By Cécile Thibert
It was March 11, 2020. I was sitting in my booth in Brussels, interpreting at a European conference, when a top-ranking official of the organization erupts into the room with an announcement: that was probably going to be the last in-person event for the rest of the year. My booth mate and I looked at one another in disbelief, not fully realizing at that time what was about to hit us. I admit I very naively thought this pandemic-induced travel ban would not last long. Little did I know what was going to happen to our profession.
After a few weeks of uncertainty, immobility, and worrying, the time finally came to react and dare to venture into remote simultaneous interpreting. And that is when I bumped into KUDO. I decided to take their self-paced onboarding tutorial, and I immediately felt at ease with the platform. I remember finding it extremely user-friendly. The idea that I could still have a future as a conference interpreter filled me with joy.
KUDO’s visionary founders have reinvented the multilingual space and developed a language-as-a-service platform using the latest cloud-based technology. And one that is truly centered around the interpreters. Not only does the executive team consist of professionals with several decades of conferencing and language services experience under their belt, but the talented staff that organizes and coordinates the events are the nicest people you will ever come to work with. So, it is not all about technology. The human touch is always there. Over the many months since that fateful day, KUDO has opened new doors and granted me opportunities and access to new clients. Being able to discover a brand new community of conference interpreters all around the world was another huge perk.
KUDO never stops innovating and is engaged in the constant process of development and improvement. Their latest breakthrough is KUDO Marketplace, a new service that streamlines the interpreter booking process with 24/7 access to thousands of KUDO Pro interpreters in real-time. Clients and interpreters get instant confirmations. Now, to be totally honest, the development of KUDO Marketplace raised many questions at first. I thought this new experience could be dehumanizing. Well, as it turns out, nothing could be farther from the truth. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us the value of resilience and flexibility to change. The way we meet has fundamentally changed, with more and shorter meetings than used to be the case. KUDO Marketplace acknowledges the new use cases and provides a tailor-made approach to this reality.
As a KUDO Pro-certified interpreter since October 2020, my experience with KUDO Marketplace has been very positive. The booking process on our end is swift and smooth. KUDO Pro interpreters can indicate their availability on an online calendar. When a request comes in, you have access to the event details as well as any preparation materials available. You can then make an informed decision and are free to accept or decline any assignment. This process does not prevent you from continuing to accept your usual assignments. You are still free to plan your work the best way that suits you. KUDO also provides timely and comprehensive support should you run into issues. They are always there for you, day or night. That said, the likelihood of having to use that support channel is negligible. And if you need one more reason to join KUDO Marketplace, consider the perk of claiming your payment immediately after the meeting has been completed.
So, all things considered, I am grateful to KUDO and their team for providing our community with the tools to keep me doing what I love. I doubt that my profession will fully revert to how I had it for the first 20 years in this business, and that is good. I have learned that embracing change is key. I am happy I did, and I cannot wait to discover what KUDO has in store for us next.
So, if you are still considering whether or not to jump, I am here to push you.
Cécile Thibert is a Brussels-based, French KUDO Pro interpreter with 20+ years of experience. KUDO recommends her services to anyone in search of high-quality French interpretation services, online and off.