Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) Language Hits List

What is Video Remote Interpretation?

Video Remote Interpretation, or VRI, is a form of video communication in which two or more people can speak or sign through an interpreter. VRI services are often designed with the deaf or hard of hearing community in mind, but VRI services can be used for people to communicate in any language over video. VRI use with languages other than American Sign Language (ASL) has been growing consistently over the years but has really seen a spike since COVID-19. With the need for social distancing, the use of video communication tools has helped many industries, in particular the medical field, conduct business and care for patients while ensuring the health of all involved.

How is Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) different than Over the Phone Interpretation (OPI)?

The simple answer is that VRI includes audio and visual communication over video while OPI only uses audio communication over a phone line. There are, however, some pros and cons to using each form of remote interpretation.

Video Remote Interpretation

  • Can be used to communicate with members of the deaf or hard of hearing community using sign language
  • Visual cues can help provide better communication for the interpreter and both parties
  • Body language and facial expressions can often convey more emotion and context than purely spoken words

Over the Phone Interpretation

  • Cannot be used to communicate with members of the deaf or hard of hearing community
  • Is often more convenient for users than video chat

Each form has aspects that make it better in certain situations. To learn more about best practices when using either type of remote interpreting, check out this article by our Senior Account Manager, Kim Beck.

Which Languages are most Popular for Video Remote Interpretation (VRI)?

American Sign Language

It is common knowledge that members of the deaf and hard of hearing community use hand signs to communicate. One thing that you may not know is that they also depend on other body language and facial expressions to understand the underlying meaning and context tied to those hand signs.

However, the ability of deaf or hard of hearing people to see facial expressions has been greatly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic this year. If you have recently attempted to communicate with someone who is wearing a mask, you may have had a similar experience. As humans, we often lean on visual cues of someone’s mouth movements if we do not hear something that they said; this is not possible while wearing a face mask. This can make communication arduous for members of the deaf or hard of hearing community, especially if they are in hospital settings, where masks are often required and an in person interpreter may not be permitted.

These challenges make VRI exceptionally important for any business that connects with members of the deaf or hard of hearing community. VRI technology allows you to communicate effectively with any deaf or hard of hearing person without risking the health of either party.

american sign language, video remote interpretation

Fun Fact: Did you know that members of the deaf and hard of hearing community have dialects and use their own slang? Our remote interpreters have extensive experience throughout the deaf and hard of hearing community, including localization.


According to Boostlingo, there are more than 400 million Arabic speakers around the world and it’s the fastest growing language in the United States. In the United States, as much as one third of the Arabic speaking population is concentrated in 3 states: Michigan, New York, and California. SpokenHere’s video remote interpretation team is highly adept at interpreting Arabic to English and vice versa.

Chinese Mandarin

Somewhere between 917 million and 1.3 BILLION people on Earth speak Mandarin Chinese or another form of Chinese. In fact, Babbel claims that approximately 1 in 6 people in the world speak Chinese. If you’re doing business on an international scale, there is a good chance that you will encounter the need for an English to Chinese interpreter.


In terms of worldwide popularity, Spanish comes in second only to Chinese Mandarin, with over 450 million native speakers in over 20 countries. While Spanish is commonly associated with Central and South America, it is spoken widely throughout North America and Europe as well. In fact, there are currently more Spanish speakers in the United States than there are in Spain! That is a huge reason English to Spanish interpretation can be so valuable, even for local businesses.

How can you start using VRI to improve your business?

Whether you need to communicate with someone halfway around the world or someone in your office, our goal is to help bridge the communication gap to help you build better relationships with them. VRI services with SpokenHere are economical, convenient, and easy to access. Our rates for VRI services are charged by the minute, with no minimum monthly fees.

SpokenHere’s ConnectNow remote interpretation platform allows you to connect with our professional interpreters instantly from your desktop, tablet, or even mobile device. Our on-demand VRI services are available 8:00AM – 8:00PM EST Monday thru Friday and by appointment outside of those hours in over 20 languages, contact us to learn more and view a demonstration.