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Stratus Video Interpreting predicts $1 billion market shift to video remote interpreting by 2016 as court and healthcare systems heed cost-effectiveness

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:03
Russian to English
+ ...
Unfortunately they are absolutely wrong Jul 26, 2014

because qualified people will simply change their line of business. What courts pay is fair, but it is not extremely high for that type of skill, except the Federal Court which usually pays about $800/day. Court interpreting requires very complex skills--including the knowledge of two legal systems in addition to top language skills. It is sometimes hard to interpret in regular courtroom conditions when three people speak at the same time, not to say what would happen if video interpreting became the standard. It is done sometimes now--sporadically, when the party is incarcerated. In this case the incarcerated person is asked to talk clearly, and it is just only them who is in the video, not two hundred other people. I think the company should curb their hopes. It will never work. Before they make such unrealistic predictions, they should throughly investigate what interpreting is all about, what law is about, and also think about the confidentiality and non-recording laws in some states. I think the Workers Comp uses audio interpreting sometimes, and it is a total nightmare. You have to ask for an alive interpreter if the audio does not work for you--a special petition or request has to be filed. A lot of trouble--absolutely unnecessary. Some applicant may not even realize how misinterpreted thing get--over the phone. This is how many cases may get misjudged. Retrying a case will cost much more than paying for a live interpreter. It's time to stop being cheap. Being cheap never pays in the long run.
Perhaps if the court is in some real outbacks--in a place where live interpreters are totally inaccessible, that might be a partial solution, not really a great one, though.

[Edited at 2014-07-26 13:01 GMT]


Sandro Tomasi
Local time: 10:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Video-Remote Judges; Video-Remote Doctors Jul 28, 2014

“With VRI, you’re getting high quality face-to-face interpreting, combined with the affordability of on demand interpreting....”

While video-remote interpreting may be useful in cases that involve remote areas or cases which require specific language interpreters that are hard to find, the issue should be viewed in ways that are analogous to other professions that serve the courts and healthcare settings. For example, can we, with the intent to reduce costs, have video-remote lawyering, video-remote judging, video-remote doctoring? Even a doctor can dispense medical advice by video and send a prescription to a local pharmacy by computer while a nurse handles a patient’s vitals face-to-face. The problem with VRI is that if only the LEP population is routinely subject to receiving services via video, there is an inherent risk that the practice of VRI becomes discriminatory against a particular group of people -- in this case, a group of people with different national origins.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:03
Russian to English
+ ...
Vide interpreting will not work in courtroom conditions in the long run.It is even more inconvenient Jul 28, 2014

I can say it an almost 1005 certainty. Sometimes it may be the last resource, though--the only thing available in a certain are. Other than that, there are more problems with it than benefits. Cost effective? How? They would still have to pay about $300-400 for a short session, what most interpreters make a day here. Cost efficient to do what? Cut jobs and invest the money on the stock market, to later loose most of it? I personally think that even the Workmen Compensation board should revert to live interpreters for the benefit of the claimants, because audio interpreting is usually disastrous.

I don't think it would be discriminatory against any people--it would just be very inaccurate and could result in a mistrial, and perhaps even more expensive than live interpreting. It may also be forbidden by law in some states.

[Edited at 2014-07-28 20:44 GMT]


United States
VRI-is treating interpreters as a call center Aug 7, 2014

VRI as a backup to onsite interpreting can be a good use if they have the language and can meet the needs in the emergent cases; I however have left the field of interpreting after ten years as a staff and a freelancer due to where the field is headed. I feel that it is a young profession and has a lot of growth opportunity. To my colleagues in the field, if the rate and work condition is not fitting and does not seem right, I hope that you would learn to speak up and help change that..but can only be done if you, us...speak up about it. When the price is not right, please decline the work. If we keep selling ourselves at the lower price and accepting assignments and work conditions as the market has shaped it, we will lower our profession for us all.


United States
Local time: 07:03
progress takes the path of least resistance Aug 7, 2014

As one who has been involved in designing technical solutions for your industry, it is not only about cost. Our customers include end users (hospitals, courts, etc.) who have requested VRI to address following problems unique to on-site interpreting:

1. Better Availability: in California, recent laws being enacted require a licensed medical interpreter to be available if MediCal funds are to be reimbursed to the clinic. On site interpreters require anywhere from 3 (if you're lucky) to 24 hours to confirm availability. Similarly, when non-English speaking inmates are arrested and booked, but require an interpreter to assist the defendant's attorney within 24 hours, it is much easier to simply have an on-demand VRI system available, and if the defendant's attorney feels it is inadequate, the attorney will reschedule the meeting for a future appointment. VRI (and telephonic OPI) exists to address this issue of availability. On site is obviously "ideal", but in exigent situations, it is simply not realistic. So this issue is not unique to remote areas, but any unpredictable high urgency situation. Initially, the facilities and end clients will quickly recognize the compromises of VRI (lack of clarity, lack of quality, etc.), and will limit the initial applications to exigent circumstances. However, because these problems are an engineering obstacle, eventually we will figure out the technical problems so that VRI at least offers perfectly clear voice and high quality images.

2. Lower Cost: The biggest savings is the 2 hour minimum (e.g. interpreter travel time). With on-demand, clients pay only for the minutes used and at worst pay anywhere from a 5 minute to a 15 minute minimum. For intermittent facilities where they may regularly request an interpreter at 9AM 1PM and 4PM for no more than 20 minutes each time, VRI is a huge cost savings. Having an interpreter there (assuming it's even the same language) all day is between $400 and $800. Having an interpreter reappear each time requires a 6 hour minimum over the course of those 3 visits. But VRI would only cost a total of 60 minutes. This is probably the biggest benefit to facilities that require interpreters regularly, but only intermittently.

3. Value to Interpreter. So here is where things fall apart depending on the agency's pricing model. The agency does not have to pay the interpreter any less per minute than what is currently paid, because just the above benefits of #1 and #2 are more than enough to justify the switch for many non-critical use cases. Ideally, an interpreter would get paid the same hourly as she would on-site, and thus receive the same compensation for the time interpreted, but without the aggravation of bad traffic and running late. Unfortunately, this system also invites abuses by agencies who attempt to drive prices down further by establishing cheaper call centers offshore in countries where native speakers of the language live (e.g. Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, etc.). Although the quality is obviously lower, this pricing unfortunately resets the expectations of the market and pressures the entire industry to cut and cut their charges to be competitive with the offshore call centers. As we all know, when there is economic pressure, an inferior solution will be the preferred solution as long as enough people believe in it, regardless of what the experts say; this is why the iPhone beat Blackberry, even though the very first iPhone was so bad that most tech writers called it a failure and Blackberry just laughed and discounted the threat. But every 6 months, the iPhone got better and better until it changed the entire cell phone industry. VRI is at this precipice right now - lots of bugs to work out, but nothing the next 24 months cannot fix.

4. Future of VRI. VRI is for special use cases. Just like there are instances where a doctor or attorney over the phone is "good enough", there will always be situations where one MUST HAVE an on-site interpreter. The only question is whether VRI will be the 80% solution or the 20% solution for the various markets that require it. I don't know the answer to this, but I can tell you that every agency is desperate to buy technology that allows them to offer VRI because their end customers are requesting it.


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Stratus Video Interpreting predicts $1 billion market shift to video remote interpreting by 2016 as court and healthcare systems heed cost-effectiveness

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