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Rules about recording interpreters for live streaming and diffusion on internet
Thread poster: Chapeau Melon

Chapeau Melon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
French to English
+ ...
Nov 19, 2012

Hello everyone,

Within the last year or so, we have been experiencing a trend, that of live streaming.

With the rise in the use of live streaming on the internet (a marvelous tool), customers are beginning to diffuse interpreters voices over the internet during live events. It wasn't so much a problem when the transmission was purely an internal communication, but more and more, these transmissions are viewable and audible by anyone.
We are often not told of this, and only find out during the mission itself.

Furthermore, recently an entire mission (5 languages), was not only transmitted live, but it was recorded, and is now available on the internet for everyone to see.

Does my customer have the right to do this? I am having trouble finding information about intellectual property rights. As a company providing the service, at the very least I believe we should be informed of the intended use. Does anyone know if there are any rules regarding this, or laws even?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week everyone!

Charles
Chapeau Melon


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
What's the Problem? Nov 20, 2012

I would say that if you have been paid your agreed-upon fee for providing the service, then that is enough. Whatever the client wishes to do with it (record it, broadcast it, etc.) does not affect you in the least. It does not require any additional effort on your part; thus it does not deserve any further compensation.

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David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
Member (2009)
French to English
Not sure, but... Nov 20, 2012

Not sure about the legal stuff, but my instinct is the same as Henry's. What is the difference between this perceived "problem" with recording and broadcasting interpretations and receiving and then publishing a translation on the Internet? In both cases the agency has been paid for the service requested (interpretation or translation). They therefore have no further claim to payment. It seems logical that the client will want to make maximum use of the product supplied.

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Chapeau Melon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Considering copyright for music Nov 20, 2012

Thanks for your input Henry and David. Point taken about the no extra effort for the fee. Agreed.

I may be getting confused with my previous job, as advertising manager. When I would use a song for an advertisement for an internal communication, no problem, little cost. However, if we were to decide to use that advert on the TV, we would pay huge royalties to SACEM (France) for the same project. Obviously in this case, an interpreter's voice isn't registered with the SACEM.

An actor providing his voice for a radio commercial will be paid according to the perimeter of where the advertisement will be played, and for how long the ad will be played.

Secondly, I believe that as simultaneous interpretation is not an exact science, and however hard we try, the service won't be perfect. With hindsight, a listener, that could be the customer, could well point out some minor errors. To achieve perfection, I believe that videos should be dubbed with a voice over before going on-line.

Most of all, I would prefer to know. If I am interpreting for 3 Chinese and 2 Polish guys into English I will probably simplify and personalise my delivery, depending on their level of understanding. But if it's going to be transmitted live to the USA, then I will probably enhance my delivery.

Lastly, customers are hard when negotiating budgets, nothing new there. If I knew what was the intended use, then perhaps I could resist being battered down if I had all the cards in my hand.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You definitely have a point here Nov 20, 2012

... and since you are going into it, I'd suggest you consider another use for your simultaneous interpreting.

Please read http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/lecture_en.html to consider the use of your work as a pre-translation for subtitling.

To illustrate my point, I don't translate technical material in medicine, i.e. content written by physicians and intended for physicians as well. I refer such requests to two medical translation specialists I know personally, in my language pair. However neither of them works with video. And yet, the largest number of video translation requests for either dubbing or subtitling that I've turned down were from international medical conferences.

Meanwhile I know a few specialist medical simultaneous interpreters (neither of my experts does interpreting), and if such videos included their recording on a separate channel (i.e. by recording in stereo both channels available from the interpreter's booth equipment), I could easily do it.

Food for thought...


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Chapeau Melon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting José Nov 20, 2012

Thanks for chipping in José. I read your blog.
Food for thought indeed...


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David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
Member (2009)
French to English
Two different angles Nov 20, 2012

The question started off by wondering whether the client had the right to record and broadcast simultaneous interpreting. No one has yet provided evidence to prove that clients do not have this right. As to whether this is a good idea/sound practice, this is another aspect of the issue and is answered by the word "no" by all who care about quality. But some clients want their money to go a long way, even to the point of compromising quality. Nothing new under the sun.

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ParlInt
Local time: 16:00
Right to broadcast / make publically available interpreted content Nov 20, 2012

This has been a lively topic of debate at the European Parliament now that we have live streaming for all committee meetings and plenary sessions, as well as several other meetings.

I don't have the legal arguments up my sleeve to back this up, but I am fairly sure that a client has no right to a) record and b) disseminate/broadcast that recording without express consent of the interpreting team in question. The same argument applies to a live performer at a gig - you have the right to listen if you've bought a ticket, but not to record and distribute the recorded material.

That said, anyone interpreting for any of the European Institutions has expressly agreed to the terms and conditions of their contract (staff or freelance), and the regulations governing our work DO make it clear that the interpreting DG can hand over proprietory rights to anyone it wants to (which it does, of course). If you accept a freelance contract from a non-institutional source, if this is not mentioned in the contract at all then there may be some room for legal wrangling on both sides.

The staff committee managed to organise a disclaimer - so that all live recordings have to be accompanied by a note, which basically says that the interpretation cannot be taken as an accurate rendering of the original (for legal purposes) and is only intended as an aid to communication.

This is an important issue for us: we are sometimes broadcast directly onto BBC, inter alia, where millions could be watching and a mistake could be costly. When Angela Merkel spoke at the Parliament a few weeks ago, the broadcast coverage on the BBC was directly from our booth recording and the financial markets looked on and reacted to it. Without wanting to dramatise the situation, I don't want to be held responsible for that.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What I was thinking precisely Nov 20, 2012

ParlInt wrote:

The staff committee managed to organise a disclaimer - so that all live recordings have to be accompanied by a note, which basically says that the interpretation cannot be taken as an accurate rendering of the original (for legal purposes) and is only intended as an aid to communication.

This is an important issue for us: we are sometimes broadcast directly onto BBC, inter alia, where millions could be watching and a mistake could be costly. When Angela Merkel spoke at the Parliament a few weeks ago, the broadcast coverage on the BBC was directly from our booth recording and the financial markets looked on and reacted to it. Without wanting to dramatise the situation, I don't want to be held responsible for that.


I started out in an aiic-organized outfit and this was made clear to me. I can understand what Henry says, but it's caveat emptor for consumers. The guy who thinks he's buying a commodity clearly doesn't have a good understanding of intepreting mechanics and has to assume his own risk.

[Edited at 2012-11-20 12:22 GMT]


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ParlInt
Local time: 16:00
Caveat Emptor Nov 20, 2012

I agree 100%, Parrot.

It's absolutely nothing to do with additional remuneration either. I do my job and get paid for it regardless of whether it is recorded, and certainly wouldn't ask for more based on that.
However, in a world where people are still unfamiliar with the job we do, one has to be very careful about how an interpreted speech is used. I have a whole DG to stand up for me if I make a slip on primetime BBC news, whereas a freelancer drafted in to work for a non-institutional client doesn't.

I remember a curious incident when President Barroso gave a speech in which, in French he spoke of the need for a "nouvel élan fédérateur" in the European Union. He then paused, and repeated his sentence in English, whereupon he called for "a renewed commitment to the project." Take a moment to think about what the Eurosceptics in Britain made of the interpretation...


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's not even intellectual property either Nov 20, 2012

Anyone who's been to T&I school can see there are as many possible versions as students. But if people are touchy about being quoted out of context, how much more reason wouldn't interpreters have?

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 16:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Discuss in advance Nov 20, 2012

This is definitely something that should be cleared up well in advance. My work has been recorded (for minute-taking purposes, I believe) and live-streamed (from the EP) before. I don't have a problem with it, on the understanding that the disclaimer described by ParlInt applies.
However, other colleagues may be uncomfortable with being broadcast, and I do know one colleague who charges extra if her voice is recorded. I don't charge extra, but I understand where she is coming from.


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Chapeau Melon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Is it really the same: talking to one hundred or to one million? Nov 20, 2012

Thanks to all for adding to this constructive conversation.

As IntParl says :

I don't have the legal arguments up my sleeve to back this up, but I am fairly sure that a client has no right to a) record and b) disseminate/broadcast that recording without express consent of the interpreting team in question. The same argument applies to a live performer at a gig - you have the right to listen if you've bought a ticket, but not to record and distribute the recorded material.

This reassures my thought process. Personally, I am having trouble accepting the fact that an interpreting service provided to one hundred people is worth as much as the same service to one million.

My small outfit works almost exclusively for French private multinationals. We don't have the advantage of being defended by a well-organised structure. But by and large, our customers are reasonable people. I believe that they don't really know the rules either, so it's up to me to guide them through what is right or ethical.

I'm sure we'll find some common ground!


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DCM Linguistics  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:00
Portuguese to English
+ ...
This has been discussed Nov 20, 2012

on interpreting.info quite a few times, please visit the forum if you're not already familiar with it. It's quite helpful.

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Chapeau Melon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:00
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interpreting.info Nov 20, 2012

Thanks Diana, I found this quite enlightening :

http://interpreting.info/questions/438/do-you-charge-extra-when-your-interpreting-is-going-to-be-recorded


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