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By Katharine Allen, Training Specialist

For those who are enmeshed in Language LinkedIn (probably an admittedly small portion of readers), the announcement of a Microsoft Teams RSI integration is making waves.

The interpreting world is abuzz about Microsoft Teams announcement of its new remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) functionality. Two posts by LinkedIn colleagues Konstantin Dranch and Sarah Hickey have generated a lot of interest and debate. Here’s my take on how much of a game-changer Team’s entry into the RSI world really is.

As a long-time observer of the conference interpreting RSI space in Europe and the US, and RSI in US community interpreting settings (medical/legal/educational), the full scope of RSI use is often missed in market prognostications. It might seem like Teams would be the juggernaut game changer because Microsoft dominates corporate culture, but I think Sarah Hickey and Katty Kauffman have done a good job of capturing why that might not be so.

Different sectors will require different RSI Platforms

RSI solutions have already diversified to meet the specific use cases for different market sectors, many not dominated by Microsoft. Hospitals will ultimately gravitate towards the best RSI integrations with telehealth and electronic medical record portals. School districts, which have heavy RSI needs, are mostly invested in Google and Zoom, and need lots of IT support of the kind provided by consultant interpreters in the conference interpreting space. Many court systems have chosen Webex or Zoom for remote court and RSI needs and are far down the path of service integration with those platforms.

In other words, RSI is so much more than a technological function embedded in video conference platforms. It needs backend coordination to connect clients to interpreters, access to large, qualified interpreter pools, IT support with knowledge of providing simultaneous interpreting to multilingual meetings and very often, event management support.

Boostlingo’s acquisition of VoiceBoxer and Interpreter Intelligence marks the first time that a dedicated RSI platform will be available to the US immigrant-facing RSI market, one backed up by access to a vetted interpreter pool, integrated OPI/VRI, scheduling, invoicing and now event management. The opportunity to be involved in that RSI evolution is a big reason why I joined Boostlingo.

I encourage everyone to read Katty Kauffman‘s analysis of Teams functionality from the interpreter’s point of view. It currently is a non-starter and needs significant improvement to even get close to the functionality of Zoom’s partial RSI solution.

Bottom line: RSI platforms are just a small piece of providing simultaneous interpretation

Unless Microsoft builds out a functional, cheap and basically on-demand event management service, access to an interpreter pool and scheduling functionality to back up its RSI functionality, market dominance seems a long ways off.

I would love to hear from my #medicalinterpreter #educationalinterpreter and #legalinterpreter colleagues for your perspective!

Want to learn more about our remote simultaneous interpreting platform? Get in contact with our team. Request a quote today.

Have you heard about our acquisition?

Our goal at Boostlingo is to help your language service company grow and scale with our innovative technology. As such, we recently acquired VoiceBoxer, a leader in the remote simultaneous interpreting space. Now, your language service company can incorporate RSI into current business offerings.

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