Every day, technological innovations create new opportunities and challenges. In the context of these developments, Fedasil and researchers from Ghent University joined forces to examine the effects of webcam interpreting. Untranslate provided detailed transcriptions in no fewer than eight languages and high-quality translations of those transcriptions into English, French and Dutch. In doing so, Untranslate contributes to important scientific research and helps to advance multilingual communication.
Every day, employees at Fedasil, the Belgian institution responsible for the reception of asylum seekers, interview dozens of applicants for international protection. They often rely on interpreters during those interviews. During the COVID-19 crisis, the demand for remote interpreters became particularly acute. As part of a sociolinguistic study, researchers from Ghent University analysed conversations between Fedasil employees, applicants for asylum and interpreters who were present via webcam. The researcher’s goal is to identify the challenges and opportunities of webcam interpreting in the reception network.
AN EAR FOR DETAIL
The interviews were recorded in Fedasil centres. For English, French and Dutch, the researchers transcribed the interviews themselves, but for the transcriptions in Arabic, Dari, Persian, Pashto, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Tigrinya, they asked Untranslate for help and expertise.
As part of the research, it was necessary for the transcripts to detail not only what was said during the interviews, but also what was left unsaid. Every hesitation, silence or slip of the tongue mattered to the researchers. Thanks to their ear for detail, the Untranslate team ensured such accurate transcriptions.
TRANSCRIPTS AND MORE
The researchers also had to understand everything that was said. Speaking and understanding eight diverse languages perfectly may be every language buff’s dream, but in reality such a polyglot is not easy to find. Fortunately, the project managers at Untranslate were able to call on their extensive pool of language experts with whom they regularly work, which allowed them to partly realise that dream. The result: accurate transcriptions in the native language and high-quality translations into the language of the researchers.
SENSITIVITY AND DISCRETION
In a project like this, trust is of the utmost important. The topics are often sensitive and the living situation of the interviewees is not always an easy one. So being discrete was key. Untranslate not only ensured qualitative transcriptions and translations, but also discretion and trust by carefully screening translators and having the necessary confidentiality agreements signed by all parties.
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