Data collected by the Migration Policy Institute in 2019 showed that immigrants accounted for about 14% of the total US population. Approximately 46% of these immigrants were Limited English Proficient (LEP). The data also showed that immigrants accounted for about 17% of America’s civilian labor force. These immigration statistics alone highlight the growing need for American businesses to invest in quality language interpretation solutions. That is the surest way of appealing to immigrant consumers and getting the most from immigrant and overseas talents.
Immigration aside, globalization has immensely contributed to linguistic diversity in the business world. Almost every business today is targeting multinational customers and talents. The people and agencies you need to partner with for business success are scattered all over the planet. That makes it almost impossible to get everyone in one venue for business meetings. That is where Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) comes in to help.
What is Video Remote Interpretation?
Video Remote Interpretation is a tech-based and real-time language solution that is facilitated by remote interpreters. Interpreters, in this case, operate from remote call centers. They are equipped with modern telecommunication technology and connected to clients through a videoconferencing platform. This makes it easy for clients to access quality interpretation services on-demand, 24/7/365. You are guaranteed impeccable broadcast quality on a wide range of communication devices, mobile devices included, provided that you have fast internet connection speeds.
With that in mind, why is it important for business meetings to have remote interpreting?
- Remote interpreting is more cost-effective than on-site interpretation
Although costs vary from one language services provider to another, it is a standard industry practice for VRI providers to charge on a per-minute basis. That means you only pay for the exact number of minutes that an interpreter works for you. That is different from on-site interpretation where you have to pay a minimum charge of at least two hours. You could end up using only an hour of an on-site interpreter’s time, but you have to pay for an extra whole hour that you didn’t need or use.
Secondly, remote interpretation also saves you money by eliminating transport costs for both interpreters and meeting attendees. On top of that, ferrying out-of-town interpreters and their equipment for an on-site interpretation session will in most cases necessitate unwanted accommodation and food costs.
Thirdly, on-site interpretation demands a sizable amount of space for interpreting booths installation. The bigger the venue you need, the harder it will be to find a good venue in your area, and the pricier it will be when you eventually find it. That is not a problem for remote interpreters; you can even hold a meeting in your company’s meeting room provided that it is big enough to accommodate all attendees. You actually don’t need to worry about space at all if the meeting is virtual.
To wrap up the cost implications of remote interpretation, we have to mention that VRI doesn’t necessitate any special equipment or software. It operates entirely on online platforms and can be accessed through a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. That is unlike on-site interpretation where installation of special booths and headsets may require the expertise of a tech team.
- Remote interpreting is convenient and reliable
Remote interpreting services are available on demand. You can even source for one a few minutes to an emergency meeting; you don’t have to make plans in advance. On-demand availability also makes it possible for you to hire top interpreting talents from all over the world. You aren’t geographically tied to interpreters from your city or country. The danger of being geographically tied is that there are only so many quality interpreters in your location, particularly when rare languages are involved.
If you are a multinational company with offices worldwide, you cannot run away from middle-of-the-night emergency business meetings. Your multilingual and multicultural business associates operate in different time zones, after all. For this reason, you need someone interpreting remotely for them at any time of the day.
- VRI provides authentic face-to-face interaction
Many people who discredit remote interpretation solutions argue that important information, emotions, or subtext is lost when participants in a meeting cannot see their interpreters face-to-face. That is actually the biggest limitation of over-the-phone interpretation. Video Remote Interpreting fixes this problem and adds a more personal and intimate connection between your remote interpreter and your target audience.
- VRI is an integral part of the “new normal”
COVID-19 infection rates are still alarmingly high all over the world, even as scientists and governments rush to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Your workers have probably returned to work, which makes you responsible for vulnerable staff members. Interpreting COVID-19 protection and control protocols for your LEP employees is one way of keeping everyone safe.
Then there is the need for businesses to adapt their operations to the “new normal”, which is mainly defined by remote working. According to McKinsey, about 52% of American workers would prefer remote over in-office working even after the pandemic. If such stats are anything to go by, it is clear that staff and business meetings in the “new normal” will still be remote. Organizations must, therefore, keep investing in video remote interpretation in order to effectively manage their growing multinational remote workforce.
2020 was defined by restricted travels, cessation of movement guidelines, social distancing, and banned in-person meetings. This adoption of video remote interpretation skyrocketed during this period, across countries and industries. Many organizations have since learned that VRI is the most efficient and affordable solution possible for face-to-face interpretation. Most of your potential business partners are using VRI as a result. If you are reluctant to go this route, going forward, you might struggle to convince people to attend your in-person meetings.
- Reducing your carbon emissions
What comes to mind when you think of climate change? For many business leaders, the solution to global warming lies in buying carbon offsets, investing in renewable energy, buying green appliances, and recycling. If you are implementing any or all of those solutions in your business, it is working and you should keep at it. But there is one more thing that you should do: Cut out unnecessary air travel in order to reverse the negative environmental effects of aviation. Opting to hold multinational business meetings virtually, made possible by VRI, is a proactive way to minimize your company’s carbon footprint.
If not for anything else, VRI is indispensable for being social-distancing friendly. It is one of the tools that will help businesses survive the post-pandemic economy and probably stop new COVID-19 variants from taking us back to the era of lockdowns. That highlights the virtually limitless benefits of interpreting remotely.