Interpreting and Translating Over the Phone

One would imagine that interpretation and translations services would largely be required in foreign trade given that the U.S. is primarily an Englishspeaking nation. However, the fact that millions of U.S. residents, many of whom were born in this country, speak a language other than English belies this assumption.

This would mean that there would be a very large requirement for phone interpreters and telephone translation services within the U.S., as these people go about their daily lives. Take something like healthcare services for instance, where one often needs to communicate with patients via a telephone. Someone with limited proficiency in English may be at risk if he or she does not have access to a phone interpreter.

Of course, the demand for both phone interpreters and telephone translation services is huge in international trade, politics, and business as well. If you plan to have a telephonic conversation with a client or business partner in another country who doesn’t speak English, you just cannot do it without the help of a telephone interpreter service.

Vital as over the phone interpreting and translation are, it is very important that the professionals who offer these services are extremely well trained at their jobs. Only then will they enable the two people they are helping communicate to have a real conversation. A good phone interpreter will make them feel that they are actually talking to each other, even though they speak different languages.  A competent and experienced phone interpreter will enable a smooth and seamless conversation in the most unobtrusive way.

In the absence of visual cues, it is the way that a telephonic conversation is enhanced by the interpreter that helps the two participants in a conversation get their points across in an effective manner. Besides, the interpreter will also have to be mindful of the cultural sensitivities of their clients while having a conversation. An American client might be okay with a frank and direct way of communicating, while his Japanese counterpart may prefer a more formal style. In such situations, an able phone interpreter will be able to act as a cultural bridge between the two and help them develop a rapport.

If one were to set down the qualities that would define a stellar over the phone interpreter, these would be-

  1. A thoroughly professional manner of speaking.
  2. Masterly command of the languages to be used.
  3. Knowledge of the industry being served. Somebody working for the healthcare sector, for instance, should be fairly knowledgeable about it.
  4. Maintaining confidentiality with regard to the sensitive client information they become privy to.

Telephone interpreting is something that is required across segments- governments, business, healthcare, the Department of Justice, and even the residential sector. This is true of any country in the world in today’s interconnected world, but especially so in a multi-ethnic society and nation like the U.S.

Considering that so much rides on the abilities of an over the phone interpreter, it is important that one works with an individual or an agency that is highly recommended.  One might want to check if the interpreters in question possess the necessary certification as well as industry testimonials. Besides, they needed to be vetted from a security point of view as well, considering the fact that they might come to acquire confidential information from the clients in the discharge of their duties.

Apart from the quality and pedigree of their staff, phone translation service companies also need to be able to respond to any request for the services of an over the phone interpreter in double quick time. A businessman, for instance, may need to address an overseas client’s urgent query about product specifications. On the other hand, a healthcare provider may need urgent help with regard to dealing with a medical emergency.

Telephone Translation Service providers must also be able to scale up their offerings as and when required by their clients. One can imagine that running such a service is quite a challenge, considering that one might be called upon to render service in one of the more than 200 languages in use in countries around the world. That apart, one might have to possess expertise in matters ranging from law and business to healthcare and the justice system!

The best telephone translation service providers, for instance, will ensure that their healthcare clients are provided with interpreters who are Joint Commission and  HIPAA compliant.  Being able to perfectly anticipate and meet their clients’ special requirements is the hallmark of highly professional translation and interpretations services organization.

The digital age has brought about a tremendous expansion in international trade and commerce. It has also made the average consumer of goods and services more aware and conscious of their rights. This has led to people communicating and reaching out far more than before, leading to a tremendous increase in demand for phone translation services. So despite all the technological advances made in terms of one’s ability to communicate, it is the good old telephone invented in the last part of the nineteenth century that still holds sway!

This is because human beings communicate best verbally. Written communication might impart efficiency, but humans need to connect on a more basic primeval level that is only possible by talking to one another, even if it is through a phone interpreter.  That is why the leaders of the world have a hotline to their contemporaries around the world that is used in times of grave emergencies. The role of translators and interpreters has always been a very important one, albeit a behind the scenes one. In a sense they are like the transportation network that brings us our goods and supplies without our giving it a second thought, but should it stop working for some reason, there would be chaos.

These interpreters and translators have been silently and efficiently helping governments, businesses and all manner of professionals go about their business in the most efficient way possible across geographies. It might be a good idea to spare a thought to their immense but unnoticed contribution to the affairs of the world.