Teaching interpreting in the time of Covid: exploring the feasibility of using GATHER

Chen-En Ho*, Yuan Zou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Interpreter education has undergone tremendous changes in the past two years due to COVID-19, with training being confined to the virtual environment, done mostly on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or other video-conferencing platforms, with many drawbacks reported, including the necessity of operating multiple platforms simultaneously for teaching simultaneous interpreting to simulate what on-site training can provide. There are now signs of returning to campus, but the uncertain development of the pandemic renders the arrangement precarious and demands educators to be flexible and hybrid-mode-ready to accommodate individual needs as they arise. Many differences exist between distance and on-site learning, and therefore the pedagogy for one cannot be entirely replicated for the other. Interpreting scenarios that rely less on interaction or non-verbal communication are easier to accommodate in both remote and on-site settings, though designing and implementing activities, providing feedback, and maintaining classroom dynamics are still harder in virtual classrooms. By contrast, training for escort and public service interpreting is difficult to be delivered remotely because non-verbal cues, which play a bigger role in these settings, are harder to capture or they disappear entirely, including gesture, facial expression, posture, and proximity. This study explores how the challenges facing distance interpreter education can be mitigated using Gather, a proximity-based platform. Online synchronous CI and SI teaching setups for two mock events were introduced, and a questionnaire was used to understand sixteen students’ experience with Gather, Microsoft Teams, and face-to-face training. Preliminary findings show that the majority of the participants are positive about Gather, and it has the potential to bridge the gap between distance and on-site interpreter education in both online and offline interpreting scenarios, although its applicability remains to be tested with a larger sample size. The findings also point to the potential of Gather being an affordable, immersive one-stop solution for post-pandemic interpreter training, allowing for flexible teaching designs that involve various combinations of in-person and remote participants and trainee interpreters.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 20 Jul 2022
EventAPTIS 2022: Translation and interpreting pedagogy in a post-pandemic world: new opportunities and challenges - University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Nov 202219 Nov 2022


ConferenceAPTIS 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • interpreter education
  • virtual learning environment
  • synchronous teaching and learning online
  • Gather


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