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The Remote Simultaneous
Interpretation Guide

Welcome to the world of Remote Simultaneous Interpretation.

In this guide, we want to provide you with an overview of what these three words stand for, how it works and how you can use it to bridge the language gap and connect people in their own language.

Happy reading!


1. What is Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI)?

1.1 Definition of Remote Simultaneous Interpretation

Image_Blog How does Remote Simultaneous Interpretation work

Simultaneous interpretation is defined by ISO, the International Standards Organisation, as "the process of rendering a spoken or signed message into another spoken or signed language, preserving the register and meaning of the source language, performed while a speaker is still speaking or signing".

Add “remote” to the equation and it is possible for interpreters, speakers, and participants to interact from anywhere on the planet.

Having interpreters work remotely slashes costs while enabling greater flexibility. When done right,  Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (or RSI) is a modern solution for making your next event multilingual.

1.2 Synonyms for Remote Simultaneous Interpretation

RSI is still a relatively young field, having only emerged in the mid-2010's. Interprefy is part of a wider group of industry experts to define ISO standards for Remote Simultaneous Interpretation. However, you'll still often come across various terminologies, essentially describing the same methodology.

Synonyms for RSI include online interpreting, remote interpreting, distance interpretation, real-time interpretation, live event interpretation, online conference interpretation, live translation, or video interpreting.

1.2 Simultaneous interpretation vs consecutive interpretation

Language interpretation is about conveying the meaning of spoken or signed words from one language to another, so that audiences can understand what’s being said.

Compared to translation, interpretation is a much more immediate process with no time for second-guessing or wordsmithing. Interpreters must understand, digest, and relay messages to audiences in another language in spoken or signed form. Two main modes of interpretation exist today:

Simultaneous Interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation takes place in real-time, with the interpreter converting a speaker’s words and meaning into another language as that speaker is talking. The interpreter will be listening to the speaker via headphones and interpreting into a microphone for the audience. This kind of method of interpretation is indispensable when the delay in the delivery of the speech could ruin the experience of the event. Simultaneous interpretation really shines in situations where one person (or a panel) is speaking to an audience. Think diplomatic conferences, international conventions, courtrooms, lectures and presentations, press conferences, and so on.

Consecutive Interpretation

Consecutive interpretation takes place when a speaker makes a speech or says a few sentences and pauses to allow the interpreter to convey their most recent statement to the target audience before proceeding. The interpreter usually sits or stands next to the speaker — taking notes as the speaker talks — to help relay everything clearly. This method is typically used for small meetings/events, one-to-one conversations, court depositions, and much more as it has the advantage of being more like a conversation, with both parties being able to speak uninterrupted.

To learn more about the differences between the different disciplines of interpretation and translation, please click here.

Remote Simultaneous Interpretation

2. How does Remote Simultaneous Interpretation work?

Speaker— a presenter speaks in one language. Their voice and image are streamed live to a remote interpreter, typically through a web browser on a laptop or desktop computer.

Interpreter(s) — an interpreter hears and sees the speaker on their device. Using a quality headset and microphone, they translate the speaker's language into another language, in real-time.

RSI Platform — the interpreter's speech is transmitted to a cloud-based Remote Simultaneous Interpretation platform through their laptop or desktop computer. Good broadband is essential! Platforms like Interprefy integrate with popular teleconferencing products like Skype, WebEx, and Zoom, as well as offer a standalone web conferencing service.

Audience — attendees and/or delegates can connect to the RSI platform via a computer or mobile device, seeing and hearing the speaker in the language of their choice.


Image2_Blog How does RSI Work


2.1 Example: Remote Simultaneous Interpretation in hybrid events

RSI started emerging in the mid-2010s as a cost-efficient alternative to traditional interpretation setups at in-person conferences, congresses, and tradeshows. Through RSI technology, interpreters were no longer required to be present on-site, and delegates could access interpretation through a mobile app on their smartphones.

While the pandemic has shifted conferencing into the virtual space, in-person events have started adopting a hybrid approach, allowing online event access for delegates or attendees who are not traveling to the conference venue. In this scenario, remote participants join the event on their computer, through web conferencing software with integrated interpretation channels.

RSI for in-person events_how it works-min

Click here to watch an interprefied hybrid event in action.


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3. Benefits of Remote Simultaneous Interpretation

Before we dive into the benefits that RSI brings, let's first take a look at the limitations of traditional modes of delivering conference interpretation:

3.1. Limitations of traditional conference interpreting setups:

  • Cost - Delivering traditional conference interpretation comes with several layers of cost - from travel and accommodation costs for interpreters to renting interpreter booths and radio receivers for listeners. 
  • Attainability - Due to the complexity and cost associated with traditional conference interpretation, this used to be a service only available to governments, large NGOs, and large multinationals.
  • Floor space & scalability - Conferencing venues only have so much space that can be used for setting up interpreter booths. That also meant the number of languages for a conference was limited by the available floor space.
  • Technical complexity - AV and conferencing systems, booths, hard consoles, and radio receivers - setting up an on-site interpretation installation is far from easy.
  • Sustainability - Travel, lodging, food and beverage, and energy are the biggest factors in any events' carbon footprint. 
3.2. Benefits for event organizers

Remote Simultaneous Interpretation has managed to successfully solve all of the above issues by taking interpretation into the cloud.

RSI platforms enable easily accessible multilingual events, both online and offline. At the same time, RSI increases flexibility and scalability by enabling entirely virtual or hybrid setups, with some interpreters working on-site from booths and remotely at the same time.

RSI brings many advantages for multilingual events and meetings:

More scalability

RSI can be scaled to accommodate thousands of listeners, unlimited language requirements, and multiple access points.

Fewer costs

From renting booths, to travel and accommodation, RSI can help in reducing layers of the cost associated with conference interpreting.

Reduced language barriers everywhere

RSI can help to connect listeners and speakers in their own language, no matter where they are located.

Fewer carbon emissions

Eliminating travel requirements can support event organisers in their efforts to reduce their event's carbon footprint.

Compatibility with any platform

Making interpreting available anywhere and on any platform.

ISO-certified security

RSI providers like Interprefy provide ISO 27001-compliant information security standards and enterprise-grade security features to govern access.

Additional services

Through RSI technology, multilingual captions, as well as event recordings for post-event usage, can be provided.


Live statistics of interpretation usage can be made available by the RSI provider.

Dedicated support

Dedicated support technicians can support interpreters and event organizers to ensure a flawless setup and seamless experience.


3.3. Benefits for interpreters

Dedicated support and fewer technical issues to worry about

RSI platforms like Interprefy support interpreters every step of the way, from platform training to setup and sound-checks before the event starts. During the event, dedicated support technicians maintain a direct line with interpreters to assist with technical difficulties.

Fewer logistics, more interpreting

Instead of wasting time on booking tickets, finding housing, and traveling to different countries, the remote work allows for more flexibility in choosing assignments, attending more events, and finding more time to connect with family and friends.

Remote Simultaneous Interpretation

4. Where can RSI be used?

RSI makes simultaneous interpretation available for any type of professional gathering.

In any meeting or event

At Interprefy, the scope of opportunities for multilingual meetings is endless. Business meetings, webinars, hybrid events, press conferences, multilingual conferences of any scale, governmental sessions - the sky is the limit.

Inteprefy has seen many extraordinary use cases. We've connected arctic expeditions, connected 40 world leaders, we even connected an astronaut on the International Space Station ISS to Dubai Expo.

Interested in learning more? Explore our use cases here.

In any virtual, hybrid, or on-site setup

Because Interprefy partners with the leading virtual event and web conferencing platforms, Interprefy can be used to integrate simultaneous interpretation in the videoconferencing platform of your choice. Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, ON24, Hopin, and many, many more!

RSI platforms like Interprefy can also be flexibly combined with on-site AV hardware and conferencing systems.

Interested to learn more? Explore our integrations here.

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5. How much does Remote Simultaneous Interpretation cost?

When compared to traditional interpreting setups, RSI is very cost-efficient. In multilingual meetings with RSI there are essentially two main cost items to keep in mind: technology and professional services.

Technology cost

RSI technology is cloud-based and pricing models between providers vary. At Interprefy, our pricing is based on actual usage and service hours, so no minimum order quantity or annual subscription is required.

When combining RSI platforms like Interprefy with AV installations at an event venue, no big investments are necessary. Audio and video feeds can simply be plugged into a computer to feed to the cloud-based RSI platform and back.

When combining RSI with the videoconferencing platform of your choice, the only additional thing to consider is the subscription to that specific platform.

Professional service cost

At Interprefy, we provide the full range of professional services required to make your multilingual meetings a success. Our pricing is based on the actual service hours required for event success. While we can provide additional services such as live captions and glossary support, or media services, essentially three services are key to interprefied RSI events:

Interpreter fees

The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to booking interpreters is that they always work in pairs. The cognitive load during the performance of RSI is immense, therefore interpreters always work with a (virtual) booth partner to take turns in interpreting.

The second thing to remember is that the better you prepare your interpreters, the better the quality will be. Professional conference interpreters will take the time to study the presentations and documentation you're providing beforehand and will also log in early to the event to check the setup and perform a sound-check.

Depending on the RSI provider or Language Service Providers you work with, interpreter fees may vary.  The availability of the required language combinations and level of their subject expertise may also be factors affecting fees.

But essentially, interpreter fees are always time-based and charged by the hour.

Project Management

At Interprefy, a dedicated project manager will support you with your requirements. Prior to an event, we’ll coordinate your technical requirements with the IT/AV specialist on-site or with the video conferencing platform you select. The project manager will support with the setup of the platform, help find the right interpreters for your required language combinations and subject area and coordinate between the parties involved.

Technical Support

To ensure consistent quality and reliability, our team of experienced remote support technicians helps set up Interprefy sessions and monitor interpretation, audio, and video throughout.

For quality assurance, support technicians will monitor the performance of interpreters and maintain a direct line throughout. This service includes monitoring every language channel in real-time using the remote support interface present on our platform.

Interprefy’s unique and stringent quality control, remote interpretation support, and technical expertise mean that your event will go smoothly from beginning to end.


6. Key factors in RSI event success

The new norm of global web conferencing has made it as easy as never before to connect with global peers and audiences. But when it comes to hosting multilingual conferences online, there are a few common rookie mistakes, that can stand in the way of your success.

Making your multilingual event a seamless experience for everyone can be a complex objective that requires more than just having the content in multiple languages. Anticipation and teamwork are key to avoiding common pitfalls.

Choosing a resilient multilingual event platform partner

For small and medium-sized businesses, many of the current cloud-based conferencing/meeting tools will suffice; they’re robust, easy to use and quick to deploy. But hosting large-scale events for thousands of people across several regions sets the bar higher. 

An RSI partner like Interprefy can provide an ISO 27001-compliant platform with redundant servers across the globe, offers proven experience in delivering interpretation in a myriad of setups, integrates with your event tech stack and provides hands-on support at any point.

Finding the right language talent

At Interprefy, we work with leading Language Service Providers (LSP's) to find the right match of experienced conference interpreters for your required language combination and subject expertise. That means we can source interpreters for even the rarest languages and at short notice. 

Preparing both interpreters and speakers

The behavior of a speaker has a huge impact on the working conditions and ultimately on the performance of interpreters. Making sure speakers use quality microphones, have no background noise and speak paced and clearly is key.

Buyer's Guide to Remote Interpreting


Are you ready to connect your audience in their own language?

Interprefy has been delivering remote simultaneous interpretation at tens of thousands of multilingual events for organisations of all shapes and sizes. If you have an upcoming event and would like to explore how RSI can help you connect your audience in their own language, please book a consultative 15-minute introduction call with us.

Become an expert in event organisation in the digital age.