An antique telephone that's probably not used by our telephone interpreters

Telephone Interpreting: What is it and How Can it Help You?

COVID-19 is changing the rules of personal interactions. Over the last few weeks, many forms of face-to-face communication have become impossible, creating new technological challenges and making life particularly difficult when participants speak different languages.

Telephone interpreting is a service that’s ordinarily used by the court system, government agencies, call centres, police forces, emergency services and more. However, with COVID-19 blocking many traditional forms of communication, telephone interpreting has become an effective way to overcome language barriers while maintaining social distancing.

What is telephone interpreting?

Telephone interpreting is a fast and efficient way to communicate with non-English and limited-English speakers. Very simply, two people who wish to speak to each other but do not share a common language are connected to a human interpreter via the telephone. After each person speaks, the telephone interpreter converts their spoken language into the language of the listener, so both parties can understand each other.

Most commonly, telephone interpreting is performed consecutively, with the interpreter waiting for each speaker to finish before translating what they have said into the other language. However, there’s also simultaneous telephone interpreting, which is better suited to longer sections of speech, such as the delivery of presentations. By translating the speech while it’s being spoken, it cuts down the need for much longer and more expensive calls.

When can telephone interpreting be used?

Telephone interpreting can be used to facilitate conversations in a range of settings:

  • Healthcare – Telephone interpreting has always played an important role in the provision of healthcare to those who do not speak the native language. However, given the current crisis, many healthcare providers are relying on telephone interpreting more than ever before, particularly for more minor issues. In this case, professional medical interpreters are a must, as they understand the medical terminology used in both languages.
  • Virtual meetings – Business meetings around the world are now going online. By using the skills of a remote video interpreter, you can ensure that everyone has a voice. Video interpreters are much the same as telephone interpreters, but instead of interpreting via the telephone, they join the video call and interpret what’s being said in real-time. This allows participants to hear the speaker and ask questions in their own language with minimal delays.
  • Call centres – Businesses that operate overseas but do not have a multilingual contact centre use telephone interpreters to deliver customer services to non-English speakers. The NHS’ 111 contact centres are another area where the demand for telephone interpreters has increased.

How to get started

Do you need a medical telephone interpreter or someone to interpret your virtual meetings? At Linguistica International, our professional, mother-tongue telephone interpreters provide expert assistance for local authorities, government agencies, SMEs, healthcare providers and many more.

We offer immediate access and the best level of service at low rates. Read more about our telephone interpreting service or call 02392 987 765 or email for a free quote.

A girl translating on a blackboard. It's a translation management system of sorts.

What is a Translation Management System and Do You Need One?

When we translate content for our clients, it’s not simply a case of assigning the task to a single linguist who is responsible for translating one document after another. There’s a whole team involved, including an editor, a proofreader and a second linguist, and a host of processes we go through to make sure that your translated content is 100% accurate, on-brand and localised for your target market.

Managing these processes in-house on a small scale can be done using standard business tools such as spreadsheets and databases, but when translation volumes start to increase and multiple new markets are entered, the complexity of managing the translation process increases dramatically. That’s when you need a dedicated translation management system.

What is a translation management system?

A translation management system (TMS) is a piece of software with an integrated package of tools that makes the translation process more efficient and controllable. It can eliminate repetitive tasks, help to maintain consistency across multiple projects and enable high volumes of translation work to be completed at the same time.

Put simply, a TMS can reduce costs, give you greater control over multiple projects across different languages and reduce turn-around times so you can get to market more quickly.

Do you need a translation management system?

It’s very common for professional language service providers, such as the team here at Linguistica International, to have a TMS platform to increase the efficiency and consistency of their translations, but when might a TMS be a worthwhile investment for you?

Many UK businesses that operate in multiple overseas markets will invest in a TMS to better manage their translation process. They may produce and manage the translations in-house or use external freelancers or agencies and have a TMS to ensure the consistency of the editing, review and approval process. An organisation producing such a large number of translations might even recruit a dedicated localisation manager to oversee the process.

What are the benefits of using a translation management system?

  • A single resource – All translation resources, such as translation memories, glossaries and workflows, are in a single, centralised location.
  • Greater consistency – You gather data about your translated content as you go, which can help to train machine translation in your company’s style and terminology.
  • Increased productivity – Implementing a TMS with a translation memory can greatly improve the productivity of internal teams.

What are the drawbacks of using a translation management system?

  • Poor compatibility - If you work with freelance translators, they may have their own tools they like to work with which are not compatible with your TMS.
  • Limited choice of vendors – Some language service agencies may not be willing to work with your chosen TMS or it may reduce their efficiency and increase your costs.
  • Cost – Most translation management systems charge on a price per licence model and often have features that are available at an additional cost for specific functionality. That can make the cost prohibitive for small businesses.

We’re happy to work with any TMS

At Linguistica International, we have our own translation management system to increase the efficiency, accuracy and consistency of your translations while reducing the cost. However, we’re also happy to adapt our process to work with any TMS you may have in-house.

For more information, take a look at our translation and transcreation service pages, email or give us a call on 02392 987 765 today.