After a year marked by online experimentation in 2020, 2021 confirmed the growing maturity of a multilingual online event market. Here is a look back at a successful year and the “online” outlook for Colingua’s interpreters in 2022.
Due to the health crisis, our interpreters were forced to go online in March 2020 following the cancellation of all events. Our technical team quickly found online solutions to help our clients, especially those with legal obligations to organise general meetings and board meetings. The first solution offered was Zoom with the ability to provide remote simultaneous interpretation in multiple languages. For clients who wanted to avoid Zoom, we used Interactio, a platform already used by the European institutions and whose level of security satisfied even the most cautious clients. After a trial start in the spring, 2020 ended with a last quarter saturated with multilingual videoconferences: congresses, conferences, board meetings and general meetings.
2021 was a year of fast-paced execution. Clients who were unable to organise their events in 2020 made up for the delay the following year, with the result that the market was saturated on certain days. Colingua continued to grow in the online events market and participated in more than 200 videoconferences, in various forms: business meetings on Zoom, streamed conferences on dedicated platforms (e.g., for a film festival), collaborations with streaming and audio-visual companies (such as Moovizz), online live guided tours with simultaneous interpretation, an online competition between European architects in 4 languages, teams of interpreters at home or in our Brussels studios, the setting up of a room with a green screen (“green key”) to welcome our clients on a virtual stage, events in Belgium, but also with time difference in Seoul…
Remote simultaneous interpreting is here to stay, perhaps for health reasons, but also for practical reasons: reduction of travel costs, hotels, etc. The environmental aspect of reduced travel is not insignificant either.
Zoom has dominated the online simultaneous translation market in 2021 and will probably dominate it in 2022. The video platform has indeed corrected the errors of its youth and remains by far the most user-friendly solution on the market. The competition has been slow to wake up to the needs of the online interpreting industry: WebEx (Cisco) launched a new feature for online interpreting at the end of 2021, similar to Zoom. WebEx’s interpreting system seems reliable but will have to prove itself to clients who are now used to Zoom.
Colingua has already worked on several hybrid events with interpretation in 2021. 2022 will also be the year of hybrid events. Many clients will want to meet face-to-face, but not all will be able to. Hybrid solutions combining online and face-to-face participants will become more common and the costs will depend on many factors, most of which will be technical. There will be all kinds of possibilities for interpreters at a hybrid event: interpreters at home, interpreters in a booth in the meeting room (as in the past) or interpreters in an interpreting studio like the one we have in Brussels.