Remote Interpreting Resources

Remote Interpreting (RI) offers two modalities to provide the services of a qualified (certified) healthcare interpreter, usually located at a call center, to speakers at a different location (e.g. hospital, clinic, etc.):

  • Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) uses videoconferencing technology, equipment, and a high-speed Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth;
  • Over-the-Phone Interpreting (OPI) uses telephonic connection and usually special equipment (e.g. dual handset phone).


Scripts for Interpreters

The scripts provided below are intended as general examples only. CCHI thanks Health Care Interpreter Network (HCIN) and UCSF Medical Center for sharing their suggestions.


Introduction to the Provider

“Hi, my name is X, Spanish interpreter. For your record, my ID number is XYZ. Can you hear me well? How may I help you?”

{The caller identifies him / herself and mentions the patient’s name and the nature of interpreting. If they don’t, you ask:}

  • May I have your name and medical specialty or service? OR May I have your name, role, and where you are?
  • May I have the patient’s name so I may address him / her with courtesy?
  • Could you tell me the patient’s age and gender, please?

{If a provider hesitates giving the patient’s name or age due to privacy considerations, say, “It’s just for courtesy, I do not keep names…”}

Then continue:

“May I go ahead and explain to your patient how I work.”

Introduce yourself to the patient (see below). Finish with interpreting back to the provider what you told the patient:

“Doctor, you probably know what I explained. I told your patient that it’s my pleasure to help.  I will repeat everything from one language into the other, that the conversation is confidential, that I will ask for a pause or clarification if I need one, and that I hope the two of you speak directly to each other. I also checked that the patient hears me well. Thank you. We’re ready.”


Introduction to the Patient

“Hi, my name is X, I’ll be your Spanish interpreter today. Have you used video {or phone} interpreting before?”

If no, – continue:

“Everything is confidential, and you are not being recorded. I will interpret everything I hear in the room. Please speak loudly and clearly and pause often for the interpretation. Please address the doctor directly. Can you hear me well?”

If yes, – continue:

“I will interpret everything I hear in the room. This conversation is confidential. Please speak loudly and clearly and pause often for the interpretation. Please address the doctor directly. Can you hear me well?”

Depending on the situation and culture, you may want to ask how the patient prefers to be addressed.


Asking for Clarification

“The interpreter needs clarification.”


Instructions to Patients on how to use Zoom

The two Zoom Roadmaps below are provided courtesy of Clara Lai, interpreter at UCSF Health.

Instructions on using Zoom – English

Instructions on using Zoom – Chinese

We sincerely thank UCSF Health for sharing these simple instructions to patients in several formats and languages:


Articles and Books on RI:

Cheng, Quianya. Examining the challenges for telephone interpreters in New Zealand. 2015: click here

Kelly, Nataly. A Medical Interpreter’s Guide to Telephone Interpreting. 2008: click here

Kelly, Nataly. Telephone Interpreting: A Comprehensive Guide to the Profession. 2007. CCHI thanks the author for the permission to share the link to her book: click here


Online Courses and Recorded Webinars:

The Remote Interpreter Webinar Series by Cross-Cultural Communications (April 2020) – the most comprehensive online training to date – at

ATA’s on-demand webinar “Freelancing as a Remote and Distant Interpreter: Over-the-Phone and Webcast Interpreting”: click here

CCHI’s recorded webinar “COVID-19’s Impact on Healthcare Interpreting” (3/21/20):

HCIN’s online course “Protocols and Tips for Video Remote Interpreters in Healthcare” (1.5 hrs): click here

InterpreTips “When the Provider and Patient Share One Headset”: click here


NCIHC’s webinars at (free to members):

Orange County Department of Education – video on remote interpreting of IEP meetings (04/08/2020), great practical tips and scripts applicable to healthcare settings: click here

The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators Inc.: Webinar on Phone Interpreting in Australia


Links and Posts about Remote Interpreting (Spoken languages):

InterpretAmerica 2020 (3/26/20) – Event recording and resources:

Anna Stieg’s blog post:

Liz Essary’s blog post:

AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) Distance/Remote Interpreting Resources: click here

Information about remote interpreting in Australia: click here


Video Technology:

VRI Hardware & Connection: click here

Article about looking good on video calls:

Video about looking good on webcam: click here

Tech-savvy interpreter – videos from InterpretAmerica:

Article about headsets: click here

Info about Acoustic Shock – so you can search for headsets that can prevent/mitigate/alleviate its possibility – click here

(Disclaimer: CCHI does not endorse or recommend any specific products; all links are provided for information purposes only. Please, use your own judgement when selecting a headset for continuous use.)


Sign Language Resources:

Gallaudet University’s links to presentations at 2010 National Symposium on Interpreting via Video: click here

National Association of the Deaf’s VRI resources:

National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers. Steps Toward Identifying Effective Practices in Video Remote Interpreting: 2010 Report: click here

Resources of the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers:

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf’s (RID) publication “Video Remote Interpreting”: click here

RID’s presentation “VRI: Friend or Foe?”:


Telemedicine (Virtual Health) Integration with RI

Article in The Verge about current challenges (06/04/2020): click here to access


If you would like to share your resources, please send the info to Thank you!

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