original sound in crystal clear quality. Paul's translation is not only played back to the conference participants on site via headsets, but several dozen listeners and viewers have also joined in online. To ensure that the multilingual event runs as smoothly as possible, the organizers have chosen Interprefy, the world's leading cloud-based solution for simultaneous interpreting. Interprefy is a web solution for online meetings, face-to-face events, supervisory board meetings, workshops, press conferences or panel discussions. Interprefy can be used on the PC via a browser or a native application for iOS and Android, and connects participants and interpreters at multilingual events locally and around the world.

High audio quality without delay thanks to Vonage technology

Interprefy's technical infrastructure for voice and video transmission is based on Vonage's Video API. This allows developers to easily integrate live audio and video functionality into websites and mobile apps while delivering audio using the latest high-frequency technology with ultra-low latency (delay). 

"For simultaneously interpreted events, such as those enabled by our platform, excellent audio quality without latency is of paramount importance," said Andrey Schukin, CTO of Interprefy. "And it was here that Vonage came out on top when we looked for a technology partner. The Opus codec used was the latest and complies with the ISO standard for simultaneous translation, which requires that the frequency range at which the translator hears the speech be between 0 and 20 kHz.”

Scalability, Data Protection and Cross-Device Compatibility

Interprefy was also impressed with the ease with which the Vonage solution can scale from small meetings of five people in one location to large events with 10,000 attendees around the world. Last but not least, the audio and video signals are transmitted via encrypted server structures and meet high security standards that far exceed DSGVO requirements. The Vonage API also abstracts the most important WebRTC functions in a way that ensures cross-browser and cross-device compatibility (e.g., for iOS mobile devices under Safari) while providing detailed access to all audio parameters. Access to these parameters enables the highest professional requirements to be met.

Engage interpreters from all over the world

In addition to Paul, 100 other interpreters will translate into 13 languages at the conference in Geneva. Marta is glad that they did not have to be flown in specially to sit in cramped translator booths with jet lag or to work from hidden side rooms. They are simply integrated into the event online via Interprefy. Using the Vonage platform, the voices of the speakers are fed into Interprefy's translator interface in real time and at the highest sound quality. Through the moderator interface, Marta controls which translator is online when and in which channel. The original sound is clear and without any time delay, and the loud interpretation arrives at the conference participants on site and online participants around the world.

Interpreting services at conference level

"For some events, 15 to 20 languages are required at the same time, on average 6 to 8 for events hosted by us," says Schukin. "It can be a great advantage for the organizers if travel and hotel costs and translator booths are eliminated. Interprefy can provide professional conference interpreters for each event, for the required language combinations and subject areas. Or, alternatively, organizers can bring their own interpreters and use the technology provided by the intuitive platform. During the transmission, the conference participants select the desired language from a list of languages in the video. A first-class translation is then recorded on their device, with a latency of almost zero. Before, during and after the event, the Interprefy team provides the organizers with various services such as interpreter training, remote support and usage reports.”

Suitable for both large and small events

The combination of online and offline is particularly advantageous for the organization of large events: For example, when a technology giant invites you to a conference. "This event required more than a hundred interpreters to translate the sometimes highly complex technical content into 13 languages. What was presented and discussed in lectures, panel discussions, breakout sessions and workshops, they made accessible to German, English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Turkish listeners," Schukin explains. A logistical masterstroke that was easily accomplished via the Interprefy platform. Interprefy is also used for smaller events such as press conferences at sporting events.

After 15 minutes of simultaneous interpreting, Paul is able to take a break as his colleague easily takes over the job. Marta changes the channel with a mouse click. The Interprefy platform is a blessing not only for her as the organizer, but also for the entire interpreter team. In a study, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified conference interpreting as the third most stressful profession in the world, right behind jet pilot and air traffic controller. Paul goes into the kitchen and makes himself a cup of tea. Before he continues in an hour, he will take a little nap on his sofa at home.

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