What Is VRI (Virtual Remote Interpretation) and How Does It Enhance Global Team Communications?

As more businesses than ever expand globally, it’s important to make sure team members from across the world can connect easily with their coworkers. In this blog post, we cover what VRI is and how it can enhance your global team communications.

What is Virtual Remote Interpretation (VRI)?

Virtual Remote Interpretation (VRI), also known as video remote interpretation, is a type of language interpretation that uses virtual technology to connect an interpreter with their audience—still in real-time, but from an off-site location. Originally used to provide ASL interpretation for deaf and hard-of-hearing clients, particularly in rural areas that were not served by a sufficient amount of in-person ASL interpreters, this form of interpreting is now widely utilized for many languages and in many different situations. Today, international businesses, universities, and more rely on this technology for a variety of global communications needs.

What are the benefits of VRI?

Virtual remote interpretation improves on traditional in-person interpretation in many ways:

  • On-demand: VRI connects audiences to interpretation at the click of a button. Companies can acquire an interpreter on shorter notice, without facing the same scheduling and deadline challenges posed by in-person travel.
  • Safer: Today, many VRI platforms offer end-to-end encryption and other gold standard security features to protect your organization’s communications.
  • More accessible: VRI allows companies to obtain the most skilled translators from all over the world to provide accessibility to clients and audiences, without the barrier of transporting expensive or bulky on-site technology.
  • Costs: VRI’s remote, time-efficient characteristics also make it a lower-cost option that nevertheless does not compromise on interpretation quality.

Moreover, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in remote work worldwide, there are now a number of platforms that support VRI, including Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex, among others. This proliferation helps ensure the market has a competitive variety of VRI options, which keeps costs reasonable across the board and provides a wide menu of services to suit individual organizations’ sizes, needs, and budgets.

How does VRI help build a global team?

Now, let’s focus on one specific benefit of VRI: how it can help a global organization enhance communications among team members. Why does an international company need strong communications? Robust communication is especially important for a global organization, which can face extra teambuilding challenges. When team members are spread out across multiple countries, time zones, and languages, it’s harder to establish a group identity and engaging culture, to form authentic connections (think of “water cooler moments”), and to make employees feel invested in the company’s overall goals.

Fortunately, VRI solves many of these traditional challenges to building a global team. Its scalability and accessibility make it a perfect match for international business; multilingual interpretation can be made available for all workers, no matter their location or the size of their local team. VRI also allows companies to obtain interpreters for one-off needs when hiring in-person interpreters might be prohibitively expensive (such as for limited contractors who speak a rarer language) or logistically challenging (such as to facilitate a major professional development event).

In short, virtual remote interpretation promotes inclusion among all members of the team, regardless of what language they speak or where in the world they are based. If you’re wondering how to choose a VRI platform from among the many available, consulting with a professional language services company is an excellent way to understand your options.