Interactio is a mobile app that serves multilingual events by facilitating simultaneous translation without the need for specialized headsets or on-site interpreter booths.
Here is our review:
Interactio: What is it?
Interactio is a mobile app that leverages the latest communications technology to update the way simultaneous translations are coordinated. The app does not replace the interpreters themselves; attendees hear a real human interpreter, not some form of AI-enabled automatic translation.
It is not so much about replacing the human voice itself, but about transforming the way that voice is transmitted from speaker to listener.
With Interactio, attendees can tune into the interpreter’s audio stream through their phones and personal headphones, and interpreters can connect to the event remotely. This means that event planners no longer have to rent expensive hardware like specialized headsets, nor will they have to cover the cost of flying out-of-town interpreters into the event. This remote feature allows you to recruit interpreters anywhere in the world.
Interactio can coordinate your interpretation services for you using their trusted network of partner organizations, but you also have the option to use your own preferred interpretation services. Additionally, the app can accommodate any language--as long as there’s an interpreter available for the language you need, the app will work.
Let’s take a closer look at how Interactio works.
The Main Categories of Features Are:
Multiple Network Options. Attendees can connect to the app’s audio stream using WiFi or data. Interactio recommends a 3G or 4G network connection. If you anticipate a large number of attendees without smartphones, there is even the option to set up a designated telephone line that allows users to dial in to their language of choice.
Multiple Device Options. The app has both a mobile and a web version, so attendees can use their smartphones, tablets, or computers to access the interpreter’s audio stream. If the event chooses to set up the telephone line option, even a flip phone will work.
Remote Simultaneous Interpretation. As long as your interpreters have a secure internet connection, a computer, and a microphone, they can log in from anywhere in the world. Even if you are using local interpreters, remote connectivity can reduce your expenses. Rather than paying for noise-cancelling interpretation booths, you can simply place interpreters in separate rooms.
Remote Access. Just as interpreters can log in remotely, so can attendees. As long as attendees have installed the app and remain connected to WiFi or data, they can listen to the audio stream.
Live Statistics and Feedback. Interactio allows you to track engagement levels in real time. The app also incorporates a rating system that prompts attendees to provide immediate feedback on their sessions.
Integration. While Interactio can function as a stand-alone app, it is also designed for seamless integration with most event app platforms. The company has an in-house team of developers to ensure the integration runs smoothly.
App Customization. You can customize the Interactio app to include your company logo, explanatory or informational content, and a tailored agenda.
Rapid Signal Transmission. The Interactio app takes advantage of “adaptive latency,” a feature that minimizes the amount of lag time between the point at which the audio signal is sent and when it is received. With a high-speed connection, the delay can be as low as 50 milliseconds.
Recording. The app can provide recordings of all audio streams for re-use later.
Technical Support. The Interactio app includes 24/7 online support, and the company has 6 in-house developers to help troubleshoot any issues that might come up. For an additional fee, Interactio can also provide an on-site technician to ensure that all the technical aspects of the service run smoothly.
The main advantages offered by this app are cost savings and convenience. The service can be adapted to meet a variety of needs.
Traditionally, simultaneous translation has been performed in two ways: on-site with interpreters using sound-proof booths and listeners wearing specialized headsets, or on-site with interpreters sitting within earshot of their listeners so that they can whisper the translation. Given the level of wireless connectivity most of us currently enjoy, these methods seem like a relic from a bygone era.
Interactio has stepped in to bridge the gap between traditional interpretation services and modern communications technologies.
When guests sign into the app, they will see a list of languages. They can select their language of choice with the simple touch of a button, and they can listen using their own headphones.
Who Is It For?
The service can be adapted to a variety of event sizes and types. It can be used for small gatherings with only a handful of attendees requiring translation services, and it can also be used for large-scale events with over 50,000 guests.
While the app was designed to facilitate simultaneous interpretation between languages, it can also be used for silent conferences. Instead of choosing which language they want to hear, attendees can choose from among a number of different presentation options. This format allows multiple speakers to present simultaneously on different stages, giving listeners the freedom to jump between sessions without shifting their chairs.
Additionally, if you anticipate an overflow audience at your event, the Interactio app provides a convenient way to offer live audio-streaming for those unable to fit in the presentation room.
Some enterprising tour-guide operators are even taking advantage of the service by using portable routers for their internet connection and tablets for their tour guides.
Technical Requirements to Consider
Because a secure internet connection is crucial to the success of this service, it’s important to consider your bandwidth requirements from the outset. Interactio will provide you with a “Network Form” questionnaire to share with the IT department at your venue. Using the answers provided on the questionnaire, Interactio will consult with you to determine if additional WiFi coverage will need to be arranged.
The bandwidth requirements will vary significantly depending on your needs. For events that have fewer than 20 attendees planning to use the Interactio service, a mobile phone hotspot connection may even suffice. For events with several thousand delegates, a large bandwidth with a secure connection is imperative. The chart below outlines the approximate bandwidth usage per person. (The “Interactio Broadcaster” refers to the interpreter.)
Interactio Bandwidth Guidelines
|Internet Bandwidth (up to):||+ Local Network bandwidth (up to)||Comments:|
|Interatio Broadcaster (1 Audio Stream)||1 mbps||2 mbps||16 kbps (per WiFi listener)||128 kbps (per WiFi listener)|
|Interactio Listener||*16 kbps||16 kbps||*128 kbps||16 kbps||*If audio download is done from local broadcasting computer|
|Interactio Listener||144 kbps||32 kbps||If audio download is done through Interactio servers|
*Additionally each listener will need up to 20 megabytes of data for initial mobile application download.
*Be aware that people have more than one mobile device.
If attendees plan to log into the service using their own mobile data, they should expect to consume approximately 60 MB per hour. It will also drain about 5% to 8% of mobile device battery power per hour.
Of course, your attendees’ data plans won’t cover the interpreters. To ensure that your interpreters remain securely connected throughout the event, Interactio recommends that translators hook up to the internet using a LAN line. Interactio also advises having two interpreters available per language to offer each translator some back-up.
To help you set up your event for success, Interactio offers 24/7 online technical support and training.
Pros and Cons
Cost efficiency is one of Interactio’s main goals. By allowing event planners to minimize the costs associated with specialized simultaneous translation equipment, Interactio can reduce hardware expenditures by as much as 50%.
Interactio also offers flexible plans that meet different price points and needs. For example, you can choose to source your own interpreters, or let Interactio arrange your translation services for an additional fee. Similarly, you can manage the technical set-up with the help of their complimentary remote support, or you can accept an additional charge for the added security of an on-site technician.
Still, their customer model may not be the right fit for every organization. Interactio’s core pricing system is designed around an annual license arrangement, so it is best suited to long-term partnerships.
Case Study: Mary Kay
For their 50th annual conference, Mary Kay used Interactio to provide simultaneous real-time interpretation to attendees without requiring the distribution of additional devices. The international conference meant thousands of international attendees: 14,000 people from different countries around the globe attended the week-long conference, and 150 of them needed translation services on a daily basis. Interactio allowed Mary Kay to translate their annual grand seminar into multiple foreign languages in a cost-efficient way.
We live in an era of global travel and international corporations, and the need for simultaneous translation services is only going to increase with time.
AI still doesn’t offer a perfectly reliable translation service, but there are many other ways to update the process of simultaneous translation. Gone are the days when an interpreter had to be on-site to send and receive audio signals. Apps like Interactio are helping us catch up with the latest technology.
Interactio allows interpreters to browse the app along with attendees, as well as to watch a video stream of the event. This flexibility allows interpreters to translate question and answer sessions, even when they involve digital polls and other app-specific features.
Although Interactio demands a secure, high-speed WiFi connection for large events, this level of bandwidth capacity is quickly becoming an industry standard.
If you’d like to learn more about the services offered by Interactio, you can request a free demo and get a quote through this link.
Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.