Here’s all you need to know about remote simultaneous interpreting

    Hosting a multilingual webinar with simultaneous interpreting may appear a little bit daunting at first — from identifying the necessary languages to securing the proper equipment, organizing a multilingual webinar can be a lot of work. If you’re not sure where to begin, a trusted language service provider can help you figure out all the right tools and techniques you’ll need to make your event a success.

    To start, you’ll likely need to seek out remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) services. There are two key components to RSI that set it apart from other types of interpreting: As the name implies, it’s both remote (i.e., the interpreter is not physically present at the event) and simultaneous, meaning it takes place at the same time the main speaker presents in the original language.

    Simultaneous interpretation is a particularly specialized style of interpreting. The cognitive effort of listening to the speaker and while translating their speech into another language at the same time can be quite strenuous. As a result, simultaneous interpreters often work in teams and they can be a bit pricier than consecutive interpreters, who wait for a speaker to complete any given utterance before translating their message.

    This method of interpreting is typically used for events like conferences and webinars, as they allow people to understand the content of these events in real-time, without having to slow the pace of the presentation. RSI services allow interpreters to conduct their work remotely, making it easier to schedule an interpreter who can do the job from any location in the world — as long as they have a good internet connection.

    If you’re planning to host a multilingual webinar and want to provide remote interpreting services, here’s what you need to know to get started. And for more general information on planning a multilingual event, don’t forget to take a look at our 2021 blog post on best practices for organizing a multilingual event, which includes tips that work for both remote and on-site events.

    If you don’t have time to go through everything or simply need a refresher on how RSI works, simply scroll on down to the “Summary” section at the bottom of this page for a quick and easy breakdown of everything you need to know to get started when planning and hosting a multilingual webinar.

    Key factors for coordinating Remote Simultaneous Interpreting services

    Taking a thoughtful approach to planning out your remote event interpretation can make all the difference. RSI services are a great way to provide seamless multilingual experiences for attendees of your webinar, but it’s important to keep the following factors in mind when commissioning an interpreting service for your event.


    As most event planners ought to know, providing yourself with ample time to organize all aspects of an event is critical to making sure your event runs smoothly. Just as you’ll want to set a date and coordinate marketing early on, you’ll also want to plan ahead for having an interpreter.

    We recommend booking an interpreter at least two weeks in advance, but the more time you have, the better. This is especially true for underrepresented languages, which may have fewer interpreters available.

    You’ll want to avoid scheduling an interpreter at the last minute — the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to book somebody and it can even be a bit more expensive if you book one too late in the game. That’s not to mention, the earlier you book an interpreter, the more time they’ll have to prepare themselves for the event. 


    Remote Simultaneous Interpreting equipment can be quite technical. You’ll either want to rent equipment through a provider, or invest in a high-quality audio and microphone system for your speakers. This means using a microphone with cords rather than Bluetooth. You’ll also want to connect to an internet cable, rather than using wi-fi.

    Choppy audio that cuts in and out is a common pet peeve among interpreters, as it can lead them to miss important words throughout the presentation. Cheap audio equipment and a poor internet connection can also lead to unexpected technological difficulties, disrupting the overall flow of the webinar. And at worst, glitchy audio puts interpreters at risk for something called acoustic shock, which can cause extremely unpleasant symptoms like tinnitus, headaches, and even nausea.

    If sign language interpreters are involved, it’s also essential to have a clear camera with good lighting to capture every gesture and movement.

    Additionally, you should consider if any parts of the presentation will require consecutive interpreting — for example, a Q&A — and plan for that possibility accordingly.


    Like translators, many interpreters will specialize in certain niches — that means an interpreter who specializes in medical interpretation may not be the ideal choice for your webinar on public policy. When booking an interpreter for an event you’ll want to be sure to know exactly what topics you plan to cover and provide that information to the LSP and any interpreters you’re working with.

    If available, you can even provide the interpreters with any context surrounding the event or materials that will be presented at the event, such as:

    • Event flyers
    • Speech scripts
    • Pre-recorded videos
    • PowerPoint presentations

    Allowing the simultaneous interpreters access to these materials in advance will help increase the quality of the interpretation for the participants. This information will allow interpreters to prepare for the event and conduct any research that’s necessary beforehand.

    Dry Test Run

    We highly recommend conducting a dry test run of the webinar beforehand. You can coordinate this with your LSP, which will ensure that all parties involved in the webinar — the speakers, interpreters, and other organizers — will be familiar with the technology and equipment necessary to run the webinar smoothly.

    Plus, if there’s an issue with anybody’s equipment, conducting a dry test run allows you to identify the problem and fix it well in advance of the actual event, so you don’t have to worry about anything going awry at the webinar.


    Preparing for a remote multilingual event doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are the key things you’ll want to keep in mind when booking RSI services to ensure that everything moves smoothly at your multilingual webinar:

    • Try to book an interpreter at least two weeks before your event is scheduled.
    • Make sure you have all the right equipment and technology necessary to conduct the webinar and offer RSI services.
    • Provide your interpreter with the topics you plan on covering so that they can prepare ahead of time.
    • Conduct a dry test run once you’ve booked an interpreter, to make sure all the equipment and technology are running properly.

    By following these best practices, you can make sure that your multilingual webinar is accessible to folks from all sorts of linguistic backgrounds.

    If you’re hosting a remote event and need interpreting services, Avantpage is happy to offer RSI services and further consultation for your unique situation. Contact us today at [email protected] or (530) 750-2040 to learn more about our RSI offerings.