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Everything You Need to Know About VRI Technology

Everything You Need to Know About Video Remote Interpreting Technology (VRI)
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As the world gets increasingly globalized in every sense, effective communication across language barriers is crucial. Individuals can no longer rely on communicating with fellow native speakers only.

To transcend these communication hurdles, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) emerged as one of the revolutionary language access solutions that enable individuals who speak different languages to communicate effectively.

This comprehensive guide explores the definition, importance, benefits, applications, technology, and best practices of VRI. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding of its evolution over time, possible challenges, and future trends.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and discover how VRI is breaking language barriers and fostering inclusivity across various industries and settings!

What is Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)?

Before we move into the technicalities, it’s important to start from the basics. Therefore, let’s begin with understanding the basics of VRI.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) allows users to connect with interpreters in real-time within minutes through video conferencing technology. This technology eliminates the need for interpreters to be present at the location physically.

In simple words, if you don’t speak a specific language, an interpreter can hop onto the preferred video-conferencing platform and interpret what’s being said in your language.
These meetings can either be one-on-one, three-way, or with multiple people.

VRI is currently used for hundreds of official and indigenous languages spoken across the globe as well as non-spoken languages, i.e., Sign language.

Furthermore, unlike telephone interpretation, VRI enables users to both see and hear interpreters simultaneously, providing the added advantage of a more comprehensive experience through body language and expressions.

How Does VRI Work?

Curious about the wizardry behind Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)? Let’s unravel the mystery!

VRI operates seamlessly with three key players in action: the primary speakers seeking interpretation, the skilled interpreter, and a video-conferencing platform.

All it takes is a computer, tablet, or smartphone with a reliable internet connection to embark on the VRI journey. The parties need to connect on a video-conferencing platform, such as Zoom, Teams, Skype, Google Meet, etc.

If you’re interested in a VRI platform that ensures an unparalleled experience with cutting-edge technology, consider looking through TransLinguist Interactive’s features.

Once the users and interpreters have connected, it’s time to start rolling! The interpreter listens to the speaker and then translates it into the user’s language. Ultimately, this means that the interpretation type is consecutive. This meeting type includes several pauses – the speaker takes breaks between sentences allowing the interpreter to convert it to the target language before continuing.

VRI Applications Across Different Industries

Since its penetration into the market, VRI has gradually integrated into different industries. Today, VRI is an essential means of effective communication and increased accessibility in everyday life.

Let’s go through some of the most common industries and how VRI is being utilized there.

  1. HealthCare

    VRI in the healthcare industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 20% in the next 2 years, according to ABI research.

    With more and more patients speaking varying languages, it’s more important than ever for healthcare to be accessible in native languages. Language barriers within healthcare can result in miscommunication, loss of information, and inability to understand, leading to serious consequences for patients.

    VRI connects healthcare providers and patients to communicate with each other more effectively, whether it’s through medical conferences, doctor-patient appointments, or telehealth consultancies. As a result, this helps in improving healthcare outcomes and patient satisfaction.

  2. Education

    The trend of students pursuing education abroad is escalating at a staggering rate. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), the number of students studying abroad worldwide reached a record high of 6.09 million in 2022.

    The dependence on VRI increased during COVID-19 to facilitate students in e-learning. Today, most institutes have adopted a hybrid mode in educational settings. Technology is a key component for seamless communication between educators, parents, and students.

    Educational institutes worldwide are benefitting from it for distance learning, parent-teacher meetings, and panel discussions.

  3. Legal

    Interpretation in legal settings is essential to the extent that there have been various laws passed that ensure interpreter availability for non-English speakers, even if it’s just to sign legal documents.

    On-site interpretation in courts becomes complex due to the extensive security clearances required. On top of that, it’s also significantly more expensive to source on-site interpreters for courts than traditional situations. Let’s not forget the unnecessary delays and cancellations in court hearings due to inavailability of qualified interpreters.

    Nowadays, most courts keep a database of qualified interpreters available on-site for court hearings. However, it’s more common and preferred to immediately connect with an interpreter through VRI for trials, attorney-client meetings, witness accounts, hearings, document signing, and depositions, due to easier accessibility and cost-effectiveness.

  4. Business

    With companies going global and hiring international talent, business owners can no longer overlook the importance of VRI. Spending hundreds of dollars for on-site interpretation that could be going to your profits or valuable investments instead or dismissing meetings due to language barriers isn’t an option if you want to scale.

    Using VRI, companies can empower their employees to communicate in real time. Besides that, businesses can also grab the opportunity to meet with potential investors who may not speak a similar language.

    Studies show that investors and potential clients gain more trust in companies with a front face. Therefore, if you’re more inclined towards hopping on a call with the other party as a business, it’s better to opt for VRI for the visual cues and enhanced communication to bridge the gap.

Emergency Services

VRI is well-known as an immediate language support solution anytime, anywhere. Since interpreters don’t have to be physically present at the location, it’s quick and simple to get language support using VRI technology. This ease of access is especially useful for situations that require urgent support.

During emergencies, VRI enables first responders and humanitarian organizations to communicate effectively with individuals in crisis who can’t communicate in official languages.

Benefits of Video Remote Interpreting

VRI brings a range of benefits compared to traditional interpretation settings, and its utilization is increasing in almost every industry. If you’re wondering why this interpretation channel is making waves, here are some of its most significant advantages:

Real-Time Communication

Individuals, organizations, and institutions previously had to rely on the physical presence of interpreters for communication between multilingual groups. Often, the physical unavailability of interpreters caused delays in communication.

Now, VRI facilitates instant and direct communication in those settings, without geographical barriers becoming an obstacle. Audio-visual communication through VRI can happen anytime without any geographical constraints.

Enhanced Access to Language Support

Traditional methods of interpretation came with numerous limitations, including geographical and interpreters’ availability, to name the most common hindrances.

Even with channels like telephonic interpretation, factors like increased language support for individuals with indigenous language backgrounds and accessibility for the deaf and mute community were an issue.

VRI technology not only enables access to on-demand interpretation across various sectors but also ensures access to interpreters in a wide range of languages. In other words, VRI has improved the onset of inclusive and accessible communication for diverse linguistic communities.

Cost Efficiency

Anyone who has ever had to book an on-site interpretation would know the thousands of dollars you have to spare due to the cumulative costs of the interpreter’s fee, travel, and per diem costs.

With VRI, organizations can spare a significant amount by shifting to remote interpretations. Even a single on-site interpretation meeting replaced with VRI can cut down a huge chunk of costs, let alone multiple meetings required on an ongoing basis.

Flexibility & Convenience

Interpretation becomes a hassle when it has to be on-site. The users and interpreters both need to allocate time to physically visit a location. As a result, this is especially more difficult to achieve if the required services are for emergencies.

Now, imagine a scenario where the individual/s who needs language support could immediately connect with an interpreter without any inconvenience. That’s exactly how VRI allows increased flexibility and convenience for both parties in diverse scenarios, such as medical facilities, business meetings, and legal offices.

Improved Response Times

We’ve previously highlighted how VRI is being utilized in emergency services. Instant language support was previously a major concern in time-sensitive situations due to several factors, including the inability to find an interpreter in the required language or the excessive time required to bring them in.

Today, VRI helps provide real-time support for individuals in need of quick and accurate communication. VRI plays an important part in ensuring quicker response times to disseminate crucial information to the key personnel in such scenarios.

Experienced Interpreters

While you might be aware of problems like increased costs, unavailability, and response time issues in on-site interpretation, some issues may be overlooked, such as finding experienced interpreters.

Due to geographical limitations, organizations may not always find the best-suited interpreters for the task of on-site interpretations. On the other hand, VRI empowers the handling authority with the ability to allocate interpreters located anywhere across the globe.

Consequently, it comes as an added advantage to be able to hire more experienced interpreters in a specific language or subject-matter expertise than those available in the proximity.

Challenges in Video Remote Interpreting

By now, anyone would be convinced to give VRI a shot. While the advantages of VRI cannot be overlooked in present-day scenarios as the world gets more globalized, it’s equally important to consider the challenges of this technology and prepare accordingly.

Here’s what you need to know:

Technical Hurdles

Granted, VRI doesn’t require a lot of hardware or software equipment. However, any problems in your hardware devices, including viruses or glitches, can hinder the seamless flow of communication between both parties.

Secondly, you need a stable internet connection for VRI. It’s relatively easier to ensure reliable connectivity in urban areas. However, individuals seeking language support; for instance, in rural areas, may face issues, affecting the quality and continuity of the session.

Security Concerns

Let’s get one thing straight – interpreters providing interpretation through VRI are still required to abide by ethical considerations. In other words, certified interpreters must maintain confidentiality, impartiality, and professionalism.

With that said, one of the challenges of VRI is the exchange of information concerning the communication channels. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the session is being held on a secure platform. If you’re looking for one where there’s absolutely no risk of data breaches, TransLinguist Interactive abides by international data security and privacy standards.

User Tech Knowledge

The ability to utilize VRI effectively requires understanding and adapting to the technology. While some individuals may already be proficient or quickly grasp the functionality, others may experience a learning curve, impacting their initial usage and interpretation quality.

This problem can be easily tackled by providing essential training and education for VRI users. However, it’s not always practical in case an emergency session is required and prior training is not possible. In such cases, a face-to-face interpretation is preferable.

Best Practices for Effective Video Remote Interpreting

To make the most of VRI, following a handful of tips can ensure seamless communication and maximum potential of this interpretation channel. These practices apply to both the audience and the interpreters.

Choose a VRI-Specialized Platform

For the success of VRI sessions, one of the most integral factors is choosing the right platform. Careful consideration of essential features guarantees a seamless and effective VRI experience for the users.

Prioritize accessibility options, ensuring the platform caters to diverse needs, including assistive technologies, a user-friendly interface, and multiple device support. Seamless integration with popular video-conferencing platforms enhances the versatility of VRI meetings.

Another non-negotiable aspect should be data security and confidentiality. Select a platform with industrialized standards, including end-to-end encryption and compliance with GDPR policies. Take into account the availability of technical support from the provider’s end, lowering the risk of navigating potential technical issues later on.

Searching for an all-in-one platform that includes the above features and the latest VRI advancements? Contact our sales team for a demo of TransLinguist Interactive for all your interpretation meeting requirements in one place.

Ensure Proper Setup

The key parties should ensure a strong internet connection so they can communicate with each other effortlessly. In case either party may experience connectivity issues, they should communicate it beforehand.

Simultaneously, the individuals concerned should utilize reliable hardware and check if all their equipment, including the device, microphone, and webcam, is working appropriately for optimum results during the session.

Conduct Training

Considering not everyone adapts to VRI technology quickly, organizers should conduct comprehensive training sessions for the users and interpreters prior to a scheduled session. Familiarity with VRI technology and the platform’s user interface can improve the experience and communication between both parties.

In case the situation calls for an emergency session, the organizer should source interpreters already well-equipped with VRI technology.

Define Clear Protocols

A pre-session debriefing can help resolve any queries that either party may have. A structured approach to communication protocols becomes even more necessary in multilingual meetings and complex scenarios.

A debriefing session should include protocols, such as turn-taking instructions, what to do if you have a question or face technical difficulties, how to clarify any misunderstandings, platform features and functionality, etc.

Monitoring Session Quality

For organizations that regularly utilize VRI technology for individual language support and multilingual meetings, a routine assessment of session quality is fundamental. Not only does this improve the quality standards of ongoing meetings, but also helps resolve problems and reduce their odds in upcoming sessions.

For this reason, organizations should implement a robust quality assessment mechanism to identify areas of improvement and consistently deliver high standards of interpretation. An additional way to do this is to establish channels that allow user feedback regarding their experience with any challenges, issues, or improvements required in the sessions.

Future Trends and Innovations in Video Remote Interpreting

As technology continues to make vast changes in the world around us, the interpretation industry won’t stand still either. Who knew interpreting would be this simple yet advanced a decade ago? Although, this is just the start. VRI advancements will continue to transform the industry in the upcoming years.

The following trends and innovations are a few things you should start exploring:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The dynamics of the VRI industry are revolutionizing as we speak through the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI). VRI is set to reach new heights, enabling real-time translation via Speech AI and automating routine interpreting tasks like manual transcriptions.

Currently, these innovations allow interpreters to focus on the cultural and subjective context of interpretations. However, with time, AI will improve on cultural nuances and subject-matter context simultaneously through algorithm training. Ultimately, tools like Speech AI will reduce the need for human interpretation with more accurate and efficient remote interpretations across various specialized industries.

Advanced Interpretation Technologies

Multimodal communication, i.e., communication through voice, text, and visual cues, is no longer a thing of the past. VRI-exclusive platforms have already added numerous features, including automated captioning and subtitles, offering a more inclusive experience.

In the coming years, as these technologies become more advanced, we’re looking at a future that allows expandable language selection for subtitles, captioning, and Speech AI as well as real-time interpretation tailored to regional dialects and industry jargon.

Increased Global Collaboration & Partnerships

VRI facilitates communication between people from across the world. Businesses and individuals have started recognizing the immense potential of VRI to transcend language barriers, leading to a rising trend in global partnerships.

Besides expanded market reach, this also fosters cross-industry collaborations, enabling companies to leverage mutual resources and expertise. Thus, we’re looking at a future where a global business environment is being formed with diverse markets and cultural exchange.

Another benefit of global collaborations is the resulting innovation that can push the boundaries of existing VRI features and usability. Through the evolution of this landscape, the future of VRI includes continuous improvements and seamless language communication.

Bridging Gaps in Inclusive Communication

Traditional interpretation methods, such as face-to-face and telephonic, had significant limitations in terms of addressing gaps in language barriers for native indigenous speakers and sign language users.

VRI has significantly helped bridge these linguistic gaps with the added features of audio-visual capability and remote accessibility. In return, this addresses challenges associated with less common and indigenous languages and provides crucial support for the sign language community, introducing a new era of effective communication.


VRI is a game-changer in the language access industry owing to its ability to enhance communication and inclusivity across various industries. While VRI already plays a critical role in multilingual communication nowadays, its significance will continue to increase in the future. It’s important to note that VRI presents numerous benefits, but it poses a few challenges that organizations and users have to consider and tackle accordingly. By adhering to best practices and leveraging VRI’s potential, individuals, organizations, and communities can thrive in an increasingly interconnected and inclusive society.

At TransLinguist, we provide advanced VRI solutions for you, your clients, and your stakeholders. Our platform facilitates conversations in over 50 languages and dialects. Additionally, it allows you to promptly connect to our active marketplace with 3,000+ interpreters around the clock. Don’t wait; contact us today to see if our VRI service is right for you!

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