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Why Phone Interpreters Are Essential During the Pandemic

phone interpreter at work

Written by Bernadine Racoma

September 3, 2020

Businesses worldwide are struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. While every social and economic sector is hit by the pandemic, people, especially those with limited English language proficiency, have become more vulnerable.

Companies that communicate with partners, customers, and others who speak various languages regularly should always ensure that their messages are clear and understood by all concerned.

The demand for interpreting and translation services has heightened during the pandemic. Over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) is one of the language services that are doing a brisk business today.

Although some industry sectors are experiencing a temporary halt in their operations, some sectors continue to work, such as the food manufacturing sector and medicine, medical devices, healthcare services, and language services. These essential businesses have to act quickly to steer their businesses in new directions. They need interpreters immediately to ensure that their workflow remains continuous and their operations go smoothly.

Role of over-the-phone interpreting amid the health crisis

Language services providers that offer online and offline interpretation can provide quality services even during a pandemic. Several industries can rely on over-the-phone interpretation, which can be delivered consistently and continuously for the tech industry, the healthcare sector, the public sector, different private businesses, and other fields that depend on innovation.

The need for social distancing and prohibition of face-to-face contact for most people highlights the usefulness of over-the-phone interpretation. The service allows companies to continue providing products and services to their customers around the world without spending too much. The interpreter does not have to travel to a specific location to provide interpreting services. Usually, the client covers the travel expenses of the interpreter. There is no waiting time since the interpreter is immediately available.

Over-the-phone interpretation applies to many types of business. Still, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for over-the-phone interpretation for the medical and healthcare sectors are incredibly high. These institutions have to ensure that they provide the most accurate and timely information to patients, the public, and the stakeholders in different countries. International healthcare organizations need to share coronavirus information on local and global statistics, develop plans and strategies for treatment and containment of the disease, and discuss medical studies, innovations, and breakthroughs, particularly in developing medicines and vaccines and other aspects affecting global health.

The language services are one of the jobs not adversely affected by the pandemic and the lockdowns in many countries since interpretation and translation can be delivered remotely. Using over-the-phone interpreting services can ease the need for non-essential employees to report for work. This is vital when everyone is enjoined to do their share in preventing the spread of the virus and alleviating the pressure on the healthcare system.

The need for credible language access

Language services providers and many companies and institutions already have well-established structures to use professional over-the-phone interpreting. The healthcare industry, especially hospitals, large clinics, health insurance companies, and other healthcare organizations, particularly those receiving funding from the federal government, must provide language access programs. They should provide interpreting and translation services in the 15 most spoken languages in their cities, states, and provinces.

With the pandemic, the demand for over-the-phone interpreting significantly increases. The healthcare industry is not the only one that uses the service. Companies that work with overseas partners, international organizations, and several vital sectors that continue to hold meetings and conferences require phone interpreting given the ongoing health crisis.

With the increase in the number of patients, particularly those hampered by the language barrier, the medical facilities’ language access program is critical.

Options for OPI

Access to over-the-phone interpreting services can either be on-demand or scheduled. The task requires consecutive interpreting, meaning the interpreter listens to the person speaking and wait for them to finish before giving the translation. For both options, the client pays only for the actual time the service is used. Clients create an account with a professional language services company that offers translation and interpreting services. They have an access code they can use whenever they require language assistance. They also have a list of languages, with the corresponding language codes. Over-the-phone interpreters are trained and highly skilled. Many of them are subject matter experts with the right credentials.

On-demand OPI means that the client can access the service whenever they need it. Using their assigned account number, they can call the service provider, key in their language request to connect to the right interpreter.

The scheduled OPI option follows the same process. However, with this option, the client books the service in advance. At the assigned time, the client will call the service using their account number and the language code. They likewise have to inform the service provider if the scheduled OPI will be one-on-one or if the calling party will have two or three participants.

How over-the-phone interpretation helps people

Over-the-phone interpretation not only applies when there is a pandemic. It is an efficient and cost-effective way for people speaking other languages to communicate. It is likewise the most accessible among the language services.

There are many instances where over-the-phone interpreting becomes very valuable:

  • During emergencies where language support is needed immediately
  • When anonymity is preferred
  • When there is geographic distance between the parties involved
  • When there are group meetings or audio/video conferences with multilingual participants

OPI helps businesses communicate with multilingual staff, clients, and partners working in different geographic locations.

In the healthcare setting, OPI helps non-English speaking patients understand their medical conditions, doctor’s instructions, and prescriptions. Whenever there is a need for people speaking different languages to understand one another, OPI can help.

Partner with us – We’ll deliver your message clearly despite the distance

It would be best if you will not allow the pandemic to hamper your business workflow. We at eTranslation Services are ready to help. You can send us your request through email at contact@etranslationservices.com or call us at (800) 882-6058. Our phone interpreters are located worldwide and waiting for your call. They are excellent linguists, credentialed, certified, and experts in different subjects. At eTranslation Services, we assure you that your message will be delivered clearly and accurately at prices that you can surely afford.

 

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