Virtual Remote Interpreting

Virtual Remote Interpreting (VRI) is a technology-supported solution designed to provide quality interpreting services in the Florida judicial system. Many courts around the country employ technology to facilitate language access through telephones and video conferencing systems. Florida’s VRI model is based on a telepresence concept that allows the interpreter to appear in the courtroom via remote audio and video connection and to provide simultaneous, consecutive, and sight interpreting as needed.  With VRI, the Florida courts have been able to bridge the geographical divide between qualified interpreters and those needing their services.  The Florida courts have been a leader in the application of this technology.

VRI Demonstration Video

The History of VRI in Florida's Courts

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Florida began a study of VRI as a statewide solution and pursued funding for the initiation of a pilot program in the trial courts. The Supreme Court charged the Commission on Trial Court Performance and Accountability (TCP&A) with studying the use of VRI technology to support interpreting service delivery. The TCP&A formed the Shared Remote Interpreting Workgroup and tasked the group with overseeing the development of a VRI pilot and an associated business model. 

The pilot program included the 7th, 9th, 14th, 15th, and the 16th judicial circuits. Some of the circuits acted as provider courts, some as consumer courts, and some as both providers and consumers. The results of the pilot established VRI as a viable service delivery model for interpreting services in the Florida courts.  One key to the Florida VRI model is the ability of the interpreter to provide the full range of interpreting services, including the ability to interpret simultaneously. Remote interpreting systems that lack this component may instead be providing interpretation with video, telephone, Skype, teleconferencing systems, speaker phones, etc.

Florida’s VRI system allows:

  • The interpreter to control the courtroom camera with pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) features;
  • Audio to be available in simultaneous, consecutive, and private modes; and
  • The judge, defendant, and courtroom participants to have visual of the interpreter within the courtroom.