When it comes to interpretation services there are two types to choose from: face-to-face and video remote interpretation (or VRI). When we think of translation we tend to think of the former; face-to-face translators interpreting for two people who speak different languages. But thanks to the development of new VRI technologies, remote solutions can offer equally high-quality audio-visual interpretation services over the internet. Let’s look into the difference between these two models to help you choose the solution that’s best for you.
Why is Interpretation Important?
Due to the increasingly global nature of our industries, interpreting services are of utmost importance for today’s businesses and institutions. Without the ability to transcend language barriers, we all miss out. Every sector from healthcare to commerce serves to benefit from professional and accessible interpreting solutions.
Without translators, businesses wouldn’t be able to enter into deals with overseas clients and healthcare providers wouldn’t be able to meet the needs of a diverse patient base. Interpretation is the glue that binds people together in every industry.
Luckily, there are options when it comes to finding the best translation solution for you. Whilst some situations may call for in-person, face-to-face translations, others are perfectly suited to a remote approach. Here, we deconstruct these methods.
Face-to-face interpreting is probably what you imagine when you think about a typical translation scenario. In this setting, the linguist is physically present in the room with their participants to orally interpret a live conversation between a native and non-native speaker. This method also works effectively for interpreting in a group setting where there may be two, or more, languages being spoken.
This method is suited to situations that require immediate communication between two parties – such as an interview or an especially sensitive situation. As an example, a doctor delivering a difficult diagnosis to a patient who speaks another language is likely to choose to use an in-person interpreter. This is, in part, because face-to-face translations are also better at capturing non-verbal cues, body language and small nuances, which are sometimes essential for full and effective communication and understanding to be achieved.
Despite its many advantages, however, there are a couple of significant limitations to face-to-face translation. Firstly, it has to be planned ahead of time. This means that in-person practices are rarely suitable for emergency scenarios in which you won’t know you need an interpreter until the very last minute. Second, face-to-face translation can be costly, particularly if your preferred translator is required to travel for your appointment.
Video Remote Interpretation
Video remote interpretation (VRI) provides real-time, audio-visual interpreting services online. This means that the interpreter and participants aren’t in the same room, but they can see and hear each other over online communications software using a webcam and headset.
Remote interpreting is a fantastically flexible service that means an interpreter can be called on to help out in far less time than it would take to hire a face-to-face interpreter. Oftentimes, VRI also works out cheaper since there’s no traveling involved.
Video remote interpretation has proven highly successful across industries and is used extensively in the healthcare, legal, education, governmental and social care sectors.
This method is particularly advantageous in situations when:
There is a unique language or sign language situation that needs translating
A translator is needed at short notice
There is a shortage of on-site interpreters
Multiple parties in different regions want to join a call
Sometimes interpretation services must be called upon to ensure effective communication is achieved. Whether it’s a face-to-face or VRI solution that best suits your needs, the most important thing is to find a reputable company fit for the job.
Ari Keneally is a consultant for Bilingual Connections, a company offering professional foreign language services, including video remote interpretation. With a mission to help people use language to enhance their career and improve their quality of life, the company provides a comprehensive service in over 70 languages for a variety of industries to meet the challenges of today’s global arena.