Don’t get lost in untranslation!

Professional interpreting for online events

«Julia takes part in an online event where various experts give speeches. Like Julia, one of the speakers is a non-native English speaker who has a good understanding of English but doesn’t always understand everything. The content of the presentation is important to Julia and she finds the topic interesting, but despite her best efforts, Julia can barely follow the speech because the speaker has a very strong accent. Therefore, Julia misses a lot of the information and she is annoyed that she has invested time and money in the event.»

Many people have experienced this situation. In virtual events especially, poor sound quality, along with shorter attention spans caused by the medium, are factors that organizers must take into account. Even at live events, the advantage of having professional experts provide interpreting is clear – the content is made available to all participants in consistently high quality, without any loss of information due to language barriers. The situation is similar for virtual events; simultaneous interpretation can be used here too. But how can that work?

The good news: technical solutions are already available and have been tried and tested. The technology used is known as Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) and it has been in use for a long time at the UN, for example, in cases where the interpreters’ could not attend the event in person due to time or cost reasons.

So how does this actually work? The event takes place virtually – participants take part via their computer or an alternative device. As an organizer, you can easily integrate the RSI technology into the event tool or use the RSI solutions themselves as an event platform. Both are good options. Interpreters can even be added remotely.

Depending on the desired quality and the lead time for planning the event, there are generally two options:

  1. The interpreter works in either a permanent or temporary booth or hub. All required tech is provided. A technical coordinator takes care of the entire implementation process (e.g. dialling-in participants and interpreters, intervening in the event of problems) so that the interpreter can concentrate exclusively on the interpreting itself.
  2. The interpreter is fully equipped (meaning they have a very good and fast internet connection, a suitable PC, a suitable headset, etc.) and carries out their work from home via a secure platform A technical coordinator is also available to ensure smooth interpreting.

With Option 1, both the sound and the internet connection are of excellent quality, as both are provided and controlled centrally. The interpreters work in an environment they are familiar with and can therefore interpret content optimally.

Above all, Option 2 has the advantage of absolute flexibility. In fact, it is possible to choose from a pool of interpreters from all over the world, as the location of these experts is irrelevant. These solutions also offer fail-safe approaches for internet stability, data protection and sound quality. Interpreters receive intensive training in the use of the tools in advance so that they can use the technology independently.
Option 2 is also advantageous because the decision to provide interpreting for an event can be made at relatively short notice, i.e. only if there are participants who have expressed interest in using interpretation at the event.

RSI solutions can also be used for on-site events. This means only the interpreters work remotely or in the hub and are connected to it. Participants can then follow the interpreting via smartphone using a connected app, for example.

No matter which option you choose or which option best suits the requirements, participants will receive high-quality content in their native language. Julia is now happy and satisfied because she can now follow the exciting presentation in her mother tongue and understands all the information. Incidentally, interpreting can be provided in all language combinations, so it would even be conceivable, for example, to also offer this service to the speakers so that they do not have to struggle with an additional hurdle of a foreign language, in addition to the challenges posed by the content.


You need:

  • Stable, reliable internet connections, at least for all speakers and the interpreting team

What are the advantages?

  • Reduced costs compared to on-site interpreting (less work, no travel costs, lower technical costs, etc.)
  • Due to the high quality offered to the participants, the conference automatically gives a more professional impression. This may then lead to higher registration numbers.
  • The offer can be adapted to the needs of the event flexibly and at short notice.

Could RSI help you? Interested in a consultation? Then you are welcome to contact us at any time.