Best practices for multilingual virtual hearings

Legal & Finance

Virtual hearings

Social distancing and Covid-19 have changed many aspects of our day-to-day lives, including the experience of going to court. Over the past year, virtual hearings have emerged as a valuable solution for ensuring the continuity of the arbitration process when physical hearings are impossible.

Many countries, including the UK, have encouraged the use of virtual hearings whenever possible in order to reduce the spread of the virus. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different interpreting services available for virtual hearings and some of the key points to consider when organizing a multilingual virtual hearing.

Interpreting for virtual hearings

Virtual hearings are an especially good solution when it comes to international cases, as witnesses and other parties are likely unable to travel. Just as you would hire an interpreter for an in-person hearing with witnesses who do not speak English, interpreting is equally important when it comes to virtual hearings. Several solutions are available to ensure that your hearing runs smoothly and all participants have a clear understanding of what is being discussed.

At Acolad, we have over 25 years’ experience in supporting our clients with their legal translation and interpreting needs. Technology is at the heart of what we do and we are constantly working to innovate and adapt our services. In order to meet the growing need for multilingual virtual hearings, we offer a range of remote interpreting solutions that can be adapted to best suit you.

Let’s take a look at some of the available remote interpreting solutions:

Simultaneous vs. consecutive interpreting

When deciding on an interpreting solution for a virtual hearing, it’s important to decide which format would best suit your needs. Simultaneous interpretation happens in real time and without interruption. In the case of consecutive interpreting, the interpreter listens to the speaker while taking notes for around 5 minutes, then the speaker stops and the interpreter repeats what has just been said into the target language.

Remote simultaneous interpreting makes it as if all of the hearing’s participants speak the same language. Interpreters simultaneously retransmit the speaker’s words using an interpreting platform, and participants can listen in their desired language. Technical support can also be provided with these solutions, so you don’t need to worry about the set-up.

Remote consecutive interpreting also takes place via traditional videoconferencing or webinar platforms. Don’t have time to handle the logistics? We offer turnkey solutions and take care of the technical aspects, so you can focus on your case.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

By now, most of us are familiar with using video calls for meetings and other events. It is also a great choice for remote interpreting, as it is often more interactive than a phone call and provides the interpreter with the opportunity to see the speaker’s expressions and body language. This type of remote interpreting is often referred to as VRI, or video remote interpreting. VRI is performed in consecutive mode: the interpretation is performed after the speaker has finished speaking.

Over-the-phone interpreting (OPI)

Over-the-phone interpreting is another possible solution for multilingual virtual hearings. While there are many benefits to video remote interpreting, perhaps your client doesn’t have access to a reliable internet connection and needs to connect to the hearing via a cellphone or landline. In this case, interpreters will be able to assist with over-the-phone interpreting, or OPI. In case of a choppy internet connection, phone interpreting can be the best option as any delays or connection issues can make it harder for the interpreter to do their job. OPI is performed in consecutive mode: the interpretation is performed after the speaker has finished speaking.

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI)

For remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI), specific technology solutions are required as multiple language channels are necessary to allow the interpretation to be performed simultaneously in multiple languages. An RSI platform that allows each participant to select the language they want to listen to the meeting in. With a RSI platform, multilingual meetings can be run via the RSI platform itself that reproduces all functionalities of traditional web-conferencing-tools (e.g., screen sharing, moderator function, chats) or the connection/integration of the RSI platform with your preferred web-conferencing-tool. Additional configurations are possible, our target is to select the most appropriate solution for you balancing costs and performance.

Remote interpreting technology

Whether your firm has a preferred platform or you would like us to select one, we can help with all of the technical aspects of your virtual hearing. Thorough preparation, including testing before the event, is essential for good interpreting. If needed, a technician can be available during your hearing to quickly resolve any technical issues you might encounter. While organizing the hearing, you may also identify the need for breakout rooms so you, your client, and the interpreter can discuss privately. This is something that can be handled by Acolad’s technical team.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is another key aspect of virtual hearings. We offer the option of NDAs and ensure that all data is hosted securely. If you decide to use our platform for your virtual meeting or hearing, we guarantee compliance with the strictest security requirements for live audio and video streaming. Users log in to the virtual meeting via a secure token or event link created for each session. Streams are end-to-end encrypted and we make use of best-in-class security mechanisms: HTTPS, DTLS, SRTP. In addition, our technology is GDPR-compliant.

To conclude, remote interpreting is an effective solution for virtual hearings with participants who do not speak English. It can even be a good solution for in-person hearings, as it offers more flexibility and can help to reduce costs. There is a range of remote interpreting solutions available, and your language provider can work with you to determine which one would best suit your needs. Do you have a case that might require remote interpreting services? Our team would be happy to discuss it with you and answer any questions you might have.