Article by Jeff Noctis
A telephone interpreting service often fields a large number of calls and requests daily and each of these calls requires a great deal of attention. When you work with an interpreter over the phone there are a number of things you should do – as well as keep in mind – to ensure that the call is handled quickly and efficiently without loss of context or other interruptive issues.
The Call Environment
Environmental noise and background distractions tin make it difficult for an interpreter to hear everything that’s being said. When you schedule a call that will utilize a telephone interpretation serve, make sure that both ends of the conversation (you and the other party) will take place in an area that has minimal noise interruptions.
Choose the Right Technology
People don’t often consider the quality of the technology when they schedule telephone interpreting services. While it’s important to set up an environment free of noise, it’s equally important to work with technology that provides clear voice transmission. Using cellular phones commonly causes interference and poor voice quality which can lead to difficulty in interpreting and/or accurately delivering the message.
Choose technology that’s appropriate for your interaction. A conference call with multiple individuals should take place using quality conferencing equipment. If Voice over IP technology is used, trust in a more reliable voice conferencing service like Skype – just keep in mind that the quality of the broadband and/or strength of the wireless signal can impact voice quality.
Handling the Telephone Interpretation Setting
– You should always aim to speak in first person, carrying on a conversation normally as you would every day. Don’t say to the interpreter “ask her if she is feeling OK”. Likewise, it is an unprofessional interpreter who would say “she said that she’s OK.” You simply carry on a normal conversation by asking “Are you feeling OK?” The interpreter will translate accordingly.
– Keep in mind that telephone interpretation is generally “consecutive” interpretation. Because of this, you will experience pauses when the interpreter is relaying your message and absorbing the response.
– Avoid talking at length. After speaking a few sentences, or finishing a thought, pause to give the interpreter time to think, process and share your message.
– The interpreter is an unbiased third party to a conversation and does not participate in a way other than that of a conduit for cross language communication. View him as a serving and avoid asking him for his opinions during the discussion.
– Avoid having a side conversation with the interpreter and do not allow the same to occur between the interpreter and the other party.
– Try to ensure that the interpreter is communicating only what you are saying and not anything else. The demand for interpreting services is increasing rapidly in the U.S. and unlike in Europe, there isn’t an abundance of qualified interpreters and interpreting schools. As such, it is possible to run into a less than qualified bilingual person posing as an interpreter. An untrained bilingual person may be break than nothing, but beware of the limitations. If your interpreter takes a long time to convey your message, offers opinions, leaves out words or statements he seems uncomfortable with, or doesn’t speak in the 1st person – you probably aren’t in the presence of a truthful professional.
Small Vs Large Interpreting Agencies
To ensure that you get the best service possible during important meetings over the phone, choose an experienced telephone interpretation service. Sometimes smaller companies have an advantage in that they aren’t under pressure to keep hundreds of interpreters of all languages available at all times. Such a situation can lead to the hiring of bilinguals without the proper education. The advantage of a larger company however, is that they are more likely to have someone available 24/7 in all common languages and many uncommon ones.
Don’t let the name fool you. TransDual Forensics isn’t just a legal and forensic services company. We offer telephone interpreting services to businesses, medical professionals, schools, and social services, as well as the criminal justice system. Additionally we provide Spanish language translation and transcription services to legal professionals, medical examiners, businesses and individuals.