3 Reasons Why Skype Translator Won’t Soon Replace Video Interpreting


remote-video-conference.jpgSkype Translator is very exciting for a number of reasons as the promise of real-time audio translation has incredible potential in both consumer and business settings. This technology is literally decades in the making and there are a number of players making significant investments in the technology. NTT Docomo released a “nearly real-time” voice translator in late 2011 and Google (of course) has developed a real-time translation technology with “near-perfect results”. As we all know in the interpreting world, “near-perfect” is exactly the reason why the technology won’t be able to be relied on for quite some time. Here are the top 3 reasons why real-time audio translation services won’t be able to match video remote interpreting in the near term:

  1. ‘Near-perfect’ equals inaccurate – one of the main challenges that current audio-only translation technologies face is their inability to accurately translate slang, casual language, dialect-related discrepancies, and regional speech patterns. Although accuracy levels have certainly improved over the last decade, the current limitations will impede adoption by organizations such as hospitals that need to provide time-critical and precise translation services. These limitations are expected to take many more years to overcome.
  2. The challenges of addressing cultural sensitivities – audio translation can be very effective in casual and consumer scenarios and will likely be an incredible technology for providing assistance during international travel situations and for connecting remote relatives and friends. However, evaluating and addressing cultural sensitivities and visual clues (such as body language and facial expressions) are critical for full comprehension and accurate translation of any given scenario, especially for those that are time sensitive or emergency-related. The risks of misunderstanding are simply too high with an audio-only solution.
  3. Audio-only solutions don’t work for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing – this is an obvious one and only in-person and video remote interpreting solutions provide viable alternatives for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

Microsoft’s Skype Translator service is a promising technology advancement and its application in consumer scenarios is incredibly exciting. It will be interesting to watch this space as competing technology providers race to perfect the translation accuracy of their respective offerings. Precision will remain their challenge for years to come, though, and will be a serious impediment for adoption in the world of interpreting, especially when compared to the currently superior video remote interpreting solutions available today.

Release v2.35: Bulk Processing of Interpreter Invoices & Payment Summaries

One of the biggest challenges that our customers face is the processing of large numbers of invoices and payments. In fact, one of our LSP customers recently told us that it can take up to three full days to process approximately 3000 jobs each month. We knew that we needed to offer functionality that would dramatically reduce this burden and we are pleased to announce that Interpreter Intelligence’s v2.35 release will include the ability to process multiple invoices and payments simultaneously. That three days of work will now take just minutes.

Bulk processing of invoices:
multiple_invoice_processing1.pngAs you likely know, there are two ways to deliver invoices to customers through Interpreter Intelligence: 1. by downloading a .pdf which can be printed and mailed, and 2. by directly emailing an invoice to a customer. Instead of downloading or emailing a single invoice at a time, the newly released feature set provides your Finance team with the ability to deliver multiple invoices simultaneously. The new functionality is quite straightforward and a user would start the process by searching for the invoices that they want to take action on. A number of filters are provided to enable the user to narrow down the list to only a targeted set. Invoices can be filtered by customer, date range, invoice status, billing address, and by a number of other versatile criteria. The resulting list of invoices that match the selected filter criteria are then displayed, from which the user can then select a single invoice, multiple invoices, or all invoices for processing. Once the invoices are selected, they can either be downloaded as .pdf files into a single .zip file (a convenient way to print multiple documents at once), or can be emailed automatically to the respective customer(s).

multiple_invoice_processing2.pngInvoices of a specific status can be selected for bulk updating and controls have been included that restrict invoices from being downloaded or emailed that do not meet the appropriate invoice rules. For example, if an invoice was already emailed to a customer, it will not be resent if it was mistakenly selected. Likewise, if a selected invoice was previously canceled or was not fully approved, it will not be sent out or downloaded. Rest assured that these rules will support your ability to process invoices most effectively while ensuring consistent communications with your customers.


Bulk processing of payments:

Similar to the new bulk invoice processing features described above, the most recent release of the Interpreter Intelligence platform enables Finance teams to also deliver payment summaries to Interpreters in bulk. The process for searching, filtering, and selecting payment summaries to be processed is exactly the same as it is for bulk processing of invoices, with users being able to select one, multiple, or all payments returned in the search results. Payment summaries can also either be downloaded in bulk to a .zip file, or can be automatically emailed to the appropriate Interpreters.


Interpreter Intelligence Release v2.35 includes two sets of features that provide the industry’s most efficient way to process invoices and payments. As always, please feel free to contact our support team with any questions.