Remote interpreting is here to stay

Over the last two years, we’ve witnessed a boom in the various forms of online communications, especially in business.

Videoconferences, online meetings, VoIP systems, etc. all allow people to participate from different locations and are now commonly used in work environments.

And interpreting, of course, hasn’t lagged behind. Quite the contrary. Online interpreting had already been available in the past through various specialised platforms, but it wasn’t until recent years when even the most common videoconferencing platforms got their act together to integrate the possibility of remote interpreting. Remote interpreting offers numerous advantages to everyone involved, which means that it’s probably here to stay.

Not sure how it works? At Siens Translation we’d like to clear up some of the most common doubts.

What types of remote interpreting are possible?

There are two modes of remote interpreting:

  • Remote consecutive interpreting: the speaker pauses occasionally while talking so that the interpreter can give an oral translation.
  • Remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI): the interpreter interprets orally at the same time the speaker is speaking.

Another form of remote interpreting is by phone, although it is usually limited to two-way interpreting with a reduced number of participants.

Remote consecutive interpreting tends to be used in business meetings, medical appointments and legal proceedings, while remote simultaneous interpreting is used in multilingual processes such as meetings, conferences, webinars, events, workshops, press conferences, round tables and so on.

And to do all this, you just need to have the proper technical equipment, a good professional organisation and experienced interpreters!

How does remote interpreting work?

The speaker speaks through an online broadcasting platform (audio and video). The interpreter, connected and equipped with professional headphones and a microphone, interprets on a channel that is specifically created for the target language. Through their respective devices, listeners can use the same platform to select the channel of the language in which they’d like to listen to the interpretation.

A good RSI platform, such as Zoom Professional*, Interprefy, KUDO or Voiceboxer, also provides other options, which can include a private chat between interpreters and the moderator to handle doubts or technical problems, or the possibility of listening to the original speaker in the background or adding subtitles.

*SIENS TIP – This is what we use at Siens. It is a reliable and intuitive tool for this type of communication:

Can interpreting be done using common videoconferencing platforms (Zoom, Teams, etc.)?

Some of these platforms have recently added functionalities for interpreting. Zoom, Teams and Webex are examples, among many others.

Is in-person interpreting better than remote?

The answer is, it depends. While it’s true that for interpreting it is important for the interpreter to be able to see the speaker in order to capture all the available information, if you have good equipment and a good set-up, the interpreter can still capture all the subtleties via video.

Remote interpreting saves in travel costs (both monetary and ecological), as well as the cost and effort of setting up a booth on site. You also gain time and flexibility for planning an interpreting service. This means that the range of interpreters also becomes broader, given that they can do their job from anywhere in the world.

Moreover, advances in technology and connectivity allow good audio and video quality from any location. Online platforms also offer other possibilities, such as streaming or the recording and subsequent editing of an event.

What are the requirements for remote interpreting?

Interpreters must have high-quality equipment and must interpret from a location with good acoustics, either in a booth at their work location or in a sound-proof room.

A sound test should be conducted before the actual event to avoid problems when going live.

The RSI or videoconference platform must be previously prepared and set up so that the required linguistic channels are available. In this regard, we recommend that you put the planning and preparation in the hands of experts to avoid last-minute surprises.

And of course, the interpreters must be professionals who have extensive experience and specialise in the subject. Moreover, these professionals need to receive certain information prior to an event, such as the topic, the purpose, the tone, the visual aid documents that are going to be used and specific terminology.

As you can see, with professional preparation, the right technical equipment and the right human team, quality remote interpreting is possible!

Visit our website at or contact us if you need advising on your interpreting service. At Siens, we’ll help you find the best fit for your project needs.