When to Use Telephone Interpreting

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Telephone interpreting has a history dating back to the 1970s and it’s still an essential service today – because of the distinct advantages it has over other methods of interpreting. At Kwintessential, our telephone interpreting service is one of the best in the industry. Here are our top picks for when to use telephone interpreting.


In Hospitals – Overseas and at Home


Interpreting in medical situations can be tricky, but an expert interpreter will effectively convey accurate information in the target language. Over the phone, the already tricky task of medical interpreting can be even trickier still – without body language and visual cues to help communicate, all emotion and importance is placed on tone of voice and delivery. This all comes naturally to an accomplished interpreter. They’ll have both languages completely under control, while also mastering their tone and delivery to match the situation.


But if the lack of visual cues makes telephone interpreting more difficult, why would you use it in the first place? For a start, it’s much cheaper than physically sending an interpreter to a location – and crucially, it’s much faster.


When Speed is Key


In emergencies or pressing situations, time is precious. In a life and death situation, effective and fast communication is essential to survival. A language barrier could prove to be fatal. Telephone interpreters are relied upon to ensure instant, smooth communication during emergencies. Excellent command of the source and target languages, coupled with a cool head and quick thinking – these qualities make a telephone interpreter an excellent ally in a crisis.


To Reduce Human Contact


It seems strange, but this is a real world need. A third party isn’t always a welcome addition to a stressful or tense situation – throwing an interpreter into the mix could just make things harder.


It’s also easy to get wrapped up in our own culture. In western culture, the presence of an interpreter might be unusual or a little unnerving at the worst. In other cultures, it could be most unwelcome and communication can come to a complete stop.


But a voice on the phone has some distance and can be effective without being intrusive or hindering the process. Confidentiality can be improved with specialist handsets, that make it possible to communicate one on one with each member of the conversation, without causing delay.


When Not to Use a Telephone Interpreter


Telephone interpreting is an excellent option for high speed, low cost interpreting – but like so many services, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.


Interpreting for children is wildly different and can be much more challenging, requiring the presence of an experienced interpreter. Interpreting for vulnerable people brings similar communication challenges. Deaf people and the hard of hearing may require a sign interpreter.


Kwintessential is a professional interpreting company with access to the world’s top linguistic talent, available both over the phone and in person. We’re happy to advise the best interpreting services for your needs – just get in touch for details.


Interpreting from Kwintessential


For professional telephone interpreting services, contact Kwintessential today. Our experienced interpreters and translators are standing by. Just call (UK +44) 01460 279900 or send your message to us at info@kwintessential.co.uk.

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