As more and more interpreting has gone virtual, we've all been searching for ways to teach and practice online.

Consecutive has proven relatively easy: Simply record yourself using your smartphone or computer, then send the recording to a peer. They can provide feedback in writing or even as a series of voice messages.

But simultaneous is trickier, since many remote interpreting platforms don't let you listen to the original and the interpretation at the same time. As a result, most colleagues connect to a meeting or practice session with two devices -- one to listen to the original and one to hear their colleague or the relay language. (If you're looking for tips on using a hardware or software mixer to hear students or colleagues in real-time settings, check out our free Getting the Right Mix mini-course. 🎛)

Today, we share our thoughts on GoReact, a web-based platform that makes it easy to record the original and simultaneous interpretation, adjust the volume while listening back to both tracks and provide feedback using text, audio or video. Plus, since GoReact supports dual video tracks, it's perfect for both signed and spoken language interpreting practice. Let's take a look!

Setting up an assignment

In GoReact, students access assignments in a virtual classroom.

As a trainer, you can preload speeches for upcoming classes and practice sessions or even for an entire course. You can also decide when you'd like an assignment to be published and how long you'd like it to be available -- from minutes to months. For graded assignments or exams, limit students to a single shot at a speech by selecting "single recording attempt."

GoReact supports audio and video files, as well as YouTube: just pop in a link and the video will automatically be imported into the media player. Students can also upload their own source media, which is great for self-study or practice groups.

Pick from several assignment types: The "standard" assignment allows participants to record or upload a video for feedback, while in "comment only" mode, students can analyze a speech or interpretation. But the real standout is simultaneous interpreting. In a "stimulus" assignment, participants watch a video (or listen to an audio file) while recording their own rendition. GoReact syncs the original and a student's interpretation, making self-assessment and feedback a breeze.

Our demo video shows you how to set up an assignment and listen back to dual-channel audio and video.

Reviewing your work

After interpreting, review video tracks in sync: Once you push play, both videos will start playing. Use the two volume sliders to adjust the volume on either video or the mute buttons to quickly focus on either the original or interpretation.

Feedback

Synchronized video tracks are already impressive, but the feedback features in GoReact take the cake.

For starters, GoReact uses time codes to link feedback to a specific point in the interpretation - a huge time-saver. As you're watching a video, simply type feedback and GoReact will pause automatically. Hit Enter to store your feedback, and the video picks up right where you left off.

Even more impressively, GoReact supports text, audio and video feedback. Tips on pronunciation? Record an audio message. Suggestions about signing parameters such as handshape, use of space, or non-manual features? Film a quick video response.

When you're ready to review feedback, there's no need to rewatch the entire video. Just click on a comment to jump straight to that spot.

Want to ask a follow-up question or unpack a comment? Click the reply button to respond with a text, audio or video message - which will be conveniently grouped with the original feedback.

GoReact also allows you to download audio or video - either the rendition or a piece of feedback. However, to watch the two video files in sync, see the feedback and use time codes, you'll need to use the web interface.

Finally, if you're a trainer, you can adjust the permissions in GoReact. You decide who is allowed to provide feedback. You can also set up robust rubrics and markers - customized, color- and time-coded labels that allow you to group comments into categories (i.e. "eye contact," "misunderstanding," "great job") with a single click.

Want to see the GoReact feedback features in action? Check out our video.

Wrap-up

GoReact is a web-based, commercial tool designed for universities and other institutions. We've spent the last year testing GoReact, and give it two thumbs up!

We're especially impressed by the robust feedback options, which allow participants, peers and instructors to provide written, audio or video feedback. Since GoReact supports video natively, it's ideal for both spoken and sign languages. (In fact, their website includes a wealth of training resources for sign language interpreters.)

GoReact also integrates with various learning management systems, offering single-sign on for Canvas, Moodle and Blackboard users. And if you're using Zoom, it can capture video and pop it straight into GoReact for a round of feedback.

Overall, GoReact stands out for its synched multi-track video and robust feedback features, making it one of the best tools we've tested for online simultaneous interpreting practice and testing.

Full disclosure: GoReact provided techforword with a free evaluation license. This is our unbiased review.

This article was originally posted in the April 2021 edition of the ToolBox Journal.


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