This post was most recently updated on February 15th, 2022
[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
I’ve worked as a translator for more than 7 years and being an interpreter in my opinion is more difficult than translating documents. Translation and interpretation are often used interchangeably, but there are clear distinctions between them. Simply put, a translator is a person who works with written text while an interpreter is someone who works with spoken words and translates orally.
I’ve done both actually, but I mostly spend my years comfortably being a translator. As a translator, I work in one direction, which is focused on converting a document from a source to a target language. Translators can take hours to translate a single document and often use dictionaries and other reference materials to support their work. Translators must be creative because their job is not just replacing one word with another, it’s about conveying the meaning and context of the original document.
Interpreters need to be able to translate in both directions, on the spot. I used to do this every day when I worked as a personal assistant for a foreign company. I don’t have time to use a dictionary and I believe my grammar is messed up. Interpreters are often required to work at speed, they need to have extraordinary listening capabilities, especially for simultaneous interpreting. On top of that, they are required to have strong public speaking skills, great self-confidence, and exceptional knowledge of both the target and source language.
What is over-the-phone interpretation?
With COVID-19, companies in need more over-the-phone interpreters as people start communicating remotely. Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI) is exactly what it sounds like: having an interpreter help you over the phone. With the help of Over-the-Phone Interpretation, you can break the language barrier that you may be faced during your travel in another country, meetings with French clients, or communicate with your limited English proficiency clients.
With growing language diversity, over-the-phone interpreting can make a difference in the impact your company can have. From health care to legal communities providing multiple languages and cultural backgrounds, having the help of professional language experts is a plus.
Benefits of over-the-phone interpretation service
When you are in a situation where you need legal or medical experts to understand certain words, not having an interpreter can cost money, put someone’s life at risk, or even breach confidentiality. Particularly with pandemic restrictions, having a remote or over-the-phone interpretation can be a great asset.
Over-the-phone interpretation is available no matter when and where you are calling from. Many people prefer over-the-phone Interpretation for transmitting urgent information quickly. Let’s say you need an urgent interpreter to communicate with your client, so you just need to call the OPI service and you’re only paying for the time that you use the service. This is why OPI is still in high demand in the world of interpretation.
Once you connected with an interpreter, you simply pass the phone receiver back and forth between the English speaker and the non-English speaker. Other times, you can choose to place the call on speakerphone, so the passing back and forth of the receiver is eliminated. That depends on your preference. Whatever your method is, there is no impact on the final outcome of the service.
Instead of forcing yourself to understand what your client is saying and you both are having trouble communicating with each other, you can pick up your phone and call your interpreting service provider. You will not only be solving a problem but giving excellent service to your client!
Even if you are looking for a certain language you have never heard of, chances are that your provider has an interpreter waiting to help you. With no prior planning, you will be connected with an interpreter of almost any language at any time of the day. It’s really amazing how quickly an issue like a communication problem can be solved in a matter of time. And you know what? OPI contributes faster response times, which is vital for emergencies situation, such as the medical field.
Over-the-Phone Interpretation is a simple, quick, easy, inexpensive, and effective way to communicate with some people that may not speak your language. Rather than hiring full-time on-site interpreters who may not be needed during a particular day, companies can choose to work with an interpreting service provider.