Videoconference combined with instant messaging
So far, videoconferencing standards (i.e. ITU-T H.320 used with ISDN lines, or H.323 on IP networks) have not met the technical requirements for simultaneous interpretation as specified in the ISO-2603 standard and in the Code for New Technologies adopted by a wide range of professional conference interpreters.
Conventional videoconferencing facilities have video quality and audio bandwidth limitations, which is why simultaneous interpretation cannot be provided for oral interventions from remote locations (i.e. where interpreters are not physically present). Some new-generation videoconference equipment, based on the standards for video (H.264) and audio (AAC-LD) now dramatically improves the overall quality but it remains far below the required level.
DG interpretation can provide interpretation for an interactive videoconference when "broadcast quality" equipment and adequate communication lines (satellite or broadcast IP terrestrial with "Quality of Service" guarantee) are available.
In some instances, however, when only conventional facilities are available, if participants in remote locations are passive most of the time (i.e. they are following the proceedings and wish only occasionally to put questions or make comments), an "instant messaging" software tool can provide some form of interactivity. Interventions from remote locations are sent as written messages via the Internet to a workstation located where the interpreters are. In the meeting room, the questions that appear on the main computer screen are read out and interpreted. In this way, simultaneous interpretation can be provided to remote locations (provided that the necessary audio channels are available remotely).
Among the several instant messaging tools, "chatting" tools are best. Normal e-mail software cannot be used because of the delays introduced by mail server store-and-forward mechanisms. Some forms of instant messaging systems, like those compliant with T.120 also offers additional features like application sharing and white board and file transfer.
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