telephonic interpretation

What is Telephone Interpretation and How Does The Process Work?

Telephone interpretation is a service provided by translation companies that connect actual interpreters with providers over the phone who want to communicate with their clients but can’t due to language barriers. Generally, the process starts when the provider or person needing to speak to a client hires a telephone interpreter or translation company. Once connection has been made between the provider, interpreter and client the conversation can take place. The conversation flows normally in a consecutive interpretation mode, where the provider speaks, then the interpreter interprets what the provider said to the client, followed by the client speaking and the interpreter interpreting what the client said to the provider. Working with telephonic interpreters gives you a clear example of how this translation service is conducted successfully.

The Need For Telephone Interpretation in Today’s Society  

Immigrants flee to first world countries in search of a better life, freedom, a more secure financial situation amongst many other reasons and with the influx of immigrants, the need for communication barriers to be broken down is a must. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were 484,072 new legal entries into the United States in 2012 and statistics show around 11.5 million illegal immigrants living in the United States today. With so many people embarking on a new life in a foreign country, language barriers will be faced on a regular basis. For example, a family moves to the United States from Venezuela and they found a place to live, new jobs and are adapting to the culture and the American lifestyle quite nicely. The family doesn’t speak English fluently, however, they still need to carry on day to day errands and dealings despite not being able to speak English well. Consider this situation, Mrs. Lovera (the mother of the family) had a doctor’s appointment where she had blood drawn for basic testing and the doctor’s office needed to call Mrs. Lovera in order to give her the results of her blood test. The doctor’s office will need to incorporate the use of a telephone interpreter, so that they can ensure that Mrs. Lovera completely understands the results of her testing despite not being able to speak English. Situations like this happen everyday and with today’s modern times, technology allows us to communicate with one another seamlessly, even if the people involved in the conversation are on separate sides of the world.

Pros of Telephone Interpretation Services

There are many advantages to using telephone interpretation services and the growth in the overall use of the service is proving that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Over the phone interpretation can be the most cost effective mode of interpretation if you are needing to speak with someone immediately, for a short period of time, are located in a remote area or need to communicate with someone who speaks a rare language, having an onsite interpreter can be expensive and impractical. In these cases, a telephone interpreter may be right for you. Telephone interpretation is very convenient and can be used to connect people all over the world in real time, despite the time zone that you’re in or what hour of the day it is, there will always be an interpreter available to assist you with your communication needs. This is the driving force behind the popularity of this service and the convenience factor stands true on the interpreters end as well. Working as a telephone interpreter allows the interpreter to set their own hours and work at different times of the day, due to the fact that telephone interpretation services are needed at all hours of the day. There are emergencies that can happen at 3:00am that may need the aid of a telephonic interpretation service or a person may have been arrested on a Saturday and needs the assistance of a telephone interpreter in order to understand how to post bail. Another great advantage of over the phone interpretation services is that it is very beneficial to use when small conversations need to happen or simple questions need to be asked. For example, a medical provider may need to confirm an appointment, provide results of testing or gather insurance information, these are simple conversations that need to take place but don’t necessarily need a full on-site interpretation. This is where the convenience of telephone interpretation comes into play, it is so much easier and saves tons of time to just have your client and the interpreter on the phone for you to get your questions answered right then and there. Another great advantage to using telephone interpretation services is that it allows interpretations to take place in very remote places, as long as there is a telephone available you can really be in the middle of nowhere and still be provided with an accurate and professional interpretation over the phone.

Cons of Telephone Interpretation Services

Over the phone interpretation services have many advantages, however there are also some disadvantages to the translation service as well. Telephone interpretation services are not always appropriate for every situation that requires the aid of an interpreter. If the conversation that you are having is quite in-depth and lengthy, then it is probably not a good idea to complete this type of interpretation over the phone due to the consecutive nature of over the phone interpretation it could take double the time to complete the conversation. When an on-site interpretation is taking place, it is a lot easier for the interpreter to establish a proper sequence of turn taking amongst speakers, but when the conversation is taking place over the phone this can sometimes fail to happen resulting in a bit of mayhem with people speaking over one another and multiple interruptions happening because the speaking sequence has not been entrenched. It is important for the interpreter to be in control of the conversation because all things are being said through them and when you are not face to face this can be challenging because all parties involved are speaking over the phone, visual cues and body language are lost in the conversation and in the interpretation. Body language and facial expressions are major factors in communicating with someone and when a conversation is taking place over the phone, those two things are completely lost. Another disadvantage of telephone interpretation is that issues arise with technology; outside noise can play a factor when it comes to hearing a speaker clearly when conducting a telephone interpretation. You should be mindful of the background clamor as it is important to reduce excess noise at all costs. Although technological issues can be out of your hands this can still be a disadvantage to telephonic interpretation services.

Telephone interpretation services are very useful in this day and age and can really be quite cost effective if you are in regular need of interpretation services. This specific translation service can provide clients with accurate and timely interpretations even at the most unexpected times of the day or night. Having this service at your disposal can really eliminate situations where language barriers get in the way of day to day dealings.

Niki’s Int’l Ltd. is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise with 20 years of language service experience. A global network of highly skilled interpreters and translators are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-site, telephonic and video remote interpretation services. Our linguists are available in over 350 languages and dialects, and our network includes certified over the phone interpreters and translators. Our work is guaranteed with a $1 Million Errors & Omissions policy, so that you can be confident that your project will be completed with the highest level of quality and professionalism within the field. For more information contact us at 1-877-567-8449 or visit our website at


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