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What Is a Scheduled Telephone Interpreting Service?

Scheduled telephone interpreting is another name for over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) service. The type of interpreting can be simultaneous or consecutive. But for most cases, consecutive interpreting is used, as the interpreter has to listen to the caller before translating what the caller says for the other party to understand. If the parties prefer only to hear the voice of the interpreter, they use simultaneous interpretation.

The interpreters should be professionals and experts in different subject matters. The only difference with other interpreters is that phone interpreters can be in another location while interpreting.

The number of languages available for phone interpreting varies according to the capability and the network of interpreters of the language services provider.

Scheduled telephone interpreting

In some facilities, organizations or offices, on-demand phone interpreting works better, because the need for phone interpreting services occurs at any time.

But in other offices and organizations, scheduled telephone interpreting is the better option. Scheduled telephone interpreting, as the name implies, happens when all the parties agree to a specific date and time. This type of service applies to scheduled meetings or discussions.

The service can be a two-way or three-way call. The client must have an account with a language services provider. Typically, the client is given a toll-free number to call, and they input their client code and language code so they can connect to an interpreter within seconds.

One particular advantage of scheduled telephone interpreting is in the preparation. The interpreter can study the briefing material or learn the background of the topic for discussion. In some instances, the interpreter learns about the parties that are participating in the meeting, which can help the interpreter tailor the mode of interpretation to fit the clients’ requirements.

Over-the-phone interpreting is useful for small groups. But the qualifications of the interpreter are the same as on-site interpreters. For specific sectors, such as finance, legal, and healthcare, the interpreter should have certification. All of them should have field experience according to their chosen industry sector.

Scheduled telephone interpreting has two models. The client can choose between the linguistic model and the advocacy model.

In the linguistic model, the interpreter only interprets the words that they hear. They are not involved in the conversation or discussion and inhibit themselves from asking questions. When choosing the advocacy model, the phone interpreter can ask questions to see to it that the clients or the two parties clearly understand the discussion.

As expected, phone interpreters sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that every discussion remains private and confidential.

What to expect from a scheduled telephone interpreter

Since the telephone interpretation is scheduled or by appointment, the service provider should meet specific requirements:

The interpreter should be available at least 10 minutes before the start of the phone interpreting appointment, since the client may call earlier than expected.

The phone interpreter should be in a quiet room where there is minimal or no background noise that can affect the quality of the audio reception and transmission.

The interpreter should wait for the client to call. If the client did not make a call at the appointed time, the interpreter still needs to remain for the entire duration of the appointment.

On-demand OPI versus scheduled OPI

On-demand phone interpreting is for persons or organizations that continuously communicate with individuals who speak different languages. The service is often employed in call centers handling customer service, and various groups, including government agencies, organizations, corporations, legal and medical institutions, pharmacies, and other healthcare industries that often interact with LEPs.

The main advantage of subscribing to an on-demand OPI service is that you can connect to an interpreter 24/7, every day of the year. The availability of an interpreter whenever the need arises is beneficial when there is an emergency where a person has limited English proficiency (LEP).

It is important to choose the right service provider for on-demand telephone interpreting, as the interpreters typically come into the conversation without any background information. This fact can affect the quality of the interpretation. Other factors that affect interpretation quality are the location of the caller, background noise, and the way the caller speaks.

The client must request interpreters who are experts in the specific industry niche. Aside from their linguistic prowess, the on-demand phone interpreters should have a general knowledge of the cases the client handles typically, as well as the specific terminology the subject requires.

On the other hand, a scheduled telephone interpreting service gives the interpreter more time to prepare. The client can brief the interpreter or provide information regarding the topic for discussion. With that, the interpreter can understand the conversation that is going to happen. They can do some research, know the preferences of the parties who are going to meet and tailor the interpreting service to the needs of the clients.

Languages under OPI

It is typical for a phone interpreting service provider to provide interpreting services in about 150 languages. However, many providers are increasing the number of languages to serve more people who do are not proficient in English. Thus, some providers offer 200 languages, while others offer more than 300 languages, including some of the endangered languages in the world.

Can I schedule a sign language interpreter?

The American Sign Language (ASL) is a natural language that serves communities of people who are deaf or hard of hearing. ASL is the dominant sign language in the United States and the English-speaking regions of Canada. The language even has its dialects and creoles, as well.

You can find most of the sign language interpreters in schools, courtrooms, hospitals, government offices, and TV broadcast stations.

It is vital to schedule a sign language interpreter, and you should request an interpreter with subject matter expertise. If the assignment is long, it is crucial to book at least two ASL interpreters, to give them time to rest. Sign language interpreting is complicated, and there has been a significant demand for sign language interpreters, even before the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

It is difficult to estimate the number of professional sign interpreters. When making an appointment for a sign language interpreter, it is critical to only get in touch with professional associations like the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), which has around 16,000 members. The association is the largest in the United States. Depending on your purpose, the other associations you can get in touch with include the National Cued Speech Association, Purple Communications, and Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.

Another option is to partner with language services providers that offer sign language interpreters such as eTranslation Services.

Connect with our professional, accurate scheduled phone interpreters quickly

Here at eTranslation Services, we always aim to provide you with high-quality language services, including scheduled telephone interpreting. Create an account with us, and you can have access to our highly trained, certified, and native-speaking phone interpreters that can handle over 100 languages. Kindly get in touch with us via email at [email protected] or give us a call at (800) 882-6058.


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