medical interpretation via Zoom for Atenao’s Ukrainian interpreter

The Institute for the Equality of Women and Men entrusted Atenao to provide video conference interpreting for its courses for Sexual Assault Centre staff. Since the course for Ukrainian staff is organised in the form of a video conference, Atenao has chosen to bring together each Ukrainian interpreter in a Zoom conference.

The institute of gender equality is a Belgian institution that started in 2002. Its main role is to promote equality between men and women in Belgium, as well as fighting against gender-based discrimination.

The Institute takes various actions to achieve these goals, including providing information, advice and support to individuals and organisations seeking to promote gender equality. It also conducts research and analysis on gender equality issues and contributes to the development of public policies aimed at improving women’s rights and combating gender stereotypes.

In addition to its advisory and research functions, the Institute for Gender Equality can also intervene in cases of gender discrimination, conducting investigations and proposing corrective measures when necessary. Its overall objective is to contribute to creating a Belgian society that is more egalitarian and inclusive for all.

The first Sexual Assault Centres(CPVS) opened in 2016 and 2017 in 3 cities (Ghent, Brussels and Liège). They were rolled out nationwide and centres in Antwerp and Charleroi opened in 2021.

Remote simultaneous interpreting on Zoom

The Institute launched a major training campaign for staff at sexual assault centres in June in the wake of the war in Ukraine and the devastation it has wrought on people.

As the course for Ukrainian staff would be held as a video conference, Zoom was selected for interpreting conferences about:

  • Victim support and communication techniques.
  • Violence against adults and children.
  • Medical and psychological impact of sexual assault.
  • CPVS medical and psychological support guidelines.
  • Forensic examination.

11 days of conferences, workshops and debates were held with simultaneous interpreting provided in two separate rooms (physical and virtual) during the first 6 days.

Experience the conference interpreting with an excerpt of Mireille Monville, Psychologist, psychotherapist and lecturer at Liège/Uliege University Hospital, Specialist Department in Psychological Trauma and Legal Psychology

Assignment in 4 key areas:

Allocated resources:

Given the highly sensitive and advanced medical and psychological terminology, the assignment required that each Ukrainian interpreter has a very good knowledge of the area’s specialist vocabulary and experience of distressing events.

  • 2 pairs of native Ukrainian interpreters for a total of 8 interpreters throughout the mission.
  • 1 Project Manager in charge of coordination and supervision.
  • Atenao’s professional Zoom account.

Leadtime: We were contacted just days before the assignment and had to instantly assign 4 of our Ukrainian interpreters during a time when they are in high demand. We tend to recruit pairs of interpreters who are used to working together and coordinating with each other but, given the urgency, 4 Ukrainian interpreters who had never had the opportunity to work together before had to coordinate with each other in record time.

Technique: We had far less preparation time than we needed so there was no time for the initial checkpoint test to simulate the assignment. Given the conditions, there was no way of ensuring that the room equipment, audio quality and room layout were appropriate.

Location: Hybrid (Zoom video conference room/Physical connected meeting room).

Hybrid events are growing in popularity and hybridisation brings new technical issues. The meeting room was equipped with a ClickShare solution so meetings could be organised using a laptop. The connected system automatically linked the laptop to the room’s cameras, loudspeakers and soundbars.

The ClickShare system is designed for meetings with up to 4 speakers near one another. It does not work as well when 8 people in the room speak at the same time at random. Within minutes, the sound was distorted and disrupted meaning our interpreters couldn’t hear the discussion and, therefore, neither could the Ukrainian audience.

The ClickShare system is ideal for one-to-one sessions but not ideal with more than 4 speakers.

The ClickShare system’s centralised microphone was replaced by a Catchbox, a wireless system with a microphone that’s easy to throw to each speaker and has undisputed audio quality.

Catch box, the Throwable Microphone

If you’ve already participated in a large meeting with questions and answers, you know that the most crucial point is the management of microphones. Several wireless microphones must be distributed throughout the room to be able to quickly reach any member of the public wishing to address the speakers. The Catchbox solves the problem in a clever way, as you simply just throw it and there’s no risk of breakage with its foam coating. The managers of the Institute for the equality of women and men were captivated by this small Hifi object as it is as playful as it is effective.