Artificial Intelligence and the Interpreter

AIIC UK & Ireland's webinar series on aI and interpreting

How will artificial intelligence change the interpreting profession? The implications for the market, interpreter training and the delivery of interpreting services could be profound. In this series of webinars, experts in the field explain how advanced current speech-to-speech translation solutions are, what the challenges are, how AI can support human interpreters, and what we can expect in the future. We also place the subject of AI-powered speech translation in a broader context, with philosophical questions such as the importance of understanding what you’re saying and the "imitation game", complemented by a consideration of the practical challenges involved in AI applications, including making humanoid robots.
Free online events organised by AIIC's United Kingdom & Ireland Region. For interpreters, researchers, students, journalists, AI/technology enthusiasts and members of the general public with an interest in the subject. 

Inclusion of third-party providers in AIIC events is for the information of participants only. Such third-party providers are not related in any way to AIIC, its Regions, Groups or Committees. AIIC neither endorses nor approves any product or service they provide.

Part 1 Friday 13 November 2020
2020: A Speech Odyssey
Automated Speech Translation: Challenges, Approaches, Scale, Uses and Edge Cases 

Dr Jan Niehues, Assistant Professor, Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering, University of Maastricht, Netherlands

Dr William Lewis, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Washington, US; until recently Principal PM Architect at Microsoft Translator 



PART 2 Friday 4 December 2020 
it's a kind of magic?

artificial intelligence and human insight

Dr Marek Kohn, science writer, UK

Prof. Agnieszka Wykowska, Principal Investigator and Team Leader, Social Cognition in Human-Robot Interaction lab, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy

Victor Riparbelli, CEO and co-founder of Synthesia, UK



PART 3 Friday 11 December 2020 
With a little help from my friends
AI for interpreter SUPPORT and training

Dr Ildikó Horváth, President of the European Masters in Conference Interpreting consortium, Department of Translation and Interpreting, ELTE University, Hungary

Marc van Dommelen, Head of Sector Documentation and Terminology, Directorate‑General for Interpretation (DG SCIC), European Commission 



PART 4 Friday 8 January 2021 
Automated SPEECH TRANSLATION SOLUTIONS and devices - DEMOS and discussion

Peter Hayes, CEO of TranslateLive, US ("ILA, the Instant Language Assistant")

Sergio Del Río, Co-Founder and VP of Product at Waverly Labs, US ("Ambassador")




Thomas Jayes, Head of Strategy and Innovation Unit, Advisor to the Director General, Directorate-General for Logistics and Interpretation for Conferences (DG LINC), European Parliament

Antonio Paoletti, Head of the Meeting Services and Interpretation Section, Conference Division at the International Maritime Organisation (United Nations), UK

Naomi Bowman, CEO of DS-Interpretation, Inc., Belgium / US

Dr Jan Niehues, Assistant Professor, Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering, University of Maastricht, Netherlands

Dr William Lewis, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Washington, US



speakers and moderators

─── Jan Niehues


Dr Jan Niehues is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands. He completed his doctorate at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2014 on the topic of “Domain Adaptation in Machine Translation”, and conducted research into various aspects of machine translation and spoken language translation at Carnegie Mellon University and LIMSI/CNRS, Paris. He has been involved in several international projects in the field, including the Franco-German Quaero Project, and Horizon 2020 projects QT21, EU-Bridge and Elitr. He is one of the main organisers of the spoken language track in the International Workshop on Spoken Language Translation shared task.

─── William Lewis


Dr William Lewis led the Microsoft Translator team’s efforts to build machine translation engines for a variety of the world’s languages, including threatened and endangered languages. He subsequently worked with the Translator team on speech translation and transcription, developing the features that allow both multilingual and deaf and hard-of-hearing students to use Microsoft Translator in the classroom. Before joining Microsoft, Will was Assistant Professor and founding faculty for the Computational Linguistics Master’s Program at the University of Washington. Before that, he was faculty at California State University, Fresno, where he helped found the Computational Linguistics and Cognitive Science Programs. He received a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics from the University of California Davis and a Master's and Doctorate in Linguistics, with an emphasis on Computational Linguistics, from the University of Arizona in Tucson. 

─── Marek Kohn

Marek Kohn

Dr Marek Kohn is the author of eight books, the subjects of which include race and science, the evolution of the mind, the lives of leading evolutionary thinkers, trust, and the impact of climate change on the British Isles. He has also written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, Observer, Financial Times, Independent and New Scientist. As well as exploring the implications of scientific thinking for society­ – he has been described in the Guardian as “one of the best science writers we have” – he is particularly concerned with questions about diversity and identity. These concerns are rooted in his heritage as the son of a Polish father and a British mother. In his most recent book, Four Words for Friend: The Rewards of Using More Than One Language in a Divided World, he draws heavily on his experience of losing his first language, Polish, and on his efforts to recover it.

Image: Paul Musso / Hay Festival


Professor Agnieszka Wykowska is Principal Investigator for the Social Cognition in Human-Robot Interaction (S4HRI) research line at the Italian Institute of Technology, Genova. She is also affiliated to Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, where she is an Adjunct Professor in Engineering Psychology, and to University of Manchester, where she holds a Visiting Professorship. She obtained a PhD in Psychology from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) in 2008, but her background is in cognitive neuroscience (MSc in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology, LMU, 2006) and philosophy (MA in Philosophy, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, 2001).

In 2016 she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant, “InStance” (Intentional Stance for Social Attunement). Her research focuses on social cognitive neuroscience and human-robot interaction. She uses behavioural measures (eyetracking, psychophysics) and EEG to research human-robot interaction. 

She is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Social Robotics and an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology (Cognition section). She is a Core Member of the Ellis Society (European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems):, and a Board Member of the Association of ERC Grantees (AERG): In 2018/19 she served as guest (co-)editor of a special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B entitled “From social brains to social robots: Applying neurocognitive insights to human-robot interaction", and is in constant demand as a Program Committee member for conferences including the "International Conference on Social Robotics" and "Human-Robot Interaction".    

Victor Riparbelli

Victor Riparbelli is the CEO and co-founder of Synthesia, the world's leading AI video platform, which makes creating a video as easy as writing an email. Simply select your AI presenter, type in your script in one of 40 languages and click “create". Your video will be ready within minutes.

Prior to founding Synthesia, Victor was involved in technology entrepreneurship and built products across many different industries. His work in the VR/AR sector inspired him to apply similar technologies to video production, and in 2017 he co-founded Synthesia with Prof. Matthias Niessner, Prof. Lourdes Agapito and Steffen Tjerrild.

Ildikó Horváth

Dr Ildikó Horváth, habil., is an Associate Professor, Director of the Institute of Language Mediation and Head of the Department of Translation and Interpreting at ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary. She is President of the European Masters in Conference Interpreting (EMCI) consortium and an active freelance conference interpreter. She has authored 59 books and articles on various subjects in Interpreting Studies covering conference, court and medical interpreting as well as interpreter training methodology. Among other things, she is the author of Interpreter behaviour. A psychological approach, editor of The Modern Translator and Interpreter and co-editor of The Role of New Technologies in Conference Interpreter Training, an EMCI project recently published by Peter Lang.

Marc van Dommelen

Marc van Dommelen has worked as a conference interpreter at DG SCIC, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Interpretation, since 1995, with a brief sabbatical in the Translation Service in 2011. Since 2018 he has been Head of Sector for Documentation and Terminology, in which capacity he is responsible for the terminology part of the “Interpreter’s Digital Toolbox” project, which aims to modernise the documentation and terminology tools at the disposal of the interpreters working for SCIC. This includes the migration of SCIC terminology to IATE, and integrating AI tools such as the IATE term extractor and the Term Recognition Module (TRM) into the meeting preparation workflow.
Marc trained as an interpreter at the Erasmus interpreting school in Brussels, and subsequently completed a Master’s in European and International Law at the University of Hull, UK. 

─── Sergio Del Río

Sergio Del Río

Sergio Del Río is a co-founder and VP of Product at Waverly Labs, designers and manufacturers of the Pilot Smart Earbuds and the Ambassador Interpreter, which claims to be “the world’s most sophisticated translation device”. Pilot and Ambassador have garnered the company multiple global awards, including the CES Innovation Award (2019 and 2020), the IEEE N3xt Award and the London Design Award. 

Sergio studied Industrial Design at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Studios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico; Public Policy at The Washington Center, Washington DC; and Exponential Technologies at Singularity University, NASA Ames, California. Before co-founding Waverly Labs, he worked for many years as a UI/UX leader for Msbe-Haier, and in the appliance industry, where he designed over 35 products, and used semiotics, language and cognitive analysis to create controls that were easy to operate for users all over the world. He has also co-founded two environmental projects: “La Tallería”, a social enterprise which recycles around 2.5 tonnes of glass every month, and “Agua Blue Whale”, a circular economy project based in Mexico, which is working on replacing single-use plastic bottles for drinking water with bottles made from paper or recycled glass.

Sergio’s passions are designing products, technology and spoken language. A native of Mexico, his mother tongue is Mexican Spanish, but he currently lives between New York and Shenzhen with his cat, Vladimir.

─── Peter Hayes

Peter Hayes

Peter Hayes is the CEO of TranslateLive, a communication and language access company based in Florida, USA. He has over 20 years' experience of designing, implementing, managing and selling complex communication platforms, working with Fortune 500 companies, and federal, state and local government agencies to solve complex communication problems. He has personally implemented advanced interpretation communication systems in both the public sector (90% of all federal government agencies, all five branches of the US military, the Department of Homeland Security and Special Operations) and the private sector (banks, start-ups).

Peter has designed multiple communication platforms from scratch for three different start-ups, including one company that sold for over $100 million, and the first Video Remote Interpreting companies, which recently sold for $475 million. He currently owns one other successful start-up, VTCSecure, which won a $10-million contract from the FCC to build open source communication technology for people with disabilities, and whose software products are currently used around the world by several nations as well as enterprise companies including Google, Comcast, Facebook, BoA, Etna, etc.  

He has advanced knowledge of complex system design and human communication, and is an expert in network/data security. A world-leading expert on communication technology, he has spoken at the UN in Geneva and has been called as an expert witness in government communication access court cases.

─── Thomas Jayes

Thomas Jayes

Tom Jayes is acting head of the Strategy and Innovation Unit in the European Parliament’s Directorate-General for Logistics and Interpretation for Conferences (DG LINC) and adviser to the Director-General, having previously worked as a freelance and then staff interpreter. DG LINC is responsible for providing linguistic, technical and logistical support to facilitate multilingual meetings within the European Parliament, and closely monitors developments in the field of conference and language technologies. 

Tom has a BA in Modern Languages (Cardiff University), a BSc in Maths/Physics (Open University), a European Master’s in Conference Interpreting (University of Minho, Braga) and an MSc in Space Science and Technology (Open University).


Antonio Paoletti is head of the Meeting Services and Interpretation Section at the International Maritime Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations, in London. As such, he is responsible for the conduct of all IMO conferences and meetings, including recruiting and supporting the interpreting teams. His role involves keeping up to date with best practices in meeting management as well as the latest technological developments. He also represents the IMO for matters relating to the AIIC-UN Agreement regulating the conditions of employment of staff and freelance interpreters. 

─── Naomi Bowman

Naomi Bowman

Naomi Bowman is CEO of DS-Interpretation, Inc., a California-based conference interpreting firm founded in 1972. After joining the company in 1988, Naomi quickly established it as a leader for innovative technology solutions and the highest working standards for clients and interpreters. As a technology enthusiast, Naomi is a well-known and respected speaker in Europe and the US on the impact of new technology trends & AI on the language market and new business models for interpreters in a new-tech world. She has an MA in International Relations, has lived in five countries, is currently based in Brussels and considers herself a global citizen. 

Monika Kokoszycka

Monika Kokoszycka is the chair of AIIC’s UK & Ireland Region, in which capacity she represents the region on AIIC’s central Advisory Board. She is also a member of AIIC’s VEGA Network, offering guidance and advice to interpreting students and newcomers to the profession. As a freelance conference interpreter, Monika works from German and English into Polish and from Polish into English, and is often to be found interpreting at the EU institutions. She holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and a European Master’s in Conference Interpreting. Monika also has a background in technology and co-founded a mobile tech company in London. 

Organising Committee - AIIC UK & Ireland Regional Bureau 2018-2022

Monika Kokoszycka, Chair, AIIC Advisory Board Member for the UK & Ireland Region
Stefanie MacDonald, Regional Secretary
Françoise Comte, Regional Treasurer
Louise Jarvis, Training and Outreach Officer 
Deborah Muylle, PR Officer
Monica Robiglio, Regional Webmaster