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Evaluating Interpreting in Virtual Reality

Evaluating Interpreting in Virtual Reality

New Computing Technologies Animation and Games Workshop- Presentation of the EU LLP project EVIVA, evaluating the performance of VLEs in interpreter-mediated communication and training

Panagiotis D. Ritsos

May 15, 2014
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  1. Panagiotis “Panos” D. Ritsos, Robert Gittins and Jonathan C. Roberts
    {p.ritsos, r.gittins, j.c.roberts} @bangor.ac.uk
    NEW COMPUTER TECHNOLOGIES WALES – ANIMATION & GAMES WORKSHOP – 15TH MAY 2014

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  2. Summary
    • Introduction to our use-case
    • Overview of project EVIVA
    • Brief overview of IVY – Virtual Environment (IVY-VE)
    • Challenges, solutions and opportunities
    • Future steps

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  3. Our use case…
    Training and simulation for interpreter-mediated
    communications
    • The rise of migration and multilingualism in Europe requires professional
    interpreters in business, legal, medical and many other settings.
    • Future interpreters therefore need to master an ever broadening range of
    interpreting scenarios and skills.
    • This is difficult to achieve with traditional teaching methods and in times of
    reduced teaching contact hours.
    • Also, a client-side understanding of what working with an interpreter
    involves is crucial, but efforts to educate potential clients of interpreters are
    scarce and normally separate from interpreter education.

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  4. Our projects…
    Interpreting in Virtual Reality (2011 – 2012)
    • …address the needs of future interpreters and users of interpreters in higher
    education, vocational training and adult learning contexts
    • …use 3D virtual environment technology to create an adaptive, learning
    environment that supports the acquisition and application of skills required in
    interpreter-mediated communication
    Evaluating the Education of Interpreters and their Clients through Virtual
    Learning Activities (2013 – 2014)
    • …evaluate the educational opportunities that three types of virtual learning
    environments — 3D virtual worlds, videoconference tools and video
    repositories of training material— offer for future interpreters and their clients

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  5. Projects relationship
    Timeline to projects relative to EVIVA
    Bangor, Surrey, Tubingen, StC Steinbeis, U. Adam Mickiewicz, U. Cyprus, Bar-Ilan, UVEG
    2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
    EVIVA
    StC, Surrey
    Surrey, StC, UVEG
    Bangor, Surrey, StC, UAM, UCY, Bar-llan
    Bangor, Surrey, StC, UAM, UCY
    ELISA
    BACKBONE
    IVY
    Evaluation & analysis of user behaviour
    in relation to UX, pedagogy in VLEs
    used for interpreting, (including IVY-VE)
    Implementation of a 3D VLE based on the
    synergy of Second Life and web tech
    (Appfuse) through the SL URI namespace
    Repositories of audiovisual
    corpus material of interpreting-
    specific scenarios

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  6. EVIVA - aims
    • The aims of EVIVA project are:
    – to investigate the efficiency of VLEs and how they support different learning activities
    – to develop innovative evaluation methods for this investigation
    – to formulate design recommendations and guidelines for VLEs in interpreting
    • By evaluating educational solutions that reflect real-life situations, EVIVA contributes to
    bringing together the worlds of work and education.
    • Outcomes will inform VLE design and will be transferable to other fields of education
    • One of the evaluated VLEs is IVY-VE

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  7. Virtual Environment requirements
    • Re-create scenarios, using a large audio corpus, using a multi-user virtual world
    – ~75 scenarios shared around 20 locations
    • Enrich the corpus with more languages (for each scenario)
    – EN, GE, FR, GR, HE, RU, PL to begin with, followed by CH, IT, SP
    • Allow interpreting tutors (who can not program, sigh!) to add content on their own
    • Built three modes into the system: a training/simulation mode, a live mode and an
    exhibition mode.
    • Get the environment working in six months for students to use…

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  8. IVY-VE – our plan (circa 2011)
    • Due to time limitations, previous experience and existing assets we chose to
    built our IVY-VE around Second Life virtual world,
    – Advantages
    • easy to fabricate locations for our scenarios
    • easy to `built’ a multiplayer world
    • no special needs for infrastructure
    • wide use in academia and education
    – Disadvantages
    • No instancing, zoning and replication (like in MMOs)
    • No mature implementations for NPCs
    • A bit erratic at the time with maintenance service breaks

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  9. IVY-VE – Scenarios
    Interpreter
    Actor
    Observer Interpreter
    Actor A Actor B
    Observer
    Monologue Dialogue
    • Actors can be users or Non-player Characters (NPCs)
    • User is the interpreter – his audio is not recorded at this point

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  10. IVY-VE – architecture
    • IVY-VE comprises of three components (plus a database)
    – A scenario management system (SMS) that allows tutors to upload, edit and manage
    content. The scenarios are associated with locations in SL (user class: administrators)
    – The IVY island where most settings are built (user class: all + observers)
    – A Heads-up display, (using the HTML-on-a-prim feature) working as an extension to the
    SL GUI, giving access to the scenarios and initiating in-world events through the SL URI
    namespace (user class: interpreter)
    Virtual
    World
    Scenario Selection Menu (HUD)
    Scenes
    Scenario Management
    IVY-VE Interface
    Second
    Life
    Web
    User
    Administrator
    Observer

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  11. IVY-VE – our actors
    • Two types of actors used – `dummies’ and ‘bots’
    – Bots have better appearance, can be controlled by whispers and through a telnet server...
    … but seem to have a mind on their own on zone restarts
    – Dummies are more stable but not realistically animated and of mediocre quality
    – In-house built dummies, (imported from Autodesk Pinocchio Project, tweaked in Maya etc.)

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  12. IVY-VE – HUD

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  13. IVY-VE – without instancing…
    • Each location can hold more than one scenarios,
    e.g., more than one taking place in an office setting
    • Due to that, we replicated popular locations into our
    skyboxes
    • Once a scenario is selected by a user all scenarios
    taking place on that location become unavailable to
    the remaining users
    • Upon scenario selection the HUD becomes a player
    • Teleportation events (to the scenarios location) are
    initiated
    • The user is required to press a teleport button

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  14. Preliminary evaluation
    • IVY-VE has been used in Interpreter training and modules, since 01/2012, in various sites:
    – University of Surrey, Center of Translation Studies
    – Adam Mickiewicz, Department of Translation Studies
    – University of Cyprus, Department of English Studies
    • Preliminary UX evaluations where conducted towards the end of 2012
    • Interpreters appeared quite excited to have IVY-VE…
    • …but are they biased from having a dedicated tool (which they did not in the past)?
    • Longer, more thorough evaluation is required, as well as comparison with other tools
    Interpreters may use
    • This led to the EVIVA project…

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  15. EVIVA – adapting IVY-VE
    • Two new scenario hubs added on a seperate SL island.
    – A visitors centre, used for project promotion, access to the public etc.
    – An evaluation centre, used for the evaluation sessions taking place in
    2014
    – `Vanilla’ IVY-VE is still used by postgraduate students
    • New locations, using higher quality 3D assets added throughout the
    two additional hubs
    • Separate SMS and HUDs are used for each island

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  16. EVIVA– locations
    Replication of locations on skyboxes Visitors Centre
    Evaluation Centre Additional scenario locations

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  17. EVIVA - evaluation

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  18. EVIVA – opportunities - I
    • In EVIVA we can explore UX using new interfaces, such as Oculus Rift and the CtrlAltStudio
    Viewer (and soon the SL viewer) and the Razer Hydra

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  19. EVIVA – opportunities - II
    • We have also been experimenting with the implementation of a new bespoke system using various
    technologies, like WebGL/Three.js and Unity3D

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  20. Future challenges
    • We still have lots to do regarding:
    – Avatars, movement, realism
    – Customizable NPCs
    – Multiplayer functionality (instancing, replication, zoning etc.)
    – Reuse of our Scenario Management System
    – Synchronized facial animations and gestures
    • If this is your area and expertise or share the same questions…
    lets have a chat about it!

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  21. Thank you!
    http://www.virtual-interpreting.net
    @vr_interpreting
    @ritsos_p

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