<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1379827282144964&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Video Remote Interpreting

Father and daughter on telehealth appointment with a doctor, taking her temperature.

Video remote interpreting (VRI) has revolutionized access to language services. 

Instead of paying for interpreters to physically come to the hospital or depending on AI translation applications,  healthcare professionals can now use VRI for streamlined language services. All you need is a quality language services provider, a simple video call setup, and a good internet connection, and you can use VRI services to offer patients easily accessible in-language care.

However, as with any new process, there's a learning curve. The first few times using VRI services may feel rushed, confusing, or even a bit awkward. But that's okay. Here are some video remote interpreting tips to make VRI smooth and effective, both for you and your patients. 

1. Get the Right Setup

The right setup for VRI includes two main considerations: the surroundings and the technical equipment. 

First, check the surroundings where the video call will occur. You want to hold the call in a place with limited distractions and interruptions so that everyone can stay focused and easily communicate with each other. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Is there proper lighting? 
  • Is the space relatively private? 
  • Is there any background noise that could interfere with the call quality? 
  • Could there be potential interruptions (e.g., people walking in or through the room)? 
  • Can the healthcare professional and the patient clearly see the interpreter (and vice versa)?

Once you've secured a quiet, well-lit space, it's time to check the technical equipment. Make sure that the camera, microphone, and internet are working well before the video call starts so that you have time to troubleshoot any issues. You might even consider a trial call to ensure the appointment time is focused on the patient and not on fixing technical issues.

2. Schedule Enough Time

A consultation or appointment with VRI typically takes longer than a regular one. Aside from the time needed to set up and check the equipment, you should also allow for potential connectivity issues — on your or the interpreter's end. 

It's also important to consider the extra time needed for the interpreter to communicate everything. Let's say a normal appointment takes a half hour. If you plan on using VRI, consider allocating an hour for the appointment since the interpreter will repeat everything, essentially doubling the speaking time. 

Fitting VRI into the standard appointment time can make everything feel rushed. A hurried interpretation can result in errors, and rushing patients can make them feel unvalued. So the best thing for all involved parties is to allow plenty of time for the interpreter to clearly communicate everything necessary.

3. Pace Yourself

With sufficient time allocated for an appointment with VRI, you can then focus on your pacing. There's no need to rush, so make a conscious effort to speak clearly and enunciate. This is a good rule of thumb for all interpreting environments but absolutely essential when using VRI. The audio does not always come through perfectly on a video call, so the interpreter may have difficulties following if you are talking too fast or unclearly. 

Pacing is also important so that you don't overwhelm the interpreter. Medically qualified interpreters are fantastic at what they do. But even they can fall behind if you share too much information at once. You want the most accurate communication possible, so try to share one idea or sentence at a time. This allows the interpreter to easily match your pace and quickly communicate everything to the patient.

4. Talk to the Patient, Not the Interpreter

An important note for VRI — and any medical interpretation, for that matter — is to talk directly to the patient. While it may feel rude or awkward, try to avoid addressing the interpreter when you are speaking. The questions and comments are for the patient, so talk directly to them. 

Connecting with people is essential in patient-centered care. And the easiest way to do that is by engaging them in a personable conversation. Maintain eye contact and use second-person language to make them feel safe and heard. Here's an example:

Incorrect: [To the interpreter] Can you ask them to share their medical history?

Correct: [To the patient] Can you tell me about your medical history?

Even if the patient can't understand every word you say, your body language and demeanor speak volumes. In fact, engaging with a patient through eye contact and gestures (like nodding along as the patient talks) becomes even more critical when a language barrier exists. 

If both the interpreter and patient are joining the video call remotely through a multi-participant VRI solution, try to show eye contact and engagement by looking at the camera. You can also refer to the patient by name to show you are speaking directly to them and not just to the interpreter. 

Get Started With VRI

Providing language access services is essential to offer equitable and high-quality patient care. So do it right with a quality VRI solution from GLOBO. 

You can connect with medically qualified interpreters anytime and anywhere for streamlined language services. Schedule a demo today to learn more about our multi-participant video solution. 

Request a Demo


Additional Resources