Video remote interpreting (VRI)

The Video Remote Interpreting service, also known as VRI, enables communication between hearing people and people who are Deaf and use Australian sign language, or Auslan as their primary language

Video remote interpreting involves the interpreter listening to spoken information and interpreting this into Auslan. In the same way, they also interpret Auslan into spoken English for a hearing person, using video conferencing technology and the internet.

A variety of meetings can be supported using video remote interpreting. The most common is where the interpreter is located in Melbourne, usually at the Victorian Deaf Society (Vicdeaf) office where video conferencing equipment is available. This equipment then links to the signing Deaf person and their service provider/organisational representative, at the second location, via the internet.

Who provides this service?

Auslan language services are provided by the Victorian Interpreting and Translating Service (VITS) in partnership with Auslan Connections, a joint venture of Victorian Deaf Society (Vicdeaf) and Deaf Services Queensland.

Organisations funded by us, and our staff can access video remote interpreting via VITS. This is organised through our language services credit line.

Organisations not funded by us can access video remote interpreting by contacting Auslan Connections, directly.

Benefits of using video remote interpreting

  • It provides access to professional interpreting services and enabling communication between people who are Deaf and use Auslan as their primary language, and hearing people
  • Due to improved technology supports, video remote interpreting is now an alternative to on-site Auslan interpreting
  • It is a convenient way for people in regional or remote areas to access interpreting services when on-site interpreting is not an option
  • Reduces cost and travel time for Auslan interpreters
  • Uses a safe and secure internet connection
  • It is compatible with all major video conferencing systems and connects to computers and portable devices (tablets).

About Auslan interpreters

Auslan interpreters are accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). They are required to abide by the Australian Sign Language Interpreters’ Association (ASLIA) code of ethics and guidelines for professional conduct. 

You can download the Code of ethics and guidelines for professional conduct from the ASLIA Victoria website. The association also provides a directory of Auslan interpreters.

Further information is available on the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters website.

  • How to book a video remote interpreting service

    The disability service provider who has a meeting with a deaf person is responsible for booking the video remote interpreting service. Department and funded agency staff with a Victorian Interpreting and Translating Service (VITS) identification number (PIN) can arrange a booking.

    Video remote interpreting Auslan interpreters can be booked for meetings with a range of service providers, including health professionals and community and government agencies.

    Ideally, video remote interpreting services should be booked ahead of time by the service provider or the organisation’s representative, where a meeting between an English speaker and signing Deaf person is to occur.

    Bookings for video remote interpreting are available Monday to Friday from 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM. The service is not available after hours, on public holidays or weekends. Emergency after hours Auslan interpreting can be provided on-site by Auslan Connections

    Process for booking video remote interpreting

    • Step 1: Determine if your organisation is funded by the department. If your organisation is not funded by the department, contact Auslan Connections directly to book the Video remote interpreting service.
    • Step 2: If your organisation is funded by us, contact VITS to make a booking for video remote interpreting.
    • Step 3: VITS will advise Auslan Connections of the booking.
    • Step 4: Auslan Connections will contact you directly to organise your video remote interpreting service.

    Tips for organising your booking

    When making a booking, the language service provider will require the date, time and nature of the meeting, including the names of people participating in the meeting.

    The language service provider may ask you for more information about the meeting. This is to assist with matching an Auslan interpreter that will be best able to support you to meet your needs. Some interpreters are trained to work in circumstances such as complex medical or legal appointments.

    Auslan Connections will arrange to test the connection before your initial video remote interpreting booking commences. Testing helps to optimise the quality of the service and may take 1 or 2 days to complete.

    Tips for the video setup

    It is recommended to be available at least 15 minutes before the start of your meeting. This allows time to make any adjustments to the setup. This may include:

    • Any required technical adjustments
    • Set up adjustments which take into account the number of people in the room and the lighting
    • Time for the interpreter to ensure both parties can hear and see each other clearly.

    It is best to ensure the area where the call will take place is quiet and that you will not be interrupted. This will improve the quality of the service.

    It is recommended that the person communicating in Auslan sits in front of the camera (laptop, iPad or video conferencing unit), preferably with a solid wall behind them. This improves the visual display for the interpreter and assists in the communication exchange.

  • Technology information for video remote interpreting

    Video remote interpreting services are provided using video conferencing equipment which is able to connect with:

    • Devices such as a laptop, tablet or computer with ClearSea™ software installed
    • Video conferencing equipment such as Tandberg, Polycom or Cisco systems.

    How to access ClearSea™ software

    The ClearSea™ software is free to install when a video remote interpreting service booking has been confirmed by the language service provider. To install the software, a username and password will be provided by the language service provider.

    The ClearSea™ software can be downloaded from the Auslan Connections website.

    The system works best with a strong internet speed and can also work across a 4G connection. The minimum internet speed is 512kbps (in both directions, to upload and download data).

    Note: It is highly desirable to test connections for video remote interpreting before the commencement of a meeting. Testing may take 1 or 2 days to complete. To arrange a test of the connection, contact Auslan Connections.

Department of Health and Human Services
13 36 77
Auslan Connections
1300 010 877 or SMS: 0401 775 383
Victorian Interpreting and Translating Service (VITS)
03 9280 1955