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What Is Video Remote Interpreting?

Another interpreting service that is proving quite crucial in today’s trying times is video remote interpreting or VRI. Remote video interpreting uses video phones or web cameras to provide spoken language and sign language interpretation services. It’s an essential service during emergencies when an in-person interpreter cannot be present in court or hospital immediately.

VRI is a cost-effective alternative to in-person interpreting. Aside from the lower cost, the client can easily access an interpreter, which is why it is projected to grow soon.

What is video remote interpreting service?

The process of accessing video remote interpreting service is the same as when using an over-the-phone interpreting service. The client creates an account, dials a specific number, key-in the language codes, and connects to an interpreter within seconds.

With VRI, the person needing interpretation service can see the interpreter. The service allows for a two-way or three-way call. One advantage is that the interpreter can see the facial expression, hand movements, and body language of the customer, which gives the interpreter clues as to what the customer is feeling and address some cultural sensitivities. VRI minimizes the risk of misinterpretation.

Video remote interpreting is useful for people who are hard of hearing. The person who hears can be in the same room as the person who uses sign language. When the person with hearing difficulty signs, the interpreter voices the interpretation for the person who hears and speaks and signs for the hearing impaired. The conversation can proceed as if they are all in the same room.

The video remote interpreting service does not need any unique communication tool. You can use a computer with a webcam and microphone or a laptop with a built-in camera and microphone. In some settings, the client uses a larger monitor. A more sophisticated approach is using a videoconferencing app. What is more important is for the call to be private and secure.

Just like other interpreters, remote video interpreters are certified. Most of them are subject matter experts, ensuring clients the accuracy of the interpretation.

How does video remote interpreting service help?

Video remote interpreting offers several benefits that an in-person interpreting service provides. However, the service is more cost-efficient and convenient for many customers. Customers can access the service and have an interpreter available. Likewise, an interpreter can still provide service even in a potentially dangerous situation.

Hospital emergency rooms and police stations have used video remote interpreting services for many years. The service is likewise essential for healthcare and medical purposes, where an interpreter’s services are immediately required.

Video remote interpreting is not only for the healthcare, medical, or law enforcement sectors. Several sectors are increasingly using the service as an affordable alternative when they need an interpreter in a hurry. Customers do not have to pay for accommodation and travel expenses. Moreover, the service is straightforward to use, as most customers are familiar with videoconferencing.

Who can use video remote interpreting?

It is not always possible for an in-person interpreter to be present for a meeting, consultation, or conference. VRI serves many industry sectors that deal with multilingual partners.

International business

Although some online conferencing apps have foreign language support, it is not enough to provide a solution for cultural and language barriers. Using a VRI service, companies engaging in global business can communicate with each other in real-time without any mistake. A skilled linguist becomes a cultural liaison to facilitate business meetings and conferences and close deals.

The service eliminates the need to travel, especially during this time when the COVID-19 pandemic challenges the world, and physical contact should be avoided, and social distancing is imposed.

VRI can assist multilingual teams in different locations to discuss issues immediately, without incurring travel costs.

Legal services

Court hearings and trials can be lengthy, and sometimes the postponement of essential hearings becomes inevitable because of the non-availability of a court interpreter. In some cases, the only alternative is to use a video remote interpreter in the court.

Since 1996, the Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the United States has been using VRI when they conduct immigration hearings for non-English and hearing-impaired individuals.

In the U.S., the law requires the presence of an interpreter when a non-English speaker signs an official document in a foreign language. Since it is costlier to have an in-person interpreter present for an occasion that only takes a few minutes, a VRI service is the best alternative.


The demand for medical interpreting services in the U.S. keeps getting higher, as more people with limited English language proficiency enter the country. Medical interpreting requires interpreters who are experts in the field. Aside from specialization and experience, they need certification.

Emergency rooms of healthcare facilities often use VRI services to help identify patients’ symptoms, explain the treatment procedures to the patient, and get their consent. Moreover, VRI is valuable during regular medical appointments to ensure that the patients understand their treatment plans, medication, and prescriptions. With proper understanding, the incidence of re-admission of patients with limited English language proficiency (LEP) decreases.


Immigrants continue to arrive in the United States, and many of them come from countries where English is not a universal language. Although the youngest members of the family often learn the local language faster, the older members of the family typically find it challenging to learn English.

Many schools provide VRI services to ensure that immigrant parents can understand their children’s progress in school and communicate with teachers and other school officials.

A VRI service also provides language support for children with developmental delays or disabilities.

Is VRI an on-demand or scheduled interpreting service?

Video remote interpreting can either be scheduled or on-demand. The need for interpreting services depends on your situation. Some companies and organizations subscribe to the service to quickly get access to a qualified and professional interpreter anytime. On-demand VRI services apply to legal services and medical and healthcare facilities.

Other organizations only require VRI services on occasion. Thus, they pre-arrange the service, booking an appointment in advance to ensure that all the participants are available at the same time and date.

eTS offers you the best interpreting solutions anywhere you are

eTranslation Services serves the international community, domestically or offshore. Our native-speaking interpreters for on-site, over-the-phone interpreting, and video remote interpreting live in-country. It’s your assurance that you will have access to an interpreter anytime you need one, wherever you may be located. Our interpreters are highly skilled linguists and professionally trained subject matter experts. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us whenever you need interpreting services by calling (800) 882-6058 or sending an email to [email protected].

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