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The Evolution of Interpreting

The Evolution of Interpreting

Posted on: January 22, 2024 by admin

For centuries, interpreters have been key in facilitating conversations across languages, with some accounts even dating interpretation back to the ancient Egyptians. As times change and technology develops, the way interpreting functions has transformed. This blog explores the evolution of interpretation, from in-person interpreting to remote interpreting options.

The Genesis of In-Person Interpreting

Historically, in-person interpreting has been the cornerstone of cross-cultural communication. Modern types of interpretation — namely simultaneous interpreting — emerged in 1945 at the Nuremberg trials. From diplomatic negotiations to business meetings and medical consultations, on-site interpreters have been a vital link in ensuring that messages are accurately conveyed between parties who speak different languages. The intimacy of face-to-face interaction allows interpreters to pick up on non-verbal cues, cultural nuances, and contextual subtleties, enhancing the quality of communication.

However, in-person interpreting is not without limitations. Scheduling conflicts, travel expenses, and the need for physical presence can make it challenging to provide timely and cost-effective language services for individuals and businesses. As the globalised world demands faster and more efficient communication, a new era of interpretation has emerged.

The Digital Revolution: Birth of Remote Interpreting

The digital revolution has brought forth many opportunities for innovation in various industries and the interpreting sector has been no exception. The concept of remote interpreting emerged, powered by technological advancements in telecommunications, internet connectivity, and audiovisual technology. This shift has enabled interpreters to bridge language gaps without being physically present at the location where the communication is taking place.

Here are some common types of remote interpreting, as well as some exclusive services offered by Speak Your Language:

  • Telephone Interpreting is an early form of remote interpretation, where communication is enabled over the phone. This has proved to be a convenient solution for scenarios where face-to-face interpreting is impractical. It can be ideal for medical consultations, financial transactions, emergency services and more.
  • 3-Way Telephone Interpreting is a service offered exclusively by SYL. This type of interpreting allows for our in-house experts to dial out and engage both parties in telephone interpreting, without both speakers needing to organise the call in the first place. It is ideal for those uncertain about how to set up conference calls and can be used for situations from complex business negotiations to personal conversations.
  • Interpreting Message Delivery is also an SYL exclusive service. This type of interpreting allows our team of interpreters to work as a message delivery system, taking the message from you, translating it and relaying it to your client, and receiving their response, translating it back and passing it along to you. This system allows for seamless communication between two parties.
  • Video Interpreting has marked a significant leap forward in the evolution of interpretation. High-speed internet and reliable video platforms have enabled interpreters to offer quality remote services, which maintain the visual element that is crucial for accurate communication.

The Global Impact of Remote Interpreting

As remote interpreting continues to gain traction, its impact has reverberated globally. The ability to access language services from anywhere with an internet connection has made it more accessible to a broader audience. In the realm of international diplomacy and business, remote interpreting has facilitated seamless communication across borders. Global conferences, negotiations, and collaborations became more efficient, with interpreters able to work from their home base, eliminating the need for extensive travel and logistical arrangements.

Challenges and Considerations for Remove Interpreting

While remote interpreting has brought about undeniable benefits, it also presents its own set of challenges. Technological glitches, such as poor internet connectivity or audiovisual issues, can easily and drastically disrupt the flow of communication. The absence of physical presence sometimes causes a challenge for interpreters as they try to gauge the full context of a conversation, potentially impacting the accuracy of their interpretation. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the security and confidentiality of remote interpreting, especially in sensitive fields like legal or medical interpretation. Striking the right balance between technological convenience and the need for privacy is a crucial consideration when weighing up the pros and cons of in-person and remote interpreting.


Overall, the evolution of interpretation from in-person to remote methods reflects the dynamic interplay between technological advancements in the ever-changing landscape of global communication. While traditional in-person interpreting has its place in some settings, the flexibility and accessibility offered by remote interpreting have transformed the way language services are delivered. Utilising the vast services of companies like Speak Your Language enables you to successfully facilitate cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication, whether operating face-to-face or remotely. Contact us today to open up a new world of communication between you, your clients, and the world.