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Interprefy on digitising event translation

by Nicola Macdonald

Greg McEwan, head of communications at Interprefy, tells EN about how the company is changing the event interpretation game.

What is Interprefy?

Interprefy provides remote interpreting for events and meetings. Its platform revolutionises simultaneous interpreting by replacing old hardware with a cloud-based solution so that interpreters can deliver their services without needing to be onsite. Meanwhile, event participants can simply listen to the language of their choice through their smart phones. Because you don’t need to fly in interpreters, pay for hotels and organise for interpreter booths to be installed, event managers can enjoy the stress-free and cost-effective premium service offered by Interprefy without compromising on quality.

How did the company get started?

When our CEO, Kim Ludvigsen, worked in business development at Swiss Post, he saw how many events required interpreting services in order to ensure understanding among the Swiss national languages: French, German and Italian. Kim found the technology being used was very old-fashioned and the proprietary equipment to be both cumbersome to transport and expensive to rent. He reckoned that – in a similar way to other communication services – simultaneous interpreting could be dramatically improved by using standard IT hardware and by implementing state-of-the-art Internet and smartphone technologies. Today, five years later, Interprefy is a consolidated business with a global reach and a dedicated management team.

How does it work in practice?

Because interpreters can work from anywhere, events with interpreting no longer need to be organised months in advance and we’re used to clients with constantly moving agendas and ever-changing language requirements. It’s no problem for us because we work with the biggest language service providers globally to ensure we can find the right conference-level interpreters for a particular event, not only with the right language combinations but also a specialist knowledge of the sectors, if needed. Interprefy provides training to interpreters on its platform and technical support is provided prior to, and during, an event. All that is required when it comes to set-up is a laptop with a WiFi connection, microphone and camera. Alternatively, we can ship a specialised piece of hardware roughly the size of a shoebox. The interpreters, based remotely, will work in real-time and event attendees can simply download the Interprefy app, select the language of their choice and listen to their native language through headphones.

How do you tackle potential connectivity issues?

Prior to an event we will assess the connectivity, the approximate number of users and we always have a backup plan. It’s surprising how little bandwidth we require. But in cases where the Wi-Fi connection really isn’t adequate, we can provide radio headsets.

What kind of events do you work on??

Interprefy works for any format – small meetings, online meetings, exhibitions with people event joining remotely, breakout sessions and large conferences. We recently completed a single event which involved 102 interpreters! We work with some of the world’s most recognised brands, associations and international organisations. We have offices around the globe and, because we can source interpreters with any specialist subject areas, many of our customers have events in niche sectors, from pharmaceuticals to insurance and so on.

What sets Interprefy apart from the competition?

Interprefy is solely dedicated to remote simultaneous interpreting. While other companies include RSI as a bolt-on or have diluted their offering, we have invested a huge amount in developing a solution that is reliable and that interpreters like to use.

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