With COVID-19 and most communications becoming remote-based, being able to reach the services of a professional interpreter in a few seconds, wherever you are, is ever more useful. A myriad of industries benefit from over the phone interpreting.
In what situations is over-the-phone interpreting useful?
Over-the-phone interpreting –OPI for short – is multilingual communication made possible thanks to technology that connects you with interpreters in all the languages you may need. With growing language diversity in the developed world, especially in the US, this service can make a difference in the impact your organization can have.
From health care facilities providing services to multicultural communities, to call centers fielding calls in multiple languages each day, having the help of professional language experts is a plus.
Also, a large number of clients prefer conducting their purchases over the phone, rather than shopping online. So, if you are looking to reach a multicultural client group, having a team of professional interpreters available within seconds OPI is likely the right solution for you.
OPI as a way to advocate for human rights
In cases where an interpreting service can mean the inclusion of minority communities, OPI can be the difference between the rights of those communities being guaranteed or not. In geographically distant locations where easy access to a professional interpreter in a minority language is not possible, an OPI service can be the answer. With a simple phone call, you can be connected to a specialized linguist.
Also, in situations where legal or medical words are used, not having a fully trained interpreter can cost money, breaches in confidentiality or put someone’s life at risk. This is why your organization can make sure it is providing the high-quality language services the community needs, without having to rely on non-specialized language speakers to do the job. Particularly with COVID-19 restrictions to in-person meetings, having a remote or OPI interpreter with the required subject matter expertise can be a great asset.
Particularly in the USA, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that limited English speakers (LEP citizens) have a federal right to interpretation, at no cost, and denying it is considered discriminatory in the eyes of the law. In the State of California, the law forbids children from serving as interpreters in the communication of medical diagnosis or treatments in state-funded medical facilities. Because the presence of LEP citizens in medical or emergency situations is hard to predict, OPI can become the most convenient solution to such scenarios.
How is OPI different from other forms of interpreting?
In a regular multilingual conference or meeting, there would normally be an interpreter present in person. Typically, they would sit in the same room as the speakers or in a sound-proof booth.. With OPI, the interpreter can be located anywhere in the world, as they provide their services remotely.
Evidently, this means no travel costs for the interpreter to arrive at the location. However, because they are not on-site, there is the difficulty of the interpreter not being able to see the situation. This is why they need to be specialists, having undergone quality training to acquire the skills involved in this type of work.
In medical environments, it is also quite common for patients to ask a family member to assist with interpreting their doctor visits. But imagine if all of the implications of a medical diagnosis, or a patient’s consent to a specific medical treatment being badly interpreted. OPI is a radically different experience than relying on a patient’s relative, because the interpreter is technically savvy and has taken a confidentiality oath.
Furthermore, during emergency phone calls where you need to cater for a multilingual audience, organizations must ensure a fully-trained interpreter is available to assist telephone agents. With an OPI service, they can simply dial in an interpreter in their phone calls, within seconds.
What are the benefits of over-the-phone interpreting?
From all of the above, you probably have a clearer idea of the perks of hiring an over the phone interpreting service. But if you are still wondering whether it’s convenient or not, here are a few more benefits:
- cost effective
- an asset in expanding to a multicultural clientele
- the best solution for emergency interpretation
- a precise (not paraphrased or summarized) interpretation service, ideal for medical scenarios
- fully confidential