In Interpreting, Technology/Innovation

Video Remote Interpreting, or “VRI,” is an amazing blend of technology and humanity. Harnessing the power of live, streaming video chat, VRI offers access to tens of thousands of highly trained linguists within the U.S. and around the world who facilitate communication between speakers of different languages. VRI usage continues to rise as more and more industries discover the benefits of adding a visual element to the interpreting experience … while maintaining the cost-effective, per-minute pricing of phone interpreting.

A large part of what I do every day is to introduce the benefits of VRI to clients. After countless demo sessions, I’ve noticed that certain questions always seem to pop up. So, in this blog, I’ll answer the five most commonly asked questions about VRI.

Question 1: Is it Secure?

Hackers are the worst. We see news headlines daily about data breaches of personal and confidential information. Many times, clients use VRI to discuss highly confidential information – like medical information (aka “Protected Health Information,” which comes with strict confidentiality and security requirements under HIPAA), legal information, and business trade secrets. It’s therefore vital that the conversation happen over secure channels.

The good news is that VRI is designed to be a secure communication method. Vocalink’s Vialink VRI Solution, for example, uses a secure cloud services platform that employs state-of-the art encryption and is HIPAA-compliant. Our policy is to “encrypt everything,” so every piece of data stored in the VRI platform is encrypted at rest and in transit.

Question 2: On What Devices does VRI Work?

For most VRI solutions, just about any relatively modern laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone will support VRI. If the device has a camera, speakers, and microphone, along with a quality, high-speed internet connection, you can access VRI. This frequently means no capital investment to implement VRI.

What is key to a positive VRI experience is a good internet connection. Most issues with sound quality, grainy/pixelated images, video glitches, and the like occur due to weak internet connections. (Techies interested in more detailed info can check out our Minimum Technical Requirements and Network Connectivity-Port Requirements.)

Question 3: Do We Have to Have Dedicated Devices?

Dedicated devices are not required to use for VRI services. The same smartphone or tablet you use for home visits or at a customer’s location can instantly become your VRI device. Likewise, the same laptop or desktop you use to write emails and search the web easily becomes your VRI communication tool, as needed.

Question 4: Is every language available 24/7/365?

There are 7,097 languages spoken in the world today. Around 2400 of these are endangered (i.e., less than 1000 speakers). So, the honest answer to this question is, “no.”

Of the 7,097 languages spoken in the world today, just 23 account for more than half of the global population.[1]  In every geographical region, certain language interpreting needs will dominate. So, language industry leaders strive to offer those languages that will meet the needs of their clients, based on their clients’ locations.

At Vocalink Global, we offer American Sign Language and ten of the most commonly-requested spoken languages on-demand. We also offer more than 50 less commonly requested languages on a pre-scheduled basis. We are constantly recruiting to add new languages to the mix. To ensure effective communication, we supplement this with over-the-phone interpreting in more than 275 languages.

Question 5: Can you limit to U.S.-based interpreters only?

For clients in some industries – especially where public contracts are involved – the law might restrict offshore spending. Ohio’s Executive Order 2011-12k is an example. This means using only U.S.-based interpreters for VRI services. Many VRI platforms are designed with this in mind, and including settings to restrict access to U.S.-based interpreters only. Vocalink Global’s Vialink VRI solution, for example, has this capability.

Visually Connect, Communicate and Interact

Video remote interpreting lets you visually connect, communicate and interact with customers, employees, patients, and more. Want more information? Connect with us today!




[1] Chinese, Spanish, English, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Lahdna, Javanese, Turkish, Korean, French, German, Telugu, Marathi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Tamil, Italian, Persian, and Malay, according to

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