Bridging the Communication Gap: Understanding the Differences Between Video Remote Interpreting and Video Relay Service

July 3, 2023 October 26th, 2023 No Comments

In today’s interconnected world, effective communication can be challenging for individuals with hearing impairments or speech disabilities. Fortunately, technological advancements have led to the development of various solutions, including Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and Video Relay Service (VRS). While both services rely on interpreters, they differ in their approach and applications. Read on to learn more about these differences, so you can determine the best approach for your particular needs.

Understanding Video Relay Service (VRS)

Video Relay Service empowers individuals who have hearing or speech difficulties and rely on American Sign Language (ASL) to hold conversations over the phone. VRS utilizes sign language interpreters and video equipment, rather than typed text, to facilitate these conversations.

During VRS, video equipment links the user in need with a communication assistant (CA) over video, so they can hold a signed conversation. Then, the CA will talk to the hearing party via an audio channel while simultaneously translating their speech into sign language over the video channel for the party who is hard of hearing. This type of relay service finds applications in healthcare settings, legal proceedings, and other situations where in-person interpretation may not be feasible.

The Rise of Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

Instead of relying solely on phone calls like VRS, VRI enables real-time communication through video, which facilitates enhanced understanding and engagement. In other words, during a video remote interpretation session, all the parties involved are on camera. Consequently, VRI services offer a couple of benefits that VRS services don’t.

Advantages of VRI over VRS

Visual Communication

One significant advantage of VRI over VRS is the fact that it can convey facial expressions and body language for all parties over the course of the conversation. In healthcare settings, for instance, these visual cues play a crucial role in ensuring accurate communication and understanding. The ability for everyone to see one another, including the interpreter and their signing in real-time, allows for a more nuanced interpretation, reducing the risk of misinterpretation and potential consequences.
Enhanced Engagement

By utilizing video conferencing technology, VRI fosters a more immersive and engaging experience for all parties involved. The visual component of VRI promotes active participation and encourages individuals to express themselves more freely, creating a natural and inclusive communication environment. Such inclusion is not always possible during VRS, which can feel more like a one-sided conversation since a portion of it occurs over an audio channel only.

When in Doubt, Opt for Video Interpretation Services

While both Video Relay Service and Video Remote Interpreting can facilitate communication for individuals with hearing impairments or speech disabilities, VRI introduces additional benefits that set it apart.

The ability to convey body language and facial expressions and to foster enhanced engagement make VRI an ideal choice for all kinds of applications. This is especially true in settings where the stakes can be high, like during legal proceedings or medical appointments.

Turn to Geneva Worldwide for Reliable VRI Services

Video remote interpreting is a valuable tool for businesses that want to overcome language barriers and expand their operations. If you need to facilitate communication between people who speak different languages, Geneva Worldwide can help. Our VRI services are accurate, convenient, and affordable. To learn more about our remote video interpreting and request a quote, reach out today!