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Over-the-Phone Interpreting Services for Multilingual Language Support

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Last updated on November 11th, 2021 at 04:19 pm

over-the-phone interpretation for professionals

Professional Interpretation Services

When it comes to the use of interpreting services to support multilingual communications, you have few options on the way the professional interpreter will help you. You can hire an interpreter to provide on-site services, you can use a remote video interpretation service anywhere in the world, or for quick and easy arrangement, you can use phone interpretation.

What is Phone Interpretation?

Phone interpretation provides remote interpretation services for people over the phone, as an alternative to in-person and video interpreting. Clients receive an access code to dial into to be connected to an interpreter.  Call the number and in a matter of minutes you’ll be connected to a professional interpreter with years of experience. Over the phone interpreting services are available 365 days a year, 24/7 so you’re never faced with a language barrier.

Phone interpreters provides consecutive interpreting services; they listen to the speaker in the source language, interpret the message in their head, and translate it into the target language once the speaker has paused. Although telephonic interpreters cannot pick up on visual cues, they are extensively trained in active listening and note taking, two essential qualities for consecutive interpretation. Phone interpretation works best for situations that do not need visual cues, like follow up calls, calls confirming appointments, support for dental or medical visits, or when an interpreter is needed on the fly. 

Other Names for Phone Interpretation

Phone interpretation services can also be referred to as “over the phone interpreting” or OPI (OPI for its acronym) or phone translation services. Technically, using the term phone translation services is incorrect since translation services deal with written materials while interpretation services, like live phone interpretations, deal with oral content. Nonetheless a language translation company must be ready to offer the best customer service and clarify terms and services requested by their clients that do not need to know the lingo of the language industry.

Why Use Over the Phone Interpreting?

Ideal for Short InteractionsIdeal for Short Interactions

Quick, simple questions are easily answered over the phone with a telephonic interpreter. Many phone calls don’t need to be more than a few minutes so having an in-person interpreter for a short amount of time wouldn’t make financial sense. For confirming an appointment, setting up a meeting, or touching base, phone interpreter services are the way to go.

Low Cost

Why pay for hours when you only needed minutes? The low cost of phone interpreter services makes it a very attractive option for users. In-person interpreters have a time minimum as well as travel costs but with phone interpreter services, you can have just a 5-minute conversation with someone and only pay for the time you used.

Larger Portfolio of Languages

While JR Language has an incredible team of professional interpreters, they’re not always available everywhere. Remote or rural locations can make interpretation for certain languages challenging, and it can be cost-prohibitive to have an on-site interpreter. Lesser used languages may also not have the option of in-person interpretation.

Telephonic interpretation services allow a professional translation agency to offer clients a larger portfolio of languages available at an affordable cost, compared to the roster of in-person interpreters. OPI increases the chances of having someone available who speaks the language you need, when you need it.

It’s Convenient! 

With over the phone interpretation, you always have access to professional interpreters, no matter the time of day. Time zones are irrelevant with remote interpretation services when someone is able to hop on a phone call from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. You also don’t need to schedule an interpreter in advance; you can simply call and be connected to the language you need.

Works for Emergencies

During an emergency or when language help is needed without warning, time is of the essence and dealing with a language barrier can waste valuable minutes. OPI is instantly available when you need it, with 24/7, 365-day access. When you don’t have any advanced warning, you need service now and a phone interpreter will be there.

How Phone Interpreting Services Can Help

Telephonic interpretation services are useful for a range of organizations, including private businesses, government entities, and health care providers. Some organizations choose to use telephonic interpretation as their main source of language access, while others prefer to have it as a backup alternative to video or on-site interpretations.


Hospitals with a diverse patient population or large number of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients benefit from the round-the-clock availability of OPI. Over the phone interpreters can be reached from landline phones, mobile phones, and digital apps. Video interpretation devices and the resources for in-person interpretation may be limited, but phones are everywhere throughout a hospital making it easy to empower your staff to reach for the help they need.

Telephone interpretation is the perfect solution when in-person interpretation is not available. Whether you need assistance with a quick phone call, medical emergency, paperwork or to work with a rare language, our team is here to make the process quick and easy. With phone interpretation services, you only pay for what you use, and you can always reach an interpreter so your team can focus on saving lives.

Real Client Examples for Over the Phone Interpreting

  • Police: OPI provides support for on-site police officers managing situations with people of limited English proficiency.
  • Health Care: Phone interpretation is used to confirm medical appointments for offices in areas with populations of Limited English Proficiency
  • Schools: OPI supports teachers communication and breaks the down the language barrier for parents with kids from preschool through graduation.
  • Airlines: Phone interpretating services support airline staff working with customers onsite at the airport.
  • Government Entities: OPI supports government agencies reaching communities in the areas of customer service, social service, transportation, legal settings, and administrative work.

JR Language is a language services company proud to offer phone interpretation services to our clients as a cost-effective and convenient alternative to on-site interpretation. Our professional interpretation team can assist with over 200 languages anywhere, anytime. If you don’t see the language you’re looking for on our list, please reach out to us.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and 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. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.