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Remote Phone Interpretation: Language as a Lifeline

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Last updated on March 25th, 2020 at 05:45 pm

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Interpreting  Services for Current Events

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is currently affecting multiple nations and dozens of language groups. Ensuring that information can spread across language groups is vital to stop the spread of disease, save lives, and retain resources. We can’t care for the sick and protect those who care for them without being able to communicate quickly and accurately. For people with limited English proficiency, interpreting services are an important option.

This is where remote phone interpretation, a form of consecutive interpretation, comes in. This service is also called telephonic interpreting or OPI. During remote phone interpretation, the first speaker says a couple of sentences while the interpreter listens. Then the interpreter passes the converted message to the second speaker, who can then reply. While we practice social distancing, there is no reason to lose our connection, especially not when we need it most.

Interpretation Services for Disasters

Disasters and outbreaks are times when tight, effective interaction is necessary between a variety of entities, some highly specialized and located all over the world. Governments national and local, federal agencies, hospitals, philanthropic organizations, businesses, and individuals need to be able to communicate with each other in terms they understand.
At this moment, professional interpreters are working around the clock to provide immediate, accurate remote interpretation of information like safety instructions for a school, scientific research, breaking news, or government regulations. More examples of remote interpretation’s key role in protecting the public are:

  • Humanitarian aid supplying items like food, housing, and transportation after a natural disaster.
  • Medical aid for a multinational crisis.
  • Serving the linguistic needs of officials meeting to create and execute disaster response policies.

JR Language Translation’s Role

At this time, we are experiencing cancellations of language services projects for conferences, seminars, and events, yet demand for medical translation and interpretation has shot up. We find that the sources of demand for language services, project specs, and venues are an accurate barometer of current world events indication where the pressure of the moment is present. Our over the phone interpretation request and projects are coming from diverse sources as schools, hospitals, oversight agencies, and businesses of all kinds. And we have services available 24/7 to cover the demand for language interpretation.

Why Over the Phone Interpretation?

Sometimes a physical interpreter is not available. At times, we don’t have enough professional interpreters to have one present for every situation during normal operations. In this time of pandemic, remote work, travel restrictions and social distancing onsite language services personnel are difficult to assign due to government restrictions and risks involved. Remote phone interpretation is a perfect option to maintain interpretation services available when face to face interaction is not required. Examples of usage are below:

  • Remote phone interpretation is useful when the demand cannot be predicted, and the service can be provided in minutes and in multiple languages 24/7.
  • Telephonic interpretation is perfect for times of high demand like we are seeing now.
  • Over the phone interpretation is cost-effective. No travel is needed, and hospitals have ready access to phones.

When and Where Remote Phone Interpretation is Used

Another benefit of interpretation services by phone is that professional interpreters can be sourced far and wide in different time zones with various specialties. There does not need to be an internet connection for an interpreter to assist by phone.

According to 2014 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 21%, or a little more than one in five, have a first language other than English. This is also described as the language one speaks at home. The Bureau also states that about 9% of the United States population is in danger of suffering an “adverse event” because of language barriers and lack of language services to bypass them.

Medical Interpretation Services and Tele-Medicine

Doctors need to be able to communicate with patients and other medical staff with no delays or inaccuracies because of language barriers. Language barriers harm people and cannot be allowed to continue existing when professional help is available. Our Translation company’s offerings are HIPAA compliant and completely confidential. At this time, we are involved in projects interpreting:

  • Videos for the public describing safety, hygiene, and containment procedures.
  • Audio spots for radio with updates and instructions. These are a great way to reach those in transit or without a television or internet signal.
  • Phone calls between doctors, medical staff and patients calling via telemedicine and not proficiency in English.
  • Correspondence between doctors, patients, and patients’ families. The doctors from Lima and Hangzhou should both be able to talk with the patient, a tourist from St. Petersburg, Russia who has fallen ill with confusing symptoms.

Getting medical care in a language one understands is fundamental to recovery. Public safety is managed offering professional language services to support people without English proficiency in the USA.

Phone Interpretation for the legal sector

By using over the phone interpretation, legal cases can proceed with no delays due to language barriers. Law firms can continue serving their multilingual clients during depositions, discovery, and consultations. We only use native speakers and industry professionals. Our goal is to enable our legal interpretation clients to serve their clients with clear communication delivered on demand.
Professional legal interpretation is beneficial in times of public concern as well:

  • Remote legal interpretation enables insurance companies to give legally compliant notices to their clients in multiple languages.
  • Legal interpretation by phone allows government officials to have multilingual communication.
  • Remote legal interpretation by phone allows legal experts to communicate with each other in times of domestic and international crises.

Phone Interpreting Governments and Agencies

The United States is a nation of shifting demographics as the number of immigrant residents and subsequent generations rises. The voices of the United States grow more diverse in the languages they use to express themselves every day. Governments can serve their multilingual populations with language services that will protect by informing. Governments and oversight agencies global, national, and regional can use remote phone interpretation services for needs like:

  • Public addresses and press conferences announcing new policies.
  • Breaking news and television appearances by officials.
  • Remote communication between governing bodies to discuss strategy, pass information, and arrange aid.

In the fall of 2016, the federal government mandated that medical facilities comply with Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that protects patients against discrimination and gives the patient the right to sue if they are not provided with language services.

Title VI of 1964’s Civil Rights Act dictates that medical facilities that receive federal funding must provide language support services free of charge. Data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) strongly suggests that the cost of language services for medical centers would be well offset by decreases in misdiagnosis, readmission, and unnecessary testing.

Over the Phone Interpretation for All

Businesses need to be able to communicate quickly with an oversight agency, a branch office, a client, their marketing agency, etc. Remote phone interpretation can be ideal for training and onboarding multilingual employees and is essential for good Human Resources practices. A French-speaking engineer in Toronto, Canada should be able to call their Malay-speaking patent attorney in Kuala Lumpur (whom they met at a conference in Japan) with an idea for a new medical device.

How to Choose an Interpretation Services Agency

With the current demand for interpretation services, having information at hand when calling an interpretation agency will be helpful to all parties. A few tips from JR Language Translation Company are to:

  • Plan ahead. Be mindful of the language groups you serve by being aware of your market. Using a language services agency can help reveal sales possibilities, like the fact that the #2 most spoken language on the Internet is Chinese.
  • Have a budget in mind and request their rates. Most remote interpreters charge by the minute and may set minimum fees.
  • Answer the agency’s questions and provide any materials requested, because the agency needs to understand your situation. It may be that you need additional services or a different strategy.

This will also help you work out what kind of professional interpreters you need.

Call the Remote Interpreting Services Line

Access to language services is a human right that we work to uphold. Our staff is efficient, professional, and empathetic. We hold ourselves to high standards of quality and security, because the people who need interpretation services by phone are not strangers. They are families, spouses, colleagues, and friends. We’re also certified, HIPAA-compliant language experts with decades of experience in countless industries helping to make life-saving information accessible.

Call us to access your resource to remote interpretation services. We are available around the clock and around the world to get your message to the people who need it, and help you get the messages you need. Please take care to keep yourselves and those around you safe as we face our circumstances with resolve.

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Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.