Remote vs Onsite Interpreting: The Post-pandemic Equilibrium

Article co-written by Sarah Hickey and Rosemary Hynes.

There’s no point having data if it’s not up to date! That’s why we are publishing the latest version of our graph that shows the market split between onsite and remote interpreting services (first published in the 2021 Nimdzi Interpreting Index). We wanted to see if what we predicted in September 2021 regarding the market split in the post-pandemic world actually panned out. The results now show that according to our latest research, our prediction largely holds up, with only minor variations. For instance, we estimate that the percentage of over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) decreased ever so slightly (by 2%) and was absorbed into video remote interpreting (VRI) and RSI instead.

More noticeably, for the first time, we have added the percentage of the market occupied by hybrid meetings into the graphic. In the September 2021 version, we already mentioned hybrid meetings and estimated that in the years to come they would occupy between 10% and 20% of the market. We can now confirm that this estimate is on track and currently stands at 12%. In our graphic, the percentage for hybrid meetings overlaps with both the percentages for onsite and RSI services, as hybrid meetings typically involve a mix of both. We can expect that the market share of hybrid meetings will continue to grow going forward. 

It is worth stressing that this graph only takes into account human-facilitated interpreting and does not include the share of machine interpreting (MI). With the gain in MI, it will most likely be represented in the future market estimations. As it stands though, the MI percentage is still too low to be visualized here.  

Overall, and just as we estimated two years ago, the interpreting landscape no longer resembles that of the pre-pandemic era.

The share of onsite interpreting is not the 80% it was, but is still a reasonable 51% (including the crossover of hybrid meetings). Remote interpreting is steadily gaining ground and we can expect this share of the market to continue to advance significantly, particularly in telehealth. However, we can note that a certain equilibrium has been achieved at this point in time in the remote versus onsite shares compared to the dramatic imbalance at the height of the pandemic.

This article was co-written by Sarah Hickey, Nimdzi's VP of Research. If you have any questions about interpreting technology, reach out to Sarah at [email protected].

This article was co-written by Rosemary Hynes, Nimdzi's Lead Interpreting Researcher. If you have any questions about interpreting technology, reach out to Rosemary at [email protected].

26 April 2023

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