On September 8th 2016, we held the first live Linguali Interpreting System demo in Bordeaux, France. Twenty or so local interpreters and technology enthusiasts came to try out the app for themselves, some more hesitant than others at the thought of introducing technology into their work.

After an afternoon of testing where everything went to plan, it was of course in the evening with a live audience that we encountered a few hiccups with the system. Turn it off. Count to five. Turn it back on again. Fixed. (That is as technical as it gets).

Back on track; Linguali’s founder and chief service designer introduced the app, talked through the concept and then showed the audience how it works.

To begin with the audience played the part of conference participants and listened to the demo on their phones. Then the interpreters got behind the microphone themselves to get a feel of what it would be like to work with the app.

I was impressed by the system. It represents a viable alternative to the heavy equipment and guide-tour type devices that have been used until now. The sound quality is good because the signal is digital so there is no loss of range. It would be easy to use in a real setting and it gives interpreters the wherewithal to offer a turnkey solution from A to Z without any reliance on third-party technical operators.

— Said Ray Cooke, conference simultaneous interpreter

At the end there were a lot of questions asked, here are some of the more important queries that were raised:

Q: I don’t translate in/from French or English, can I still use the app?
A: Yes! Whether you are interpreting from French to English, from Italian to Korean, or any other exotic combination, it makes no difference. The app is just a tool to help the interpreter do their job, it’s language capacity is only as good as that of the interpreter using it!
Q: What happens if device’s batteries don’t last?
A: Participants are advised before the event to fully charge their device, and then once they arrive put it on airplane mode whilst using the app, to conserve battery life. We also recommend that there are some power banks or chargers on hand just in case.

This demo was not only a chance for interpreters to try out the app, it was a chance for us to test it out on a large group of people to highlight any bugs in the current version before releasing it to the public. We found that while it ran smoothly for those using IOS, it was sometimes less reliable for a number of Android users – so back to the drawing board for our developers to fix that.

All in all, a successful evening that showcased the capabilities of the beta version of the Linguali app and we hope encouraged a few hesitant interpreters how easy it is use.

Our thanks again to Librarie Mollat and all the people that came to the demo. If you missed out this time, don’t forget to keep an eye out for more news and updates on Linguali events on our website.

Watch videos from the event here.