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What is Video Remote Interpretation and Why Do I Need It?

If you are reading this, then you’ve probably already began to explore Video Remote Interpretation (VRI). Maybe you’ve already used an on-site or over-the-phone interpreter and want to explore the options that VRI offers. This article will not only explain what Video Remote Interpretation is, it will also explain why and when you should be using it.

What is Video Remote Interpretation?

Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) is the ideal format for professional real-time language access. VRI works by connecting an interpreter, who is typically at a call center equipped with a headset and video camera, with people who need assistance with communicating in various languages.

VRI should not be confused with Over-the-Phone (OPI) Interpretation, where a telephone conversation between two people at different locations is interpreted. For more information on Over-the-Phone Interpretation, make sure to check out the article What is Over-the-Phone Interpretation And When Do I Need It?

Today’s Video Remote Interpretation

Today’s VRI has come a long way from the high set-up costs and technological requirements of yesterday’s services. Some language providers offer Video Remote in broadcast quality with faster connection speeds than ever before. Services are often available 24/7/365, and can be accessed on range of devices. Due to an abundance of competition, Video Remote Interpretation is more competitively priced than it has ever been, meaning it is ideal for organizations of all sizes and budgets.

How Much Does Video Remote Interpretation Cost?

VRI is usually charged on a per minute basis. Costs may vary based on whether an interpreter is needed immediately or is scheduled. Bulk users of the service may qualify for discounts by entering into an agreement with a Language Service provider.

When Do You Need Video Remote Interpretation?

Here are several example scenarios where Video Remote Interpretation would be ideal:

  • Lack of available interpreters

    When there are not any available interpreters on-site, VRI becomes a good option.

  • Need to interpret a unique language

    When a unique language is required, Video Remote Interpretation offers the flexibility to accommodate languages and dialects that might not be offered locally or readily available.

  • Urgent need of an interpreter

    When an interpreter is needed immediately and there is no available interpreter on-site, such as in a hospital setting, Video Remote becomes an ideal option.

  • When Sign Language is Needed

    Video Remote Interpretation makes interpretation in American Sign Language possible. This is perfect for contact centers wanting to assist customers who may be deaf or hard of hearing.

  • When Multiple Parties Want to Join a Call

    In situations where multiple people need the aid of the interpreter, Video Remote can often accommodate multiple parties. Make sure to check with your language services provider to see if they accommodate multiple parties on VRI calls.

  • Social distancing

    World events, such as a health pandemic, may require social distancing measures. This makes Video Remote Interpretation an ideal medium by which to utilize the services of an interpreter without having to meet in person.

Examples of Industries Where Video Remote Interpretation is Used

Here are some industries and settings where VRI is often used.

  • Medical and Healthcare

    When a patient’s primary language is not English, on-demand language support like VRI makes it possible to communicate quickly and effectively, regardless of the language the patient speaks. Video remote is helpful during consultations, diagnosis and during Telemedicine (aka Telehealth) sessions. VRI is also convenient for teams that are in the field, including first responders such as paramedics.

    Learn more about translation and interpretation services for healthcare.

  • Legal and Courts

    Legal and court settings are ideal for utilizing an interpreter via Video Remote, especially in judicial proceedings and court operations that are conducted remotely.

  • Education

    Video remote services are ideal for when educators or administrators need to communicate with English Learner (EL) students and parents/guardians with limited English proficiency (LEP). The technology is ideal for parent teacher conferences and at-home learning.

    Learn more about interpretation and translation for education.

  • Travel and Hospitality

    The travel and hospitality industry requires ongoing communication with customers in multiple languages. Adding video remote interpretation to your customer support can improve guest experience and increase bookings while reducing cancellations and complaints.

  • Contact Centers

    Contact Centers (sometimes referred to as call centers) managers who wish to upgrade their customer service experience have opted for Video Remote Interpretation. It is ideal for serving customers that are deaf or hard of hearing by utilizing an American Sign Language interpreter.

    Learn more about language services for contact centers.

  • Business

    Scheduling an interpreter with a background in your business discipline or industry can even better help bridge the language gap during negotiations, meetings or during an event such as a webinar or shareholder meeting.

Best Practices and Tips for Conducting a Video Remote Interpretation Call

Here are some best practices for conducting a Video Remote Interpretation call.

  • High Speed Internet

    Even though having high speed internet access is not a requirement with some video services, it will improve the quality of the call, especially the definition of the video feed. If you want high quality incoming/outgoing video, you’ll want to ensure that you have high speed internet. Make sure to also check that there is available bandwidth on your network, so you are not competing against other users.

  • Quiet Setting

    You’ll need to hear your clients clearly as well as be heard clearly on the call. This means conducting the video call in a quiet, distraction-free place when possible.

  • Good Microphone

    A high quality microphone makes a big difference. Your mobile device might have a sufficient microphone, but be sure to test it before you conduct a video session. Headsets or headphones, made for conference calling with directional microphones, tend to help minimize background noise.

  • Good Audio Speakers

    If you plan to join meetings on speaker phone and are not using a headset, you will need to make sure your speakers don’t create feedback or echo through your microphone. Make sure your voice does not come through your own speakers, and that the sound from the speakers does not come through your mic to the other members of the call.

  • Enunciate Clearly

    On a video call, or even on phone call, it is especially important to enunciate clearly for the interpreter.

  • Professional Background

    Your environment can tell a lot about you as a person. If you really want to take your video calls to the next level, try staging your background. You can do this with a professional screen, good lighting, and a well-placed camera. Plain walls or even staged walls with framed artwork add a professional touch to your video calls.

  • Perform a Test Call

    Make sure to run a test call before the video call begins. Open the video channel and do a sound check to make sure it is working and clear. Test the microphone and camera angle before the call begins.

Accommodating Tens of Millions of Non-English Speakers in the United States with Video Remote

The Center for Immigration Studies finds that 67.3 million residents in the United States now speak a language other than English at home.1 Additionally, in North America (the United States and Canada), estimates are that there are 250,000 to 500,000 people who use American Sign Language (ASL).Providing language support with Video Remote Interpretation is a method to serve both important groups.



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