PRIMS Meeting in London 11-13 January 2019

Record attendance at PRIMS meeting focusing on remote simultaneous interpreting platforms and the potential impact of Brexit on conference interpreting.

PRIMS London January 2019

Photo credits: AIIC

The PRIMS meeting in London attracted a record turnout of AIIC members and pre-candidates from all over the world with over 170 colleagues from 20 countries, drawn by the opportunity to test RSI platforms, a desire to find out more about the impact of Brexit on both the UK and the surrounding region, and by the location of the meeting: the iconic city of London. We are very grateful to the International Maritime Organization for marking 50 years of working with AIIC by offering us its conference facilities free of charge for the weekend.

Veteran diplomat Boyd McCleary kicked off proceedings, with a superb presentation on Brexit. He took the historical longview, explaining the UK’s uneasy relationship with the EU throughout its 40-year membership. Despite the continuing uncertainty, he had also tried to identify the possible impact of Brexit on conference interpreters.

The main focus of the meeting was, however, developments in RSI technologies. Six platforms were given the opportunity to introduce their systems, after which all participants were able to test two or more and share their thoughts at discussion tables. Klaus Ziegler presented AIIC’s Guidelines for Distance Interpreting, and revealed the results of a study commissioned by AIIC on the transmission of sound and image through cloud-based systems for RSI. Two conclusions are of particular note: First, none of the six platforms currently meets AIIC’s standards, although significant progress has been made in the last year; and secondly, AIIC’s Guidelines require all the members of one particular booth to be in the same space and “strongly recommend that all interpreters are in the same room or space”.

Naomi Bowman of DS-Interpretation gave a very useful, practical presentation on how AIIC conference interpreters can respond to new developments in RSI technologies. Her top tip was that we must differentiate conference interpreting from other types of interpreting that are more prone to commoditization. She also pointed out that remote was more complex than on-site interpreting and not necessarily cheaper, and supported the platforms’ contention that RSI is likely to increase the number of events that are interpreted.

The UK & Ireland Region provided welcome drinks and canapés for all participants at the atmospheric George Inn the evening before the meeting began. Many participants enjoyed the traditional London venue and were interested to hear Rob Davidson’s opening talk about trends in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry.

AIIC UK & Ireland was very pleased to welcome our colleagues from near and far to such an informative meeting on very timely subjects. 

Recommended citation format:
AIIC. "PRIMS Meeting in London 11-13 January 2019". May 16, 2019. Accessed July 10, 2020. <>.