Translation technology | 03.08.2020

Remote Interpreting: Zoom vs Remote Interpreter from The Translation People

Remote interpreting

The demand for remote interpreting software has increased by more than 200% since March of this year, according to translation thinktank Common Sense Advisory. Businesses have had to find solutions to the problem of having discussions, conferences and meetings in different languages during the travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are a number of different tools available to manage this challenge. Zoom is a relatively inexpensive and popular option that is often requested, however there is a growing number of dedicated interpreting platforms on the market, including our own Remote Interpreter platform. Many companies are unsure which tool is suitable for their particular requirement; when is it better to use Zoom and when is a dedicated remote interpreting platform such as the Translation People’s own Remote Interpreter appropriate?

The table below shows the benefits of each solution and to which situations we believe they are most suited. In short, Zoom is appropriate for smaller, more informal meetings, while the Remote Interpreter platform is best-suited for larger events, such as global conferences.

Whichever option is chosen, these tools offer certain benefits compared to face-to-face interpreting, namely the lack of travel and accommodation required (and the corresponding costs) – for delegates and translators alike.

ZoomRemote Interpreter
ScenarioInformal meetings on a smaller scale with discussions between all participantsLarge events or conferences with moderators and speakers
InterpreterTrained, professional simultaneous interpretersTrained, professional simultaneous interpreters
Interpreter booths1-2 interpreters per virtual booth, maximum 9 booths (i.e. 9 language combinations)1-2 interpreters per booth, unlimited number of booths
LanguagesUsers can select booths to cover English, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean.All languages covered
Interpreting functionsRelay interpreting (one interpreter translating for the other interpreters to then translate into their language) is not possible. Interpreters use chat for handovers. Interpreters cannot hear each otherRelay interpreting is possible. Handover button in the virtual cabin. Interpreters are connected to each other through chat and can hear each other. Can inform the speaker at the touch of a button if the speaker speaks too quickly


ChatOnly in the main event languageMultilingual chat available thanks to real-time machine translation
Active involvement of the participantsCan participate in the conversationParticipants only listen. Only designated speakers can speak
RecordingsOnly in the main meeting languageConference can be recorded in the main meeting language and interpreted languages
VideoAll participants can see each otherOnly the presenter is visible
PresentationSlides of the presentation can only be displayed in the main event languageTranslated versions of the slides can be uploaded so that participants automatically see the slides in the selected language
Technical support Not availableTechnician is present during the event and helps participants in case of technical problems, e.g. difficulties with audio or video
Software / hardware requirementsZoom software must be installed. Interpreter function only available in the paid Pro version. Good Internet connection and headphones with microphoneBrowser-based, therefore no software installation necessary. Good Internet connection and headphones with microphone
CostsAdmin fee plus interpreter costs. Generally a more cost effective version.Platform fees plus interpreter costs. A premium cost option.
Organisation and planning of the eventMinimal organisation necessary. Meeting only needs to be created and the link sent to the participantsAll participants need a login, which is prepared in advance. Moderator and speakers receive training in advance on the functions of the platform.
SecurityAccording to media reports, Zoom has had difficulty guaranteeing the security of its meetingsDedicated, private servers with high security. Unwelcome participants can be blocked
AdvantagesCost-efficient solution for smaller meetings, easy set-up.Up to 1500 participants. Unlimited booths and languages. Multilingual recordings and presentations. Better working conditions for interpreters. Can be integrated with on-site events



With experience of managing a variety of different situations and in a number of platforms, The Translation People can offer advice on the best possible option for your specific requirements. Contact us for more information.

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