The short answer
One of the essential features of the interpreterQ software suite is to record both a source speech and student interpretations for later evaluation.
Earlier versions of our software used “single file recording”: both source and interpretation were recorded in a single mp4 or mp3 file, with the source audio recorded on the left track and the interpretation recorded on the right track.
The current version of interpreterQ uses “multi-file recording”, which means that source and interpretation are recorded in separate files, and played back in a synchronized way in the interpreterQ Media Player (iQMP).
Why use multi-file recording?
This new approach has a number of advantages :
- Storing source and interpretation in separate files also means that the recordings can be done on separate locations. More specifically the source can be recorded locally on the PC from which it is being streamed. This means that the recording will not suffer from any possible degrading caused by network issues, which can occur when recording the source stream at the receiver side (the student PCs) instead.
- Recording a video source on the teacher PC instead of on the student PCs gives another major advantage: at the end of an interpretation exercise, the source recording is immediately available on the teacher PC, and the files collected from the student PCs can contain only the student voice recordings. Especially in case of longer exercises, this will take much less time than collecting full mp4 recordings containing both source video and student voice.
- When using boothcams for student evaluation, recording source and interpretation in separate files allows to simultaneously record both source video and student webcams. The single file recording system only allowed the audio of both to be stored, respectively on left and right audio track, while source video could not be stored along with the student webcam.
- iQMP (interpreterQ Media Player) is specifically designed to cope with this multi-file approach. It for instance provides a “Picture In Picture” layout, which allows to visualize both a video source and a student webcam (preview or recording) simultaneously. Thanks to the multi-file storage it is possible during review to adapt this PIP view to your preference, by dragging the overlay to any of the screen corners, or by dragging the overlay to center screen in order to swap the overlay content between source and interpretation video.
- This flexible Picture In Picture view is also available in interpreterQ, since the review screen of interpreterQ actually uses an embedded iQ Media Player for playback of the recordings.
- When a teacher is evaluating multiple student recordings, he can easily switch between student recordings during playback of the exercise. The source file playback is never interrupted, instead the selected student recording is shown in sync with this source playback. This allows smooth switching between different student recordings during evaluation. This behavior is available both in interpreterQ (for evaluation during class) and iQMP (for later evaluation at home)
- In order to take full advantage of the described multi-file playback possibilities, a free license for iQMP is available, so that students can perform or review interpretation exercises in multi-file mode, and teachers can export exercises created in the classroom to an iQMP project file to be used at home for review. Such project file typically consists of multiple AV files: both the source file and each of the student recordings, along with the necessary metadata about optional markers and textual feedback.
What are the drawbacks of the multi-file recording system?
As we just summed up a extensive list of advantages which made us decide to move interpreterQ towards a multi-file recording system, it is inevitable that this choice introduces some drawbacks too. However, we offer a solution to each of those drawbacks.
- Since a source is now being recorded at the “sender” side (teacher PC) instead of being recorded multiple times at the “receiver” side (student PCs), the source recording is not immediately available to the students at the end of an exercise. This makes it impossible for the students to open a previous streaming exercise on their student PC and continue working on it.
With the release of interpreterQ v.2.0, we again offer this functionality for students to individually continue working on a previous streaming exercise, through the "Resume" option, which is described in following article: Continue practicing with an earlier recording
- The result of an exercise is by default not available as a single recording file. Some external examiners for instance may demand such single-file recording for evaluation of the exercise in any third party media player.
For that reason iQMP contains an “Export” function which creates a single mp3 or mp4 file from source file + student recording. For exercises containing both source video and a student camera recording, the chosen Picture In Picture layout is retained in the resulting video file.
What if I insist using the single-file recording system as I was used to?
If the multiple arguments given above are not convincing you, it is still possible for an administrator to revert the current interpreterQ suite to use single-file recording. This is done in the “Recording” configuration tab :
When activating this option, please take into account that this is not the preferred way of using interpreterQ, and following restrictions apply :
- the "resume" functionality mentioned before (see Continue practicing with an earlier recording ) cannot be used, since iQMP is designed from the ground up to work with separate source and student recordings
- the interpreterQ review screen will not contain all the features mentioned in the documentation (see The Review screen ). For single-file recordings the review screen needs to revert to an older version of the media player component, which doesn't contain recent features like for instance the possibility to add text feedback etc.