Traditional vs VRI – Weighing Up Two Interpreting Styles

by | Sep 23, 2022

When it comes to fulfilling your interpreting needs, you have a lot of options available. You can choose video remote interpreting or a more traditional interpreting method like on-site video interpreting or over-the-phone interpreting. But what exactly is the difference between video remote interpreting vs. traditional interpreting? And how can we compare traditional vs VRI interpreting services? Let’s dig into the topic!


Weighing Up Traditional vs VRI Interpreting

What is Video Remote Interpreting or VRI?

Video remote interpreting uses special video conferencing tools to provide interpretation services. This process usually requires an interpreter who is well-equipped with a video camera and a headset. The client can communicate with the interpreter using a computer or a smartphone.

Thanks to the broad scope of the industry, the majority of the interpreting services have access to interpreters who know almost all languages, including sign language.

The significant advantage of video remote interpreting over traditional interpreting is that it is far more efficient and convenient. Regardless of your location, you can contact an interpreter within seconds. Apart from this, video remote interpreting is also far more accurate than over-the-phone interpreting, where the interpreter cannot see you and understand your facial expressions.

But, thanks to the special video conferencing technology, the interpreter can see you and observe your body language and other non-verbal clues in order to carry out a more accurate interpretation.


What is Traditional Interpreting?

On-site interpreting is the most traditional form of interpretation. In this method, the interpreter is physically present in the room with the client. The advantage of traditional interpreting over its counterpart is that, in this case, the on-site interpreter can see every person in the room.

This allows them to understand the situation and observe the non-verbal clues in order to provide the most accurate interpretation. Traditional interpretation can also be beneficial when the client is not very comfortable using technology. In this case, hiring a live interpreter can be a better option.


When to Use Traditional vs VRI Interpreting Services

When it comes to video remote interpreting vs. traditional interpreting, both have pros and cons. But how do you know which one of these options is right for your business? It would be best if you considered the following factors before deciding which option to choose.


Some organizations are constantly in need of interpretation services—for instance, the healthcare industry. Since society is becoming more and more diverse, cities are filled with residents who speak different languages.

The hospital is the place where speakers of different languages constantly enter. This is why an interpreter is often needed in the healthcare industry for accurate diagnosis of the symptoms.

But it would be impossible and impractical for a hospital to hire interpreters who speak all languages. In this case, remote video interpretation can come in handy to communicate with the patient regardless of their language. Remote video interpretation can significantly help hospitals minimize costs and increase productivity while ensuring that the patients receive the best treatment possible.


While traditional interpreting is ideal in some conditions, it is not always practical and cost-effective to hire different interpreters who specialize in different languages for 24 hours a day. Fortunately, remote video interpreting can offer the same service at a lower cost. This is why remote video interpretation is an ideal solution for companies who are on a tight budget and have consistent interpreting needs.


For companies operating beyond national boundaries, the timeline is an essential deciding factor. In this case, hiring traditional interpreting services is not always practical because a lot of times, it is difficult to predetermine the time when agreements and contracts will be made. This is why hiring a local interpreter on such short notice can be impractical and costly.


Let’s Help You Decide Between Traditional vs VRI!

In the end, your ideal interpreting service impacts your business and its revenues. Selecting the right interpreting solution for your business can be frustrating. But hopefully, this article has provided you with all the relevant information needed to make the correct decision for your company.

Want to learn more about interpreting? Check out our blog   

Seldean Smith
Seldean Smith

Seldean is a multi-skilled content wizard that dedicates herself to writing content that goes beyond merely sparking interest in the audience.

Seldean Smith

Seldean is a multi-skilled content wizard that dedicates herself to writing content that goes beyond merely sparking interest in the audience.

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