Virtual Remote Interpreting: a Priority Checklist for Your Event

February 22, 2021 |

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how many businesses and people work and has transformed how events are handled. Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is the go-to method for event interpreting supplanting On-Site Interpreting.

Remote Simultaneous Interpretation is the best way to integrate conference-level interpretation into virtual and hybrid meetings and events.

If you’re serious about your international event going well, booking and planning interpretation services should not just be a matter of hiring the first online search result you get. Using people who lack the right experience or skills could risk ruining your attendees ‘experience, and undermining the event’s objectives.

TIPS for Language Remote Interpreting

If your logistics aren’t planned to the letter, you risk various problems. Here is a checklist to help you successfully prepare for your international event.

Virtual Remote Interpreting1. Choosing the right platform

From Zoom to Youtube Streaming, there are numerous platforms you can use for Remote Simultaneous Interpretation for any video-conferencing. Zoom is an online platform for holding meetings and conferences. Numerous clients use Zoom, as it offers the most economical solution.

Zoom offers an interpretation function available under Pro-plan with optional add-on plan Add Video Webinars. It is possible to enable 9 language channels (apart from the floor). The conference host can enable this function and assign an interpreter. This way he or she creates an additional audio channel. The listeners can select the channel (language) they want to listen to. For more details on this function, please see the respective section on Zoom’s website.

The only thing that is missing in Zoom as distinct from dedicated RSI platforms is relay. And the interpreters cannot hear each other. For the handover process, interpreters usually connect via external channel (any messenger, WhatsApp, or Skype) and hold the call throughout the conference to hear each other and ensure seamless handover. The second option is to connect to the Zoom conference from the second device as a participant and listen to the interpretation.

The interpreters who are working with Zoom say that everything works well and sound quality is good. Zoom has a mobile application that can be used for interpreting as well.

2. Source the right language variant

Don’t assume an interpreter can work in any country that happens to speak a variation of their language. If you’re expecting Brazilian delegates to attend your event, you need a Brazilian-Portuguese interpreter. Continental Portuguese speakers will know neither the cultural references nor the colloquialisms to be able to properly convey what they hear. The same applies to Chinese delegates: discerning between Cantonese and Mandarin is not enough. There are dialects, regional variations within these languages that you need to consider.

3. Plan and prepare well in advance


For simultaneous interpreting, there are several other things to consider. Simultaneous interpreters must work in pairs, swapping every 20-30 minutes.

In addition, interpreters generally work seven hours a day with one hour for lunch. Anything else is overtime. That means if your event stretches outside of normal business hours, it will affect their rate.

If you know you’re going to hold a conference in six months, start planning now. Spring and autumn are often packed with events, which can lead to a scarcity of experienced interpreters. This is especially important if you are going to need several different languages for your event. The best interpreters are neither cheap nor readily available, and it can be risky to assume you’ll get one on short notice.

Ideally, you have partnered with a trusted language service provider who has a network of pre-qualified interpreters to choose from. But if you are selecting interpreters yourself, you will need to go beyond their resumes by reviewing their references and confirming their qualifications and experience. Negotiating rates with each interpreter and coordinating teams is also time-consuming.

Another important part of the preparation phase is providing the interpreters with relevant materials or the speakers’ presentation notes (if available in advance) to help them understand the terminology, style of language and presentation format of the people they will be interpreting. It helps the interpreters get a feel for the topic and ensure they aren’t caught off-guard by industry jargon. The more technical and industry-specific the event, the more important it is to prepare your interpreters accordingly. Start sharing glossary, presentations, or any other supporting documentation the presenters will use so the interpreters can review them to prepare before the event: reference documents for your event apart from the documents that need translation, such as program schedule, speeches, videos, etc.


All participants in virtual events should to the extent possible:

  1. Use headphones with a microphone (noise-canceling preferred) and avoid speakerphone.
  2. Make sure all devices are plugged in and/or fully charged.
  3. Use a hardwired ethernet connection to a router whenever possible.
  4. Remain stationary and avoid walking or moving around while connected to the virtual court event.
  5. Be familiar with how to MUTE and un-mute microphones to minimize noise interference when not speaking.
  6. If relying on Wi-Fi, be situated in the same room as the internet router.
  7. Adjust audio settings in video conferencing platform to ensure microphone detection.

4. Get your teams ready.

Hosts/Moderators of all virtual platforms should:

  1. confirm with LEP (Limited English Proficiency) users what technology they will use (i.e. platform, listening equipment, type of internet connection;
  2. schedule device/technology testing prior to the virtual event with all participants including the LEP and interpreter/s; and
  3. ensure that all parties have the relevant Meeting ID numbers and/or passwords required to access the virtual room at the scheduled time.

Video participation allows interpreters to SEE attendees and BE SEEN, which results in better remote interpreting services. For example, the interpreter can provide visual cues to report any communication issues.  Participants should be reminded to remain on screen facing the camera.


Decide if you need the interpreters to record their audio, and send the audio in a specific file format to you after the session. Make sure you enable the interpreter recording function before the start of the session. Below are some methods used for recording interpreting sessions.

Quicktime player
voicememo (for MAC)

As the event organizer, your time is in constant demand as you prepare resources, look after delegates and coordinate tasks and duties. When it comes to arranging and managing interpreters, it makes sense to leave it to an organization with the experience and relationships to make things easier for you. That way, you can free up time to focus on the issues that only you can solve.

If you are thinking about organizing an international event, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your own interpretation needs. We have skilled interpreters, vast experience and superb technical knowledge to effectively manage a wide variety of your projects.

The Events We Work With

Thousands of meetings and events are held each year, and we’ve had the pleasure of providing video interpreting services to numerous clients throughout the years. Since our creation in 1998, we’ve collaborated with people in an impressive array of industries and settings. While we are equipped to manage almost any event, our interpreters are particularly familiar with:

  • Conferences spanning over several time zones
  • International business meetings
  • Training Sessions
  • Conventions
  • Meetings
  • Trade shows
  • Classroom settings
  • Focus Groups
  • Legal Cases
  • International development project preparation and implementation
  • Webinars
  • Symposiums
  • Webcasts
  • Human Resource matters
  • Events
  • Medical Appointments
  • Facility Tours, etc.

Category: Business Translation