The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as it now affects most countries worldwide.
Several European countries are in lockdown and have implemented draconian measures to counter the spread of the virus throughout the continent. The UK, the US and other countries around the world are following suit.
The Situation in the UAE
The United Arab Emirates is prepared to face this emergency and is making resources available to ensure public health and safety.
The national government has implemented new measures to contain the emergency, including the closure of museums, schools, clubs and gyms. Most events, exhibitions and other public gatherings have been cancelled or postponed and international flights have been reduced or cancelled. All these measures have resulted in a slowdown of the economy, including severe repercussions in the tourism sector.
How the Pandemic Impacts the Global Language Services Industry
So far, the consequences of the pandemic for Language Service Providers (LSPs) vary greatly depending on where they are based. In China, most LSPs have been able to continue their operations remotely, while professional associations of translators and interpreters in Italy project a total loss of EUR 10 million for the first month of the COVID-2019 lockdown.
It should come as no surprise that of these professionals, interpreters face the most serious, immediate impacts. After all, their work is traditionally done face-to-face, which means that the countless cancelled events and serious warnings against in-person meetings have an inordinate effect on their ability to continue to make a living during this crisis.
Meanwhile, companies who offer remote language services, such as remote interpreting, have seen a general increase in demand for their services, especially in multilingual countries or countries with large expat populations. Hospitals are also starting to rely more heavily on remote interpreters, both over the phone and via Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). With this technology, specialised interpreters connect to the hospital over a video app on any device such as smartphones, tablets or computers, allowing medical professionals to communicate with patients who may not speak their language.
Similarly, many conferences or meetings deemed too important to cancel outright are moving online. Speakers deliver presentations in different languages, while audiences listen in the language of their choice, in real time, thanks to Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) platforms designed to allow professional simultaneous interpreters to deliver their services virtually.
Enterprises and multination organisations are also going virtual, with many of them also increasingly making the switch to video conferencing solutions for their internal meetings. Although video conferencing technology has existed for decades, the ability to embed RSI within them is more recent. This technological advancement allows teams to communicate with each other in different languages while following work-from-home policies or other safety measures designed to limit in-person contact.
Langpros’ Response: Remote Language Services
Langpros is a Dubai-based language service provider operating in the UAE, the GCC, and beyond. Our services include translation for every industry, as well as interpreting and copywriting.
We have always invested in innovation and new technologies, establishing consistent workflows and operating with a delocalized remote team including RSI and VRI.
This predisposition is helping us offer high-quality language services to our clients while guaranteeing high safety standards for our employees and collaborators.
Among the different RSI and VRI solutions we offer, the SmartLangPro app gives 24/7 access to on-demand video remote interpreting. This platform is specifically designed for organisations such as hospitals or clinics as well as government departments and public agencies (such as the police, immigration authorities, etc).
Video Remote Interpreting is now more relevant than ever, as the best solution to break language barriers in emergency medical situations. It grants fast access to interpreters while avoiding further risk of contagion.
Written translation services are available as usual, combining a large team of remote professional interpreters and new technologies such as Neural Machine Translation to support quick and accurate translations of health and safety guidelines for internal use in hospitals, companies, or government offices.