Remote interpreting can be defined as one or both parties being in different locations from each other while communicating. Instead of being face to face, remote interpretation allows two or more people the ability to communicate no matter how far the distance is between them. This is great for people who reside in different countries or for companies who need to communicate with employees in remote locations. As technology evolves, remote interpreting continues to expand across the world. Having access to telephones, computers, and other electronics provides the capability to communicate to almost anyone in the world.


Video conferencing is one of the most popular forms of remote interpreting. There are many agencies and companies that utilize this avenue. Many of companies who have remote locations use this type of interpreting to connect employees at the different locations. The interpreter is usually on location with at least one party on the video conference. For international companies, remote interpreting can help make language barriers easier to deal with. Whether it is a business conference or just to talk about company activities, the video conferencing is a great alternative when all parties cannot be in the same room.

Other organizations may use this type of service when they have large events. Instead of having an interpreter on site to handle the interpretation, they may choose to house them in another area. The interpreter then communicates to the audience through video. The organization must set up video and audio equipment in order for this to happen.

VRI, also known as video relay interpretation is used to help deaf people communicate to a number of different parties. The deaf person calls into the VRI service and then contacts the third party. Using the VRI service, they are able to communicate back and forth. In this scenario, all three parties are in a remote communication. This has allowed the deaf population to be able to do much more communicating on their own without the assistance of family and friends.

There have been a lot of issues surrounding the use of remote interpretation in the medical industry. Critics believe that patients may not always understand what is being said using the remote interpretation service. Advocates of the service have helped make the service available for many deaf patients so they are able to communicate to their doctors and specialists who are not on-site.

Right now, Chicago’s Mercy Hospital and Medical System is currently using the VRI service to help patients communicate with medical staff. Using special laptops, the interpreter is available to interpret within minutes of the service being requested. This has truly been a blessing in helping coordinate communication between the staff and non-English speaking or deaf patients.

Another area that the service is currently being used in is 911 call centers. Specifically, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada’s police call center. This has allowed the deaf community in the area the opportunity to reach emergency services when in need.

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