Call me unlucky, but Tokyo seems to always be exactly opposite to me on the globe, no matter where I am. It was so when I was growing up in Brazil. It is so now relative to my current whereabouts in the heart of New York City. In my mind, Tokyo is really, I mean really far away. And, like most places and cultures far removed from our immediate surroundings, really fascinating and shrouded in mystery, even for the globetrotters among us.

So, when the invitation came for KUDO to partner up with LocWorld36, I jumped at the opportunity to go to Japan to deliver a presentation and support a live demonstration of Translation Commons, by Jeannette Stewart. As a sponsor, KUDO would stream both presentations live, with real-time interpretation, for the benefit of anyone else who happened to be across the world from Tokyo and unable to attend this great event in person.

Both presentations were scheduled for the same day, April 5th. What follows is a detailed account of a successful experience.

  • Streaming of my own talk:
Where is Everyone? How Technology is Redefining How and Where we Meet

For my session, we engaged the interpretation system and professionals available in the room, with outstanding results. We basically did what we call a hybrid meeting, with KUDO integrating seamlessly with the AV and conferencing equipment available at the venue. Those on-site had the option of using infrared receivers or their cell phones for the interpretation.

The interpreters worked out of their own booths, using the hardware installed there. We simply streamed their rendering up to the KUDO cloud. As a result, anybody following outside of the meeting could follow the full presentation, being able to choose between Floor, Japanese or English. All the switching was done by the interpreters and automatically captured by KUDO. The system was totally transparent (invisible) to the interpreters and the attendees in the room.

Despite the time zone difference – 13 hours to the Americas, 8 hours relative to Europe and Africa – streaming increased attendance by 30%, with people connecting from places as far as Sao Paulo and San Francisco and as close as Kuala Lumpur. Those sitting remotely could follow from their computers or smartphones, and reported a strong audio and video experience for the 45 minutes the talk lasted. The local interpreters did a wonderful job.

The talk was very well received, both locally and remotely.

  • Streaming of Jeannette’s talk:
A Digital Collaboration Platform Transforming the Language Industry

For Jeannette’s session there were no booths or conferencing equipment in the room, so interpretation was done remotely. A team of KUDO Certified interpreters connected from Manchester and London in the UK and Madrid, in Spain. The languages were Japanese, German and Spanish.

This time the interpretation was done by KUDO as a standalone platform, with those following at a distance being able to hear both the floor and the interpreted languages as they pleased. Video signal was strong throughout the presentation, even on cell phones. So was audio on all channels.

I was in the room and played the role of operator. Among other things, I was supposed to have changed the slides, to make them match the progression set by Jeannette. But I was so mesmerized by how smooth everything was running that I confess I got behind on the slides. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa!

This would not have happened had we used one same computer for the presentation and KUDO – which was not possible for reasons that extrapolate the limits of this blog.

About 35 people signed up to follow Jeannette’s engaging presentation. The time difference was even more of an issue for Jeannette, as her presentation came later in the day (i.e. later in the night for those in the Western hemisphere). Yet streaming meant an audience twice as big as the one gathered in the room.

I was very proud at what we had accomplished. And more so at the impeccable work done by Barbara Werderitsch and Jan Rausch (German), Rie Hiramatsu (Japanese), and Susana Rodriguez (Spanish), our intrepid interpreters.

Lessons Learned:
  • The technology proved its value and succeeded in taking the full content of those two sessions through the walls, beyond the room and across the world.
  • Those following the meetings remotely could easily and comfortably do so, in any of the languages offered, on their computers as well as their smartphones.
  • I feel privileged to have been there, and for LocWorld’s and Translation Commons’ trust in KUDO.

Granted, Japan continues to be really, I mean really far away. But with KUDO it looks and feels like it’s just a click away!

tokyo tokyo

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