Is Remote Simultaneous Interpreting the future of interpretation?

Imagine being able to convey your message in any language in real-time, anytime and anywhere.

That’s the beauty of remote simultaneous interpreting – the process of interpreting what is said from one language to another in real-time through a remote interpreter based anywhere
in the world.

In these days of severe restrictions on travel and meetings due to the Coronavirus pandemic, RSI is the interpreting mode that’s having it’s finest hour, offering a modern, fuss-free solution to help organisations continue to do business with each other.

Why is accurate interpretation so important for businesses to get right?

When you’re working with an international group or audience, reaching them in their language is key; it boosts engagement and prevents misunderstandings.

More than 70% of consumers say they´re more likely to buy a product if the information is in their own language, and more than 50% said this was more important than price. Whether you’re selling a product, hosting a conference or conducting training online, people generally prefer to receive information in their native language.

With the majority of international travel grounded, the world is increasingly turning to online communication. Coronavirus has created what is known as the ‘Zoom Boom’ generation, with friends, families and businesses still communicating face-to-face but through the medium of a screen. And people are quickly seeing the benefits: it’s quicker, cheaper and better for the environment.

However, despite its many advantages, there are greater risks when it comes to this form of interpretation. Without the physical presence of your peers in the room with you, the danger for misunderstanding increases.

One of the most famous studies on non-verbal communication, led by Dr Mehrabian in the 1960s, concluded that 93% of all communication was non-verbal: 38% comes from tone of voice and 55% from body language.

Whilst delegates can still pick up some cues through a screen, the delivery from an interpreter is vital to ensure the message is conveyed effectively accurately from the original speaker.

How can RSI help with multilingual communication remotely?

RSI is making online interpreting easy and accessible, whether you´re having a multilingual meeting or want to reach a global audience in their mother tongue.

The most remarkable factor of RSI is how simply and smoothly it operates. All you need is your smartphone or laptop as a receiver. All I need are my laptop, browser and headset. No software! No travelling! Complete real-time, remote support from a highly-proficient interpreter.

How it works is simple: the speaker speaks in one language, which is streamed live to a remote interpreter through a web browser on your laptop. Using a headset and microphone, the interpreter translates the speaker’s language into another language which is transmitted to the RSI platform through their laptop. Attendees can connect to the RSI platform via their laptop or mobile device and will be able to see and hear the speaker in their chosen language. It’s quick, easy, cost-effective and helps to deliver a seamless spoken word experience.

Whether it’s a large conference or an intimate business meeting, RSI can be used for:

Online conferences
Board meetings
Small meetings
Panel discussions
Other online events

There are a lot of advantages to RSI. There´s no special equipment required, you can stream multiple languages at once, it’s easier to find interpreters even at the last minute – we can be and work from anywhere in the world! – and it’s often a significantly more cost-effective solution for clients as there’s no need to pay for travel and accommodation costs for an interpreter.

What platforms are available?

Several web platforms support RSI. I first started offering RSI services through Voiceboxer, and more recently I’ve used Interprefy, Kudo, Interactio and ZipDX to name a few of the online platforms that I’ve worked with. In my experience, I’ve found them all to be excellent and easy to use for both clients and interpreters.

Here are a few of the most prominent RSI platforms that I use:


Like Kudo, Voiceboxer is both an event platform and RSI platform, which means that for online events Voiceboxer does not need any additional external programs. Voiceboxer’s interpreter platform allows interpreters to work in pairs, and virtual booths can be configured to work into one target language only (ideal for interpreters working only into their A-language), or two target languages (for interpreters working bi-directionally).

Interprefy’s RSI platform can support thousands of users at once, through multiple language channels, so attendees can listen to content in their language of choice. It can be seamlessly integrated with other web conferencing platforms like Skype, WebEx and Zoom. It also offers technical and venue management support for event organisers.

Kudo is a ¨language-as-a-service¨ platform for multilingual web conferencing and live events. Businesses use it to expand their global audience by offering content in their audience’s mother tongue. It has a network of thousands of interpreters on call 24/7 in case of an emergency. I am Kudo certified and it is a platform that I use regularly

Interactio is an app that users can download to listen to content in their language. It’s used to live stream audio at events, including business conferences and webinars, tours, or even international weddings that require an interpreter.

ZipDX is a specialized platform for virtual meetings, connecting participants via the web, the phone, or a combination of both. ZipDX provides a “multilingual conference call” or “multilingual virtual meeting” which works like a regular conference call, connecting several people in different locations and using multiple languages simultaneously.

Zoom, GoToMeeting and other video conferencing platforms
Of course, there are other platforms that were not specifically built for RSI but have seen the benefits it can offer and have diversified into interpreting, and Zoom and GoToMeeting are no different.

Zoom is primarily an event platform but offers interpretation under its Pro-Plan, and there is no limit to the number of languages available. The host can enable this function and assign an interpreter to an audio channel, and the delegates can select with audio channel they want to listen to. GoToMeeting runs a similar functionality and allows for multiple audio streams led by interpreters for delegates to choose from.

Why work with me for your RSI needs

The ease of using RSI and the ability to stream multiple languages from all over the world make it superior to on-site interpreting. RSI does have its challenges: for example, interpreters occasionally have to navigate some technical problems themselves. However, some RSI platforms provide support here, too.

It’s vital to work with an interpreter that understands the nuances of each platform and is proficient in its use – the last thing an interpreter or a client wants is to be halfway through an important conference, have a technical issue and an interpreter with little to no understanding of how to resolve it!

Equally, each platform has its benefits and drawbacks and one platform may be more suited to your specific requirements than the others. Having a broad awareness of the different options available will benefit you immensely in the long run, and where possible I will consult with you beforehand to ensure the best fit for your organisation.