Live Interpreting during the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Medium, the Mode and the Model

Document Type : Original Research


Independent Researcher, Sydney, Australia


Rapid advances in communication technology, coupled with a restrictive pandemic, have led to changes to how interpreters work and deliver their services. The Pandemic has forced interpreters to work off-site: from home and online. While the mode of delivery is not entirely new, the model is. The paper examines the experience of a Sydney interpreter during the Covid-19 pandemic which witnessed a severe lockdown (June 2021) with members of the Australian army patrolling certain suburbs. In response to the unusual situation, the state government of New South Wales, Australia’s largest state decided to hold a daily press conference. When it was decided to make the press conference available in certain community languages, live interpreting was the mode selected. While the medium of a virtual studio was easily set up, the experience proved to be not only new but a challenge given the complexities of the situation. The paper examines the professional activity of interpreting the state premier’s daily press conference; an experience that would be called upon nine months later during the Australian Federal elections in May 2022.


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