Pros And Cons Of Video Interpreting vs In-Person Interpreting - Speak Your Language | Australia

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Pros And Cons Of Video Interpreting vs In-Person Interpreting

Pros And Cons Of Video Interpreting vs In-Person Interpreting

Posted on: September 4, 2023 by admin

The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly sped up the adoption of online and remote platforms. In our increasingly interconnected world, effective communication is vital, especially when language barriers come into play. Professional interpreters play a crucial role in bridging these gaps, enabling individuals and organisations to communicate seamlessly across different languages. But how do you know whether video interpreting services or in-person interpreting services would better suit your needs? There are pros and cons of both.


Video Interpreting



  1. Accessibility and Availability


Video interpreting offers valuable flexibility, as it enables access to interpreters anywhere in the world. This flexibility is particularly advantageous when seeking a dialect expert, as you can connect with interpreters who may not be physically present in your local area. Additionally, video interpreting services typically provide 24/7 availability, ensuring that interpreters are readily accessible around the clock.


  1. Cost-Efficiency


Video interpreting offers a cost-effective solution by removing the necessity for interpreters to travel, effectively reducing travel-related expenses and associated overhead costs. Moreover, it presents a financially appealing option, particularly for businesses operating within budget constraints, thanks to its competitive pricing structure.


  1. Technical Advancements


Advancements in video conferencing technology have significantly enhanced the quality and dependability of video interpreting services, creating an experience that closely mirrors real-life interactions. You can still receive all the benefits of body language and facial expression, and communicate in real-time.




  1. Lack of Personal Interaction


While technology has improved in recent years, video interpreting may still limit the interpreter’s ability to pick up on non-verbal cues, potentially impacting the accuracy of the interpretation. The back and forth between two people can be hampered when one does not know if the other is done talking.


  1. Technical Challenges


Even in our interconnected world, poor internet connections or technical glitches can disrupt the interpreting session, leading to communication breakdowns. You will need access to a system with a microphone, camera and an internet connection, which may not be an issue for a business but can be for an individual who is not used to using a computer. 


In-Person Interpreting



  1. Enhanced Communication


In-person interpreters possess a unique advantage when it comes to conveying rich non-verbal cues and body language during the interpretation process. These cues include facial expressions, gestures, posture, and even subtle changes in tone and volume. Furthermore, when working with a new client or patient, building trust is essential, and using an on-site interpreter helps set the groundwork for an ongoing relationship.


  1. Cultural Sensitivity


Understanding and respecting cultural intricacies and context is paramount in effective communication. In-person interpreters can not only listen to the spoken words but also observe the cultural nuances that may not be readily apparent in the language alone. Medical situations sometimes involve delicate discussions about sensitive topics like end-of-life care, reproductive health, or mental health. On-site interpreters can navigate these discussions with utmost sensitivity, considering the patient’s cultural and emotional context.


  1. Dynamic Environments


In-person interpreters can easily adapt to dynamic and complex situations, such as medical emergencies or legal proceedings. In-person interpreting is usually preferred in public and social service settings, as it allows the interpreter to better observe and interpret body language.




  1. Limited Availability


Finding an in-person interpreter for less commonly spoken languages or remote areas can be challenging. The scarcity of linguistic expertise can hinder effective communication, particularly in multicultural and diverse societies. In critical situations like medical emergencies or urgent legal matters, the unavailability of an on-site interpreter can lead to delays or complications, potentially impacting outcomes.


  1. Higher Costs


In-person interpreting almost always entails higher costs due to the necessity of having the interpreter physically present, encompassing expenses like travel, accommodation, per diem allowances, and travel time. This added financial burden can be a significant factor for individuals and organisations. 


  1. Scheduling Complexity


Coordinating the schedules of all involved parties, including the interpreter, can be a logistical challenge. It may require additional effort and resources to ensure that everyone can meet at the same time and place, potentially leading to scheduling conflicts.


The choice between video interpreting and in-person interpreting is not a one-size-fits-all decision but rather one that depends on specific needs and circumstances. Each approach has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Video interpreting offers geographic flexibility and cost-efficiency, while in-person interpreting excels in non-verbal communication and cultural sensitivity. For assistance with choosing the right translation service, you can contact our team of professional translators.