How to use Mexcla

There are two ways to use Mexcla: via web conferencing from a desktop or laptop computer, or via a dial in number. The web conferencing does not work via mobile devices.

Click the button to log in.

Login to Mexcla

This will redirect you to this page:

IUF Mexcla

A message will pop up – probably at the top of your browser window – asking permission to use your microphone and speakers. Click allow.

Audio channels

There are three audio channels:

  1. Hear original language. This is the main conference room, and you will hear the language chosen as the main or majority language. You will enter this by default when you log in.
  2. Hear interpretation. If you don’t understand the language in the main room above, click this option. You will hear the interpreter.
  3. Provide interpretation. If you are the interpreter, login here.

The people in Channel 1 can only hear other people in Channel 1. The people in Channel 2 can hear other people in Channel 2, as well as the interpreter in Channel 3. The interpreter in Channel 3 can hear *both* Channel 1 and 2, and provides interpretation in both directions. For this reason, it’s good practice to speak slowly and clearly – and one at a time – to give the interpreter time.

You can type comment in the box below, such as an agenda, a request to speak or a clarification.

When you connect, you will by default enter the original language channel. Let’s say for the sake of argument that the conference is in English and Spanish. If you log in and hear English, and you speak English, that’s fine. But if you want to hear Spanish, you will need to click hear translation. This will connect you to the channel with the translator.

In the same way, if you hear people speaking Spanish, and you need an English translation, switch channels.

Important: In a conference, you will need to switch back and forth between channels to hear your language.

Interpretation

The system works with human interpreters. This is just like having interpreters sitting in booths at international conferences, except that in this case the interpreters are online. You will need to organise your own interpreters.

Other features

There are a number of other features. For instance, you can create shared document in the Notepad box, or chat to other users.

Troubleshooting

Mexcla not working? Here are the three most likely reasons:

  1. Browser. Make sure you’re using Chrome. Mexcla should work on the latest version of Firefox too, but Chrome is the most consistent.
  2. Network firewall. If you’re on a corporate network, it might block communications portals. You will find that Skype and other protocols don’t work either.
  3. Hardware problems. You may have trouble with the mic and sound on your computer.

About Mexcla

USi is developing a multilingual web conferencing facility. The software is experimental and does not work perfectly yet, but is actively being developed.

Because the system is audio only, it uses low bandwidth and is suitable for use with participants in developing countries or other places where internet access isn’t great.

We’d appreciate your feedback as we test and develop it.

The system is built using WebRTC, a new, open technology allowing browsers to connect to each other and enable Real Time Communication (RTC).

Currently, the only browsers that implement WebRTC are Chrome/Chromium, the latest versions of Firefox, and Opera. If you want to use the web conferencing, you will need to use one of these. Implementation is probably best in Chrome.

As this technology becomes more widely used, we expect Internet Explorer and Safari to start implementing it too.

Development

The project is being actively developed. Some of the features that are currently being built include:

  • A UK phone in number
  • More language channels
  • Ability to select just one channel to hear your language
  • A moderator function that will allow the conference organiser to set languages and so on
  • Ability to see who is online
  • Creation of more channels (so many conferences can happen at once)

We are also investigating adding some other features:

  • Video
  • Ability to share slides and documents