ASTM Updates Interpreting Standard, Separate Remote Interpreting Standard under Way

ASTM Updates Interpreting Standard

At a time when we are seeing rapid developments and innovation in the technology aiding and impacting interpreting, including Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) and instant terminology assistance, specialized committees at ASTM International (fka American Society for Testing and Materials) are busy updating practice delineations/guidelines and standards, including those dealing with interpreting.

ASTM F2089-15, a set of professional guidelines for spoken and sign language interpreting services, has been updated and reorganized during the first quarter of 2023. 

The committee in charge set out to make the standard easier to use, include a number of recommendations for organizing events that involve interpreting, and update information on interpreting technology.

Topics covered in the professional guideline are intended for all possible interested parties, but especially those who hire interpreters. 

Details are provided on specific types of interpreting settings and delivery modes, including conference interpreting in a booth, public service interpreting on site and remotely, as well as other settings.

Substantially Expanded

Remote interpreting became regular practice during the Covid pandemic, and it has remained a normal delivery mode over online meetings and through a combination of different technologies. 

The section of the standard dealing with remote interpreting “has been substantially expanded to provide a more defined and comprehensive overview of the unique challenges encountered when integrating technology with the provision of interpreting services,” said Teresa Salazar, Chair of the Interpreting Subcommittee and Director of Interpreting Services for the US Court for the District of Columbia.

The updates involve interpreting equipment and technology, including type, use, and correct placement by setting and by interpreting mode. Several types of remote interpreting, such as conference remote interpreting, audio remote interpreting, and video remote interpreting are addressed, as well as new information dealing with technical requirements, specifically for the type of equipment that should be used to achieve best results.

The remote interpreting section also places greater emphasis on the need for interpreting in teams and offering access to technical support during remote events. 

Salazar also told Slator that the section on remote interpreting “is not exhaustive and, currently, work has already started on a separate standard on remote interpreting which will complement the information provided in this standard practice.”