The international association of conference interpreters (AIIC) Private Market Sector (PRIMS) meeting doubled its delegate numbers when the conference came to London’s IMO earlier this month.

With remote/distant interpreting an area of great concern for the profession, the London conference drew 170 members and meant organisers had to find a larger venue than initially envisaged.

The IMO venue on The Embankment also met the specific technical requirements for the meeting, which included

a hands-on opportunity for AIIC members to try out a number of remote interpreting platforms, and discuss their relative advantages and disadvantages.

The association also released its first set of guidelines for Distance Interpreting ( during the conference.

Another reason for choosing London for the 2019 meeting (AIIC’s previous PRIMS meeting was held in Rio in July 2018 and attracted 80 delegates) was that the profession is acutely aware that political changes with Brexit are likely to have a huge impact for the conference interpreters in the UK and surrounding region.


The opening session for the conference was a presentation by Boyd McCleary, a veteran of the British diplomatic service, who gave his informed views on Brexit and there were reports, too, from the AIIC Regional Bureaux.

One surprise treat for the attendees: at the end of the first day’s meeting session was a screening of a Chuchotage, a Hungarian comedy set in a conference interpreters’ booth. The film is currently shortlisted for an Oscar.

The film’s director had told AIIC he was amused and delighted at the prospect of a hall full of professional interpreters watching his film. A short interview with him can be seen on the AIIC website:

During a pre-conference social event, former CMW columnist Dr Rob Davidson gave a short speech on the importance of quality interpreting at international conferences. He told CMW:

“Qualified, high-level interpreting makes all the difference between a great conference and an indifferent one. The AIIC interpreters in the booths are really unsung heroes of the industry.”

Article by Paul Colston, Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World, January 2019

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