The pandemic has seen millions of people across the planet hunker down behind their computer screens. Now, as we emerge blinking, perhaps in disbelief, from our homes and start to reconnect with our offices, many questions remain. Principal amongst these is the extent to which we will return to the status quo of office life, or whether we’ll have a blended approach where we work partly at home and partly in an office.
Communication during the pandemic has been online. Anyone lucky enough to have bought shares in Zoom in 2019 must, presumably, be considerably richer today. Of course, it’s not just one-to-ones and group meetings: online events and conferences have also taken place. Again, decisions will have to be made: do the conference organisers continue with some online events or do they return to the big venues and conference centres with all their support infrastructure? That’s always assuming that the attendees are happy to be in close proximity with other people in the next year or so…
In the world of hiring, recruitment agencies have moved almost entirely online, accelerating a trend that was gathering pace previously. With staff shortages in some key areas (e.g. IT), recruiters, especially with the changes to immigration policy post-Brexit, will be reaching out to candidates in countries much further afield. Although English will be a prerequisite for working here, many of these candidates will be happier being spoken to initially in their native tongue.
Undoubtedly, we are still in a period of uncertainty about the future path of the pandemic. In the UK, things look much better, but most other countries are behind us. In the same way that employees are demanding to work from home for at least part of the week, I don’t believe that everyone will be rushing to book flights for international events. Some will, obviously, but I suspect a substantial majority won’t, at least until there is definitive proof that the virus is under control. For these people, and for overseas candidates for jobs, video interviewing will require interpreters and, I believe, demand for such services will increase. Moreover, as with WFH, once organisers find they can save money with a blended approach of part-in-event attendance and part-online attendance, this will become the norm in the year(s) ahead.
Remote interview and conference interpreting makes all this possible in real-time, with the added advantage that it’s easy to provide recordings for attendees to watch back, thus improving longer-term engagement and allowing remote viewers/interviewers to take much more out of the event/interview than would previously have been possible.
Last year, Global Connects provided translation services for the (fully online) Edinburgh International Cultural Summit. We also have a lot of experience (courtesy of our public sector contracts) with online interpreting and we anticipate this will be a growing area for our business in the next few years.
Fiona Woodford, Head of Languages, Global Connects