What is remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI)?


If you’re not familiar with language services and multilingual events, trying to understand the term remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) can be complicated. However, this term is becoming increasingly popular right now.  

Because of the pandemic, many events shifted to the virtual world, so the chances of coming across this term are high! And if you’re in the event industry, you will probably try this tool out soon too.  

That’s why we will try to explain it to you, step by step. 

What is interpretation? 

Interpretation is a way of delivering a speech from one language to another. The speech can be spoken or signed. Interpreters understand, analyze and retain the meaning of the original message while interpreting it. The translation seems like a similar process, but the key difference is that no one translates written text in interpreting. 

What is simultaneous interpretation? 

Simultaneous interpretation is one of the types of interpreting. Simultaneous interpreters have to listen to the speaker, analyze, understand and interpret the speech with a minimum delay and no interruptions! This is the main reason why simultaneous interpreting requires highly skilled language professionals.  

What is remote simultaneous interpreting? 

Remote simultaneous interpretation is the most advanced tool of interpretation – just like simultaneous interpretation, it happens in a matter of milliseconds, but the whole process occurs remotely. RSI enables interpreters, participants, and speakers to connect with each other from any place in the world and interact in their native languages. Everyone receives live video and audio streams remotely.  

Can you imagine all the possibilities? Get ready for it – we will explain the whole technology more in-depth below! 

How does remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) work? 

The whole idea behind remote simultaneous interpretation is not that complicated. Usually, interpreters use hardware that helps them receive the original speech into their headphones, and then they deliver the interpretation and transmit it to the audience. RSI hardware is much more simple and is supported by software that helps RSI interpreters work. 

First of all, since the whole process is online, interpreters can work from any location. Using RSI software, they can connect to meetings remotely. Many interpreters of different languages can work together and listen to the same speaker. Then, interpreters select the target audience, and interpretation occurs in their language.  

All the event participants use RSI platforms; they join remote events using their software, select the language of their preference, and listen to the interpretation in any preferred language. 

When and how remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) can be used? 

The use-cases of RSI are constantly expanding. Since this technology simply breaks the language barriers and borders, many remote events decided to try it out. Now, it doesn’t matter where your speakers are and in which language they communicate. The possibilities are endless. 

The application of remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI) 

Since we are talking about remote interpretation, its scope is enormous – from virtual 1-on-1 meetings to events with thousands of participants. Remember that you can also use remote simultaneous interpretation with any video conferencing platform – integrate it with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, and so on.  

Generally, the most usual event types are governmental sessions, conferences, business meetings, press conferences, educational meetings, and non-profit events. You name it! All of these events can be both online and hybrid. It means that your audience can be on-site, but interpreters can work remotely, thus expanding your possibilities. 

Remote Simultaneous interpretation (RSI) equipment 

Fully remote events do not require any use of hardware conferencing equipment. All you need is a quality headset and a mobile device of your choice, preferably a laptop.  

However, some of the events are hybrid. It means that you have to integrate existing hardware equipment with RSI software. In that case, you might need to use receivers and transmitters, high-end microphones, and headphones. The interpretation usually happens in interpreter booths – the little sound-proof boxes where interpreters work. 

Why remote simultaneous interpretation? 

Since the pandemic hit, the event industry has faced a lot of challenges. However, it is now reigning more than ever. It is because event professionals quickly adapted new technological tools while transitioning online. And surprisingly, they found out new solutions that even expanded the possibilities.  

Now, remote simultaneous interpretation is used to increase the accessibility of events. People from any part of the world can join the events and gain the same knowledge. Also, it embraces equality and diversity at the same time. Using RSI, we can all equally participate in discussions despite our level of foreign languages – our linguistic background doesn’t matter that much anymore.  

This way, we can start exploring the multilingual world with thousands of new stories wrapped inside hidden cultures. It’s up to you, but trying the RSI out in your next event might be a game-changer! 

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