Would you trust a machine to translate the negotiation of a multimillion-dollar contract? Human accountability and trust will still be needed.” -Claudio Fantinuoli

When author Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in the science fiction novel Snow Crash, he described life-like avatars that met in hyper realistic three-dimensional landscapes. An idea that seemed centuries in the future, is now only five to ten years away with companies like Microsoft and Meta (formally Facebook) making major investments in virtual reality. The metaverse is sure to connect even more people globally in various ways reshaping, once again, the way we work. Naturally, Meta’s big announcement introducing their plan to invest billions into the metaverse left us with a question: What impact will the metaverse have on the future of multilingual meetings? For the answer, we turned to Claudio Fantinuoli, the Head of Innovation at KUDO. He provided some insight into the future of live interpretation and multilingual business communication.

How big of a disruption is Metaverse going to be to the virtual meeting space?

While the announcement of Metaverse has been the topic of a lot of conversations, it is in continuum with the developments happening in the online virtual world incorporating augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video, and other means of communication. It is therefore not disruptive as there will be no “before” and “after” Metaverse. The neologism “onlife” that was coined by scholars organized by DG Connect and led by the philosopher Luciano Floridi refers to the new experience of a hyperconnected reality within which it is no longer sensible to ask whether one may be online or offline. The blurring of the distinction between reality and virtuality has sparked many discussions for several years now and the Metaverse is just a part of the natural progression in that direction.

What is the impact of Metaverse on Remote Simultaneous Interpreting?

The augmented reality and holographic avatar features will give a more immersive experience to the interpreters. The Metaverse environment will also create more opportunities for multilingual encounters and change interpreting to a 3D experience.

For clients and users, the Metaverse also makes multilingual interactions more integrated into the virtual experience and enhances connection online.

To what extent will AI interpretation be used vs. human interpretation?

Just like we are noticing with the impact of machine translation on the written translation industry, AI-powered translation is making huge improvements in quality and will be an integrated part of the Metaverse. However, despite its level of accuracy, machine translation will not replace humans when dealing with sensitive subjects or high-stakes matters. Would you trust a machine to translate the negotiation of a multi million-dollar contract? Human accountability and trust will still be needed. The interpretation market will change, and adaptation will be needed but AI and human interpretation will be complementary, not part of a zero-sum game.

How is KUDO preparing for this new online environment?

KUDO is now accessible on every meeting and event platform and is available as an integration on Microsoft Teams. The Metaverse is not changing our focus, which is to democratize access to multilingual communication online.

Metaverse - Claudio Fantinuoli, Head of Innovation at KUDO

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