Video Remote Interpreting, or VRI, involves an accredited language interpreter being present via a video link instead of in person. It offers many of the benefits of an on-site interpreter but with increased convenience and potentially lower costs. VRI has been widely used in police stations and emergency rooms for many years. It is also commonly used as a tool for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Video remote interpreting services are now becoming increasingly widespread in business because of the growth in remote working and multilingual teams based in different locations.
How does VRI work?
VRI can be used by anyone with a phone, tablet or computer that has a video and audio function. All that’s needed is a data or Wi-Fi connection. It eliminates the need to source an interpreter and wait for them to arrive in person. Instead, a professional video remote interpreting service allows you to dial in and access an accredited interpreter within seconds. The interpreter observes and listens to the proceedings and translates just as they would if they were in the room. VRI shouldn’t be confused with automated online translation tools. Although artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly sophisticated, language translation relies on understanding the nuances of meaning and cultural significance. These are things only a human can provide.
Who uses VRI?
There are many cases in which it’s important for an interpreter to be present in person. Nevertheless, VRI is ideal for emergency situations, business meetings, remote working and official appointments.
VRI for business
As business continues to become more global, Skype and other online conferencing tools have become commonplace. However, they don’t solve the problem of language and cultural barriers. VRI helps companies communicate in real time with international clients and partners without risking embarrassing – or damaging – mistakes.
In this global landscape, organizations also increasingly require multilingual teams in different territories. VRI allows diverse and widely dispersed teams to fluently discuss critical issues. It also allows organizations to access international talent and expertise without incurring relocation costs.
VRI for legal services
During lengthy court hearings and trials, delays caused by a lack of accredited interpreters can see costs spiral. While complicated or technical hearings undoubtedly benefit from having an interpreter present in person, there are many cases when VRI provides a more efficient alternative.
In the United States, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has been using VRI for immigration hearings since 1996. Officials cite cost effectiveness and efficiency as major benefits. Police stations are following suit, adopting the technology to overcome language barriers or to help with hearing-impaired people. In South Pasadena, police have even installed VRI in all patrol cars to ensure they can communicate with residents who use sign language.
When signing official documents such as deeds or financial agreements in another language, it’s often a legal requirement to use an interpreter. When such appointments take just minutes, hiring an interpreter to be present can prove to be a costly expense. VRI allows for effective, instant language interpretation, drastically reducing the time and expense.
VRI for healthcare
Healthcare interpreting is a highly specialized field. In emergencies when someone may need urgent medical attention, any delay could be critical. VRI is increasingly used by emergency rooms to identify symptoms, explain treatments and gain consent. It’s also used in routine medical appointments to ensure that patients are fully aware of their treatment plans. Healthcare providers report that patients are much more likely to follow care plans effectively and reduce the need for re-admission when VRI is used during appointments.
VRI for education
Children are sponges when it comes to learning. When families move to new countries, the youngest members are often pick up the language far quicker than their parents. VRI can help parents feel fully connected with their children’s education despite any language barriers. It allows them to have detailed conversations with teachers and understand curriculum requirements. The service keeps them completely up-to-date with all aspects of their children’s education.
Is VRI for you?
In an increasingly globalized world, communicating accurately in an unfamiliar language is an everyday requirement in many contexts. Even when people learn second languages, there will be occasions when an expert is needed to interpret complicated terminology. Professional, accredited interpreters are highly trained in doing just that. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible or practical to hire a specialist to attend in person to assist with business, legal, medical or family issues. If you need to be certain that nothing is being lost in translation, then VRI could be the answer.