Today is the last day as an intern here at KUDO.

As a freshly graduated interpreter with an MA in Translation and Interpretation from MIIS, I was eager to learn and to gather experience as fast as possible.

My internship at KUDO has provided me with a unique insight into the language industry and allowed me to do just that. More specifically, into distance interpreting. My primary job was to interpret demos of the platform for potential clients, partners and seasoned interpreters interested in expanding their offerings. The latter were particularly interesting for me.

Conference interpreters who have been in the industry for a long time are used to a completely different way of working. You go to the conference or meeting well ahead of its beginning to familiarize yourself with the venue, find your booth and perhaps get a chance to talk to the speaker. With a bit of luck, you can even get some last-minute material related to the assignment.

You also have a chance to acquaint yourself with your boothmate, organize your papers in the booth, shake hands with the AV support staff and —last but not least— locate the restrooms.

Sitting in front of a computer and accessing the venue through a web-based platform —instead of the protocol I just described— is a game-changer for interpreters. As I enter the interpretation market this new modality is unfolding, and I am willing to adapt with an open mind.

For interpreters accustomed to the old ways, this adaptation could be a lot trickier. That said, the first reaction I get from interpreters experiencing the platform is usually positive.

A platform like KUDO can open up exciting opportunities. What if you are required to interpret at a 10-day conference half a world away, but your delegates only need you to interpret 30-minute daily sessions? What if it is not safe to fly in interpreters because of a natural disaster or the local political situation? These situations may not present themselves every day, but they do occur with increasing frequency in the life of an interpreter.

Now, being on the inside helped me put things into perspective. For starters, I know for a fact that KUDO is not attempting to replace a well-established industry. An informal motto in the company is “keep what works.” But there are many corner cases where the traditional way of meetings is no longer affordable or feasible.

KUDO is also doing all it can to safeguard the working conditions our profession has managed to impose. The business is driven by interpreters and built in consultation with the interpreting community. That, for an interpreter, is very reassuring.

My internship at KUDO allowed me to discover the many possibilities behind the concept of distance interpreting. It’s all about making the most of technological advancements that have come to stay and making sure they play in the interpreters’ favor. It is about increasing our understanding and leveraging our power to overcome our own resistance and a few hurdles along the way.

These four months in KUDO gave me a unique insight into interpreting. It allowed me many other experiences that have helped me set my career in motion and start right. One such experience, and a memorable one was the AIIC-PRIMS meeting in London, on 12-13 January 2019. I was part of the team showcasing KUDO to a pool of nearly 180 interpreters.

For six hours of nonstop activity, our AIIC colleagues had a chance to try six different platforms and address these providers directly. And I was the one partly coaching them on the use of the platform and even providing some relay feed to them. It was an unusually fortunate opportunity to meet and relate in such a way to well-established colleagues.

Experiences like this go beyond the expectations I had before starting this internship, which I consider a priceless asset for my career. I thank the entire KUDO team for giving me this unique opportunity. And I am also grateful to them for placing interpreters at the core of every decision they make.

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