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What are the advantages of using telephone interpreters

Language can be a barrier to any international business communication, but telephone interpreting is a quick and easy solution to your communication problems. That’s what makes telephone interpreting a vital service for many companies worldwide.

Telephone interpreters may also be required in such instances as hospital appointments, court appearances, police interviews, etc. Here’s what telephone interpreters do and how they can be useful for your business.

What is telephone interpretation?

Telephone interpretation is a way of translating dialogue between individuals who do not speak the same language. The telephone interpreter converts the spoken dialogue in the language of one participant to the language of another participant, and back again over the phone, or via video link.

A telephone interpreter will usually perform a consecutive interpretation, meaning they listen first, and then they talk.

What are the advantages of choosing a telephone interpreter?

Telephone interpreting is available at very short notice

Telephone interpreters can be available in under a minute, ready and prepared when an interpreter is required unexpectedly. This makes telephone interpretation the ideal solution for GP surgeries, hospitals, local and central government bodies and the police, where the need for interpreting can often arise with little notice.

Telephone interpreting is the preferred mode of interpretation for conversations of around 30 minutes or less, which makes it more akin to a ‘pay as you go’ service. The reduced time it takes to takes to set up a telephone interpreting session compared to a face-to-face translation also makes it more time and cost efficient.

Telephone interpreting is not subject to geographical limitations

With today’s tech, it’s easier than ever to ‘dial in’ to a telephone conversation or video conferencing call in order to perform a telephone interpretation. In fact, none of the participants need be in the same geographical location as one another so long as there is an audio link.

For example, emergency and crisis response can take doctors and medics to remote locations around the world, where having a medical interpreter physically present is likely fraught with logistical challenges and unwarranted risk. Connecting patients with doctors via telephone interpreters is one example of how telephone interpretation is saving lives in such geographically remote locations as the Syrian desert.

In the business and financial sectors, international trade deals and purchases are often settled under a time-pressured deadline or with a rapid turnaround. In such cases, arranging for a face-to-face interpreter to commute or travel to your business location may cause unwarranted and troublesome delays.

Another advantage for those conducting international businesses is that no matter where, or in which time zone you operate, our interpreters are available on demand, 24/7, 365 days a year at a moment’s notice.

Telephone interpreting is a solution when anonymity is preferred

In the case of medical and police conversations, parties may prefer for a third-party interpreter to perform their role remotely so as not to compromise the confidentiality of an patient or defendant. This physical barrier can be reassuring in such cases as highly personal information is to be shared, or a person would prefer their identity remains anonymous for safety and security reasons.

That goes for the interpreter too when the responsibility of interpreting upsetting content might prove difficult. In criminal cases, for example, an interpreter may prefer to deliver their translation remotely so as to remain anonymous. In an interview with The Guardian, Nuremberg Trials interpreter Siegfried Ramler recalls an event in which a colleague felt too complicit to perform her interpretation in the courtroom: “a word came up that she could not bring herself to pronounce, because it was so vulgar… she stopped, she just wouldn’t do it.”

Further advantages of telephone interpreters

Granted, the remoteness of over the phone interpreting can make it challenging for a telephone interpreter to pick up on the body language of participants, which is how much of that which we communicate is conveyed. This is where face-to-face interpreting is often preferred, but this can be mitigated as video interpreting technology improves in quality and reliability.

Global Voices is the first interpretation company in the UK to provide on-demand video interpretation. Our Instant Video Interpretation (IVI) system is a web-based video conferencing system that enables organisations to connect to a qualified language interpreter when and wherever is required. Applications include interpretations for the public sector, including the NHS, courts, prisons and police.

If you’re seeking a service that is both time and cost efficient, a service can be delivered remotely, or where privacy is a concern, make telephone or video interpreting your method of choice.

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