The IVY project addresses the needs of students of interpreting in higher education and (future) users of interpreting services (‘clients’) in higher education, vocational training and adult learning contexts. Its point of departure was the dearth of training resources for two settings of interpreting that have grown in importance in the last decade – business and community interpreting.
The major aim was to develop an avatar-based 3D virtual environment that simulates professional interpreting practice in these settings and to populate this environment with relevant pedagogic content such as appropriate spoken source texts for interpreting practice in several languages. The IVY solution enables the different user groups to acquire and apply the skills required for interpreting especially in business and community settings, as well as for working with an interpreter in such settings.
This overall aim of the project was subdivided into a number of more specific objectives, namely:
- to create an adaptive 3D the virtual environment that meets the needs of trainee interpreters and those who need to learn about how to work with interpreters;
- to develop a range of interpreting scenarios (e.g. a business meeting room, a court room, a tourist office, a community centre) that can be run in different modes (‘interpreting practice’, ‘exploration’ and ‘live’);
- to develop multilingual content for use in the interpreting scenarios of the virtual environment (as source texts for interpreting practice), by using and adapting existing multimedia corpora from the LLP project BACKBONE  and the ELISA corpus , and creating three new corpora in Greek, Russian and Hebrew;
- to create pedagogical activities for interpreting students and users of interpreting services (e.g. interpreting skills, awareness-raising activities);
- to test and evaluate the virtual environment and the pedagogic content (the multilingual material and the pedagogical activities) from both functional and pedagogical perspectives;
- to disseminate the IVY products and outcomes with a particular focus on the IVY evaluation workshops and an end-of-project dissemination seminar;
- to exploit the potential of the IVY solution and products, with a specific focus on the potential areas for further development and the creation of good practice guidelines which explore how best to integrate the IVY solution into existing educational frameworks.
The project provides a learning environment which (a) uses the potential of 3D technology to enable learners from different contexts and different educational sectors and to meet and interact, learn with customised digital content and apply their knowledge; (b) fosters experiential and autonomous learning in a virtual setting, and supports collaborative learning through simulation and live interaction, (c) is adaptable to other educational contexts.
The IVY solution has three working modes:
- Interpreting practice mode: audio monologues and bilingual audio dialogues that are characteristic of a chosen scenario, with language and theme options (e.g. ‘a Greek-English interview with an IT expert’), that allow students to practise interpreting or to observe. The monologues and dialogues are accompanied by learning activities for trainee interpreters to practise individual interpreting skills (e.g. active listening, note-taking) and to prepare for and reflect on their interpreting practice.
- Exploration mode: induction to interpreting (linguistic, cultural, ethical and practical issues), using guidance notes and interactive panels, for raising client awareness
- Live mode: interpreter students and ‘clients’ can meet in the virtual space for joint practice and discussion to bridge the traditional divide between them.
For a demo, please see our video clips.