Colingua: multilingual videoconferences
As a translation and conference interpretation agency, Colingua has been hard hit by the health crisis. Determined to fight back, the company based in Liège has adapted its range of services, mainly by offering an online translation solution. Colingua proposes tools that help their clients organize their virtual meetings in several languages at the same time. We talk to Colingua CEO, Jo Colaris.
What impact has the crisis had on your sector?
J.C.: “An enormous hit. The sector closed down completely a few days before the borders between countries closed. We have lost 95% of our usual work, which is mainly linked to the organization of events.”
In the meantime, a whole range of videoconferencing platforms have emerged.
J.C.: “Indeed, companies have learned to communicate remotely thanks to videoconferencing tools such as Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams or Zoom. The problem for our clients is that these platforms are not really designed for meetings in different languages at the same time.”
What solution have you come up with?
J.C.: “Colingua offers an online remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) system that includes an interpretation system on different channels (English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian…), video streaming, document sharing, recording, a voting system, etc.”
Does that mean your clients have to learn how to use a new platform?
J.C.: “Not necessarily. Our solution is compatible with the most popular videoconferencing platforms such as Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams… We also have an app so that our interpreters can be heard on a smartphone.”
Is online interpretation the future of your profession?
J.C.: “Remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) is an alternative to presence-based interpretation. The technology that makes online simultaneous translation possible offers an excellent solution in the context of the Covid-19 crisis: some of our international clients need to get together with their staff and clients to proceed with their projects through teleworking, and our team of interpreters quickly found solutions for online simultaneous interpretation without jeopardising the quality of the service provided. This online service will open up new opportunities for our clients, who may otherwise be reluctant to take a flight for a two-hour meeting as well as contracting interpreters on top of that. They can now arrange their business meeting in several languages right from their offices. Nevertheless, we are convinced that people will continue to want to see their colleagues and clients, and that the standard format of presence-based meetings with interpreters working from booths will not disappear.”
Interview translated from a French original published on CCI Mag