What is Over-the-Phone Interpretation?

Traveler using over the phone interpretation while waiting for a bus

Written by Bernadine Racoma

April 28, 2020

Over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) is an interpretation service that involves a three-way call. The interpreter facilitates the conversation between the two parties who are speaking different languages. The interpreter could be within the same building or office as the client or in a remote location.

Many organizations and offices that receive many multilingual phone calls need the services of over-the-phone interpreters.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting Services

Over-the-phone interpretation services are applicable in different settings. The interpreter uses the phone to provide interpreting services. With OPI, you can break down the communication gap between customers with limited English proficiency. The service is available at any time. Whenever you need language services, you can call your provider and be connected with an interpreter with high proficiency in almost any language, from standard to rare languages.

Over-the-phone interpretation is one of the most cost-efficient language services since you do not need an elaborate setup. If the interpreter and the two parties are in different locations, they can have a three-way call. If the two persons conversing are in the same room, they can use a speakerphone, or each one can use a headset.

There are cases where privacy is essential, thus, the person stays in a room alone, talking to the interpreter who will relay the message to the other party who is in another room or location.

OPI uses the consecutive mode of interpreting. The interpreter waits for the person to finish part of what they need to say before the interpreter translates it to the other party.

Governments, internal divisions in organizations, for-profit, and nonprofit groups often use or provide over-the-phone interpreting services.

In the United States, OPI is often available in federal courts. Many healthcare and hospital systems across the country also provide OPI services. From generic interpreting services, OPI is now serving niche sectors, including technical, pharmaceutical, medical and legal services.

Many language services providers are engaged in telephone interpreting. Market leaders have offices in Hong Kong, Spain, Norway, China, India, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Netherlands, and the United States.

Accessing OPI Services

A client gets in touch with a language services provider. After the details and agreement are ironed out, the client is given a number to call with an access code to connect to an interpreter immediately. Usually, the caller has to key in the language code to ensure that the interpreter that will take the call is a native speaker of the particular language. This type of service is often automated.

On the other hand, some organizations, including emergency services, usually connect to a customer care staff, who will gather the information from the caller before connecting them to an interpreter. When callers do not know the language code, this method is more convenient.

“Over the Phone Translation”

As you know, translation handles the conversion of written texts from one language into another. Interpreting works on oral communication. Interpretation is like translation in the sense that what a person says is translated into the desired language. The process ensures that the listeners can understand the message of the speaker.

Translation and interpretation are both language services. However, the mode of delivery is not the same. If you need a written copy of the texts, you need translation services. If you want someone to deliver the message verbally, you need interpreting services, one of which is over-the-phone-interpreting. You can only have a written copy of the ”translation” of a verbal communication if it is recorded and later transcribed and printed.

Benefits of an Over-the-Phone Interpreting Service

Across the United States, language diversity is present. Millions of adult citizens speak another language at home. You can hear hundreds of foreign languages spoken in urban and rural areas in the U.S. For example, the population in Houston, Texas, speaks about 145 languages. At the same time, in metropolitan New York, you’re likely to hear around 200 different languages.

Many English-speaking organizations need multilingual interpreting services. But it is challenging to have in-person interpreters on board, as the organizations do not know which languages they will encounter. Over-the-phone interpretation is a viable solution because it is accessible 24/7 in any language.

OPI service is more convenient because you can access professional interpreters, including those with subject matter expertise, any time, regardless of the time zone.

Subscribing to an OPI service is cost-effective since charges only apply when you use the service. A professional language services provider usually charges OPI services by the minute.

An OPI service suits small interpreting projects, where you need quick interpreter service to get answers to your immediate needs, such as setting up meetings or confirming appointments with foreign colleagues and business partners.

How to Choose an Over-the-Phone Interpreter

With multilingual diversity becoming a norm in most businesses, you need a trusted language services partner to ensure proper communication. The market has hundreds of providers. But what matters is choosing the right OPI services that will fit your requirements. Here are some tips on selecting the best OPI service for you.

Choose a provider with an extensive local network of interpreters

Over-the-phone interpreting offers access to more languages compared to on-site interpreters. Find a provider with a vast network of qualified, specialized linguists. For businesses, it is an ideal solution since you can benefit from local expertise about your target market’s dialects and culture.

Select one that offers on-demand service

It is essential to find a provider that offers OPI on-demand, meaning an interpreter is available anytime you need the service. Look for a provider that offers ”hosted language IVR (Interactive Voice Response),” “click to call,” and ”real-time” service. These are your clues to determine if the provider is capable of providing you with fast service and support.

Reliable and trustworthy provider

Your company should have an OPI service that is reliable and can respond immediately to any language request. A company wants customers to trust them, so you need a reliable service provider that can respond to customers’ needs quickly.

Cost-effective pricing scheme

When choosing an over-the-phone interpreting service provider, see to it that the company offers a per-minute charge. Since you are only going to use the service as needed, you should only pay for the time that you use the service.

Find a Professional OPI Provider Today. Connect with eTranslation Services

While over-the-phone interpreting works anytime, the need is more heightened today due to Covid-19, a worldwide health crisis. eTranslation Services provides OPI services 24/7, in more than 300 languages, from the rare ones to the frequently used languages. You can rest assured that you will be connected to a professional, native-speaking interpreter wherever you are. We have experts on different topics, to make sure that you can discuss matters efficiently and accurately. You can get in touch with us via email at contact@etranslationservices.com or give us a call at (800) 882-6058.

 

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