Navigating remote interpreting

In today’s multi-lingual world, it is not uncommon for meetings to be held across different time zones and languages – meaning the need for remote interpreting is growing.

Whether it’s a business meeting with a client in Japan or a discussion between people with different native languages, more people are relying on remote interpreters to facilitate conversations. Remote interpreter services are a great option for businesses who need to communicate with individuals who speak a different language.

The ability to book a remote interpreter without the added need to incur travel and accommodation expenses to attend face-to-face, can also provide faster access to meet short meeting turnaround requirements and an overall more cost effective option.

If you’ve decided your meeting would benefit from a remote interpreter but you’re new to the language service, we explore it in more detail.

Why do businesses need remote interpreting?

Remote interpreting (which is typically carried out by telephone or video, and more recently via platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom) uses technology to connect interpreters and meeting participants.

All parties join the remote online meeting and an interpreter attends the call or video call to provide language support for those attendees who do not speak the language being used as confidently as other participants.

Time will be given to provide a verbal translation of the utterances, and in turn allow attendees to share responses and follow up questions – through further verbal translation. This helps to remove any language barriers and keep the conversation flowing.

Remote interpreting can be used for many different purposes, including:

  • Business meetings
  • Conferences
  • HR procedures
  • Supplier negotiations
  • Legal proceedings

A company might use remote interpreting if they want to host an online event where most attendees speak a different language – for example an international conference. Or it may be required for a 1-2-1 meeting, or smaller group of participants.

What is remote interpreting?

Remote interpreting is a service where a professional interpreter is provided over video or telephone. The technology used can include Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, and Google Meet – with the interpreters using whichever technology platform is preferred by the client.

The interpreter will be able to see and/or hear the meeting participants, as well as provide language support for them. This ensures everyone can follow the conversation in real time and all attendees feel included.

What does the remote interpreter do during the meeting?

As a remote interpreter, they are there to support the virtual/telephone meeting. They are not a meeting participant when it comes to decision making, and instead their role is to verbally translate and provide assistance to ensure that participants are able to follow the conversation.

They will be able to share questions and responses between the participants, provide an accurate translation of what is being said by each participant in real time and ensure that everyone understands each other clearly.

What languages will the remote interpreter be able to support?

When you hire a remote interpreter, you’ll be able to request what language you are looking for support with. This can also include local dialects where relevant, to provide an extra level of detail that participants will appreciate.

If your business needs something specific, the language solutions provider you choose to manage your booking will be able to arrange this.

How can you ensure the interpreter maintains confidentiality?

To receive the most reliable and discreet interpreting services, it’s important to seek out an interpreter who has been trained in confidentiality and has a track record of providing impartial interpreting. An experienced professional will provide accurate interpretation to all parties without any personal opinion or agenda.

The interpreter does not represent the company or any individual meeting participants. Rather, they serve as a neutral conduit for information between two languages and cultures by maintaining strict confidentiality at all times during their interaction with the meeting participants.

Why is it best to book an interpreter through a language solutions provider?

A language solutions provider will have an extensive database of experienced interpreters and be able to identify the best person to support with your requirements.

They’ll also have processes in place to ensure interpreters are vetted and thoroughly assessed, checking their qualifications and previous experience, and requesting references to confirm they deliver their interpreting support confidently and impartially.

The quality of their interpretation in terms of clarity, fluency and naturalness will also be assessed.

Here at Eldon, for example, our comprehensive interpreter assessment includes professional reference checks and qualification validation.

What can you expect when you book a remote interpreter?

The interpreter assigned to your booking will be given a full brief on what the meeting is about and how they are expected to support it.

When it comes to them joining the call you can expect:

Clear communication

The interpreter will use clear, concise language and professional communication skills to ensure that both participants understand each other.


The interpreter will follow a strict code of ethics that includes maintaining confidentiality of all information shared during the meeting.

Cultural awareness

The interpreter will have an understanding of the culture and language of participants involved in the conversation, to navigate any cultural or linguistic barriers that may arise.


The interpreter will conduct themselves in a professional manner throughout the interpretating session and will never contribute any personal opinions or remarks beyond their job description.


The interpreter will strive to provide accurate and complete interpretation of all communication exchanged between the parties.

What do you need to do to prepare for a remote interpreter?

As you plan for your online meeting, there are a few things that you can do to help facilitate an effective interpretation.

  • Check the lighting for all participants is good – and people can easily be seen
  • Ensure the speaker quality on laptops and headsets being used is high quality – so the conversation can be clearly heard
  • Ask participants not to join in a communal space – where background noise may disturb the meeting
  • Make sure internet connections are strong enough to avoid any disruption
  • If the meeting is being recorded ensure all participants are notified
  • If there are restrictions as to what is classed as a safe space for the interpreter to work from (e.g. videolink with prison, courts, etc.), please make sure to advise your language provider of your safety policy

Looking for interpreting support?

Eldon is a trusted provider of fully qualified and experienced interpreters alongside a range of language solutions. Since 1965, Eldon has been delivering high quality interpreting and translation services in more than 135 languages – helping facilitate thousands of conversations and making meetings more productive.

If you’d like to find out more about how our remote interpreting can help support your online meetings, then get in touch with our team.