Interpreter with Headphones

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)

Video remote interpreting (VRI) uses audio and video technologies to provide court users with spoken or sign language interpreting through a remote or off-site interpreter. On a case-by-case basis, the court will determine if a particular event is appropriate for VRI.

VRI in the Courts

VRI, when properly implemented, can be a practical and sensible tool for providing language access to limited English proficient (LEP) court users when qualified, in-person interpreter resources are not readily available. Not only can the appropriate use of VRI help courts to meet their interpretation needs, it can also help court users to receive timely and qualified interpretation services and meaningful access to justice.

Potential Benefits of VRI: 

  • Increased access to qualified (certified and registered) interpreters, especially in less common languages and for courts in remote locations.
  • Provides court users with interpreters in their language without extended delay, despite not being in the same room or even in the same city.
  • Allows court users to resolve short, non-complex, and uncontested hearings when on-site interpreters are unavailable, lowering the need to reschedule court visits. 

Resources for VRI in the Courts


VRI Guidelines (updated May 21, 2021): The Recommended Guidelines and Minimum Specifications for Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) for Spoken Language-Interpreted Events have been updated and provide general guidance to courts to support VRI use for spoken language-interpreted events in physical and virtual courtrooms, including key considerations and recommended minimum technology specifications.

American Sign Language (ASL) VRI Guidelines (2012): The Recommended Guidelines for Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) for ASL-Interpreted Events help courts determine whether VRI is appropriate for a given event with ASL interpretation and whether the courtroom equipment meets the minimum technology requirements for effective use of VRI.

Remote Hearings Resources for Court Users

Short videos, infographics, and guides are available in English and Spanish as part of the California Courts Self-Help Guide to help court users successfully participate in their remote hearings and access interpretation. Resource topics include how to prepare for remote hearings and how to use platforms like Zoom and Cisco Webex. These resources will also be available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

Limited Telephonic & Remote Interpreter Services

Effective July 1, 2022, the Judicial Council of California has entered into a master agreement with United Language Group (ULG). When a participating court is unable to secure a California certified or registered court interpreter, these optional services may be used to provide interpretation at self-help centers, public counters, and for other court services and programs. Telephonic interpreter services are available for spoken languages, and VRI services are available for American Sign Language (ASL).

Please visit the Procurement Services webpage for the master agreement and amendment (for ASL VRI services on platforms like Zoom), updated user instructions, and participating addendum.