All posts by Linguistica International

5 Common Misconceptions About Translators

5 Common Misconceptions About Translators

We tend to have stereotypical ideas about the people who work in industries we have no firsthand knowledge of, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of translation. Here at Linguistica Translation and Recruitment, we have more than 20 years of experience in the field of professional translation, so we’ve certainly heard some garbage, but some misconceptions rear their amusing heads time and time again.

In this edition of the Linguistica blog, we’re going to take an admittedly flippant look at some of the misconceptions that pervade our industry.

1. Translators don’t talk much

Translators spend so much time reading and writing that they don’t have time to talk, apparently. What absolute tosh. Yes, being bookish is a trait of some translators and it’s an admirable quality in any profession, but translators love to talk just as much as anyone else. In fact, their ability to use more than one language means they have twice as many people to talk to.

2. All translators are female

The reason we’re given for this one is that women are naturally better language learners than men. The truth is that there are more women in occupations across the linguistic fields. Studies have been conducted to try and prove whether women are naturally better at learning languages than men, with none proving conclusive. So what is the reason for the disproportionately large female presence? We have to put it down to tradition, with young bourgeois women encouraged to learn two languages to ‘develop their reasoning’ as far back as the 18th century, and personal preference.

3. Translators are over 40

Supposedly it takes so long to learn a language fluently enough to work as a professional translator that you have to be over 40. Most translators do have an extensive linguistic education, but you can still gain the necessary qualifications and experience to be a fully qualified translator by your mid-twenties. What young translators may lack in experience, they more than make up for with their knowledge of the colloquialisms and linguistic nuances present in the language used by the highly-prized younger consumers that businesses are so desperate to attract.

4. Translators wear moth-eaten clothes

This one is true. At Linguistica HQ, you’re only allowed into the building if you have a hole in your obligatory cardigan that’s at least thumb-sized. Clothes that have any shape are immediately taking to our on-site incinerator and translators are given a suitably drab replacement outfit from our lost property bin. We find it’s the only way to maintain any order.

5. You have to speak 4 or 5 languages to be a translator

While some translators do know more than two languages, the vast majority of translators only translate into and out of the same two languages professionally. Only by specialising in those languages they keep up with the evolution of the language and be familiar with all the relevant industry terms. Just as a doctor has to specialise in one area to have the necessary expertise, so does a translator.

Let us debunk your translation misconceptions

Get in touch with the fashionable, young (reasonably) and happening team of professional translators here at Linguistica Translation and Recruitment. We’ll happily discuss your project with you and explain what our work is really all about. Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

Human translators vs. machine translators

Can Machines Outperform Human Translators?

Ever since machine translation became neural machine translation in 2016, big tech has been trying to persuade us that it has reached human-level quality. Today, it has gone one step further. The nerds over in Silicon Valley are now trying to convince us that machine translation outperforms human-level translation. Are they right? Not on your nelly!

What exactly are the claims?

Anyone with knowledge of the industry knows that human translation has always been superior to machine translation in just about every way apart from speed and price. Big tech knows it, too. That’s why its claims are made with some interesting caveats.

The study only looks at whether a deep learning translation system called CUBITT can produce translations that are comparable to those produced by humans in the domain of ‘news’ translation, which accounts for a tiny proportion of the whole translation sector. The study also claims that machine translation only outperforms human translation in the metric of ‘adequacy’, but what exactly does that mean?

The sentence-level translation Turing test

The tests compared the work of CUBITT against human translators on almost 8,000 sentences across 53 documents. 15 human evaluators were then asked to rate the translations for ‘adequacy’.

The definition of adequacy for the purpose of the test was ‘adequately expressing the source text’s intended meaning in the target language’.

The human evaluators found that 52 percent of CUBITT’s sentences scored higher than the human translations when measured against this metric, while just 26 percent of CUBITT’s translations scored lower than sentences translated by humans. Impressive, right?

Here’s the catch

When compared to the work of human translators, the evaluators observed that CUBITT made fewer errors in addition of meaning, shift of meaning and omission of meaning. However, it made significantly more errors when it came to cross-sentence context and readability, with the work of the human translators rated as more fluent.

Interestingly though, another test compared 100 pairs of sentences that were translated by CUBITT and Google Translate. In this case, the evaluators found that CUBITT’s translations were less likely to be identified as the work of a machine when compared to those produced by Google Translate.

Better than Google Translate but still worse than humans

Big tech’s claims that CUBITT can outperform human translators seems to be more of a newspaper headline than a representation of reality, given that the metric of ‘adequacy’ is one that has been devised specifically for this test.

However, CUBITT can outperform fellow machine translation tool Google Translate, and that is something to celebrate. Machine translation undoubtedly has an important part to play in the industry, so any improvements are welcomed, but the truth is, there’s still no substitute for the work of a professional human translator.

Human translation from a leading UK team

At Linguistica International, our professional team of human translators can help you reach your customers in more than 250 languages. Get in touch to discuss your translation project today on 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com.

A few fascinating facts about business translation

4 Fascinating Facts About Business Translation

Business translation services can open up a tremendous amount of opportunities for firms that want to sell their goods and services overseas. To illustrate that, we’re going to bring you a few fascinating facts about business translation that serve to highlight and quantify the opportunities that exist.

For example, did you know that there are only 11 languages that account for more than one percent of all the content online? This means that if you just translated your product and service information into just those 11 languages, you could reach over 75 percent of the internet users around the world. That equates to more than 3.4 billion potential new customers!

Sound enticing? Then read on for a few more fascinating facts about business translation.

1. Just 1.8 percent of online content is written in Chinese

Linguistically speaking, the Chinese are massively underserved when it comes to online content. China has the second-highest number of internet users and there are nearly a billion Chinese speakers around the world, yet just 1.8 percent of online content is written in Chinese. Given the native language bias of online shoppers, with 76 percent of consumers wanting to buy products in their native language, it’s clear that translating your content into Chinese could deliver extremely attractive returns.

2. The web is predominantly English-first, but other languages are gaining ground

Around 60 percent of all the websites in existence are written in English, which reinforces the fact that the web is predominantly English-first. However, the dominance of the English language is on the slide, with several other languages gaining ground. The next most common language online is Russian, accounting for 8.6 percent of all websites, while 4 percent and 3.2 percent of websites are written in Spanish and Turkish, respectively.

There’s also a big disconnect between some of the world’s most commonly spoken languages and their presence online. Chinese, Bengali and Punjabi are three of the world’s 10 most commonly spoken languages, spoken by more than 1.2 billion people, yet they’re still relatively scarce online.

3. Arabic is the fastest-growing language online

There are already around 300 million native Arabic speakers, with many of those living across the Western world. In fact, Arabic is the fastest-growing language in the US and online. From 2000-2020, the number of Arabic-speaking internet users grew by 9,348 percent, bringing the number to 237 million. The combined gross domestic product of the Arab-speaking world is £2 trillion, giving you some idea of just how lucrative a market it could be.

4. 57 percent of online shoppers make purchases from overseas retailers

Research from Shopify has found that 57 percent of online shoppers make purchases from overseas retailers. However, there are some important caveats to that. Consumers who buy from foreign websites still want to be able to read product reviews, watch videos and read information written in their language. Many also want to be able to purchase products online in their currency.

Business translation represents a tremendous opportunity

The growth of the multilingual web and the scarcity of some of the world’s most spoken languages online represents a fantastic opportunity for businesses that take the time to do it right. At Linguistica International, our mother tongue linguists are ready to help you get your business online in the languages your customers speak.

Call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com to discuss your business translation goals with our team.

Language preferences of consumers around the world

Study Reveals Language Preferences of Consumers in 29 Countries

The third global ‘Can’t Read, Won’t Buy’ survey by CSA Research (formerly Common Sense Advisory) has revealed the language preferences of consumers in 29 countries. It makes essential reading for businesses that have already expanded overseas or are planning to do so in the near future.

Among its headline findings, the survey revealed that 76 percent of online shoppers prefer to buy products from websites that have information in their own language, with 40 percent saying they never buy from websites that don’t.

The survey’s scope

The CSA survey is by far the most extensive research conducted into the language preferences of consumers around the world. There were 8,709 survey respondents in 29 countries in Europe, North America, South America and Asia, with the results making the case for delivering localised content throughout the customer journey.

Specifically, the research explored online language preferences and their impact on buying behaviours. Factors including nationality, global brand recognition, English-language proficiency and the ability to conduct transactions in local currencies were also included in the study.

The top-level findings

The study found that, not surprisingly, the demand for local-language content in online transactions changes with nationality. Consumers in Asia-Pacific countries are the most reliant on local-language content, with consumers in Taiwan (94 percent), Korea (92 percent) and China (92 percent) favouring online products with information in their own languages.

Other findings include the following:

  • 65 percent of consumers prefer product information in their own language, even if the quality of that content is poor.
  • 67 percent are willing to tolerate mixed languages on a website and still make a purchase.
  • 73 percent want to see product reviews in their own language, even if no other native language content is available.
  • 66 percent of consumers use machine translation tools to create native language content if it’s not available.
  • 75 percent say they’re more likely to buy from the same brand again if the customer support is in their language.
  • Given the choice between similar products, 66 percent will choose the less expensive product even if no information is available in their own language.
  • A strong global brand can influence purchasing decisions, with 69 percent of consumers choosing products from major brands over those with information in their own language. Vietnamese (85 percent) consumers are most impressed by global brands, while the Japanese (50 percent) are the least.

Localise your website if you want to sell more goods

Although there are many more factors, such as price, payment methods and delivery options, that influence cross-border purchasing decisions, it’s clear that language has a major impact on your customers’ experiences online.

The results of this survey prove that if you want to increase the sales of your products in overseas markets, the translation and localisation of your website content is a must. That should include your product information, delivery details, payment options and product reviews.

Give your business the global edge

At Linguistica International, our diverse network of 2,000 professional linguists can translate your product information into more than 200 languages. Call us on 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today to discuss how our translation and transcreation teams can help.

It's okay not to be okay

It’s OK not to be OK

Here at Linguistica Translation & Recruitment, we’re going to break from our usual line of translation news and tips to introduce a charitable campaign that we’re proud to support until the end of the year.

It’s OK not to be OK (IOKN2BOK) is a mental health campaign started by Tony Wilsher. It encourages people to reach out and talk about their mental health challenges, however big or small they perceive their problems to be.

Here’s a little bit more about Tony and why he felt inspired to set up the campaign.

A difficult start

Tony’s mental health issues go back to his childhood. Although he has a loving relationship with his father now, as a child, the stresses of life and excess drinking made his father harder on him than perhaps he should have been. In Tony’s teenage years, he started out on a slippery slope of drink, drugs, crime and violence, and he needed a way out. That’s when he found the army.

Life in the army

The army set Tony on a different course. It straightened him out and gave him routine, fellowship and structure – all the things he had needed to leave his troubled teenage years behind him. Although the drink and violence still made the occasional unwelcome appearance, things were good for a short period.

Tony used to think that the things he’d seen and done in the army hadn’t affected him. However, after two operational tours of Afghanistan, other operational stations and various other damaging life events, the familiar demons of drinking, violence and addiction traits resurfaced, and Tony started to spiral out of control.

The decline

With his demons buried deep within himself and no way to get them out, Tony started to push away everything that he loved or that was important to him. He lost his wife, children, family, home, health, sanity and very nearly his job. There reached a point when Tony had nothing left to lose. He was at rock bottom and was plagued by insurmountable debts and addiction problems that were out of control.

At his worst, Tony would stay in his bedroom for 20-30 days at a time. His depression and anxiety had gotten so bad that he wouldn’t eat and would choose to go to the toilet in a bucket rather than risk leaving his bedroom and seeing the outside world.

Despite many people trying to help, including charities, the army welfare team, friends, family, his wife and even his children, nothing could relieve the pain and suffering Tony was going through.

Tony 1

The salvation

On 10 January 2020, a man Tony had never met visited him at home. He said he’d been told that Tony was in a bad way and was reaching out to try and help him. He asked Tony if he’d like to go to church with him the following day. Although Tony had never believed in God and had only been to church for weddings, funerals and christenings, something inside him said go.

Tony went to church that next day and felt the love, warmth and care from the people in the church; it was a power like nothing he had felt before. From that day onwards, slowly but surely, Tony has started to turn his life around. As well as the support from the CRC, he has also opened up to all the other networks that were so desperately trying to reach him and is now receiving the help he needs.

The campaign

Today, Tony is the best dad, son, husband, friend and soldier he has ever been.

Tony 2Tony 3

He has seen how powerful sitting down and talking about the mental challenges we all face at certain times in our lives can be. He has started the ‘It’s OK not to be OK’ campaign’ to help others reach out a lot earlier than he did so they can avoid the hurt and pain he went through.

The campaign started with motivational videos on Facebook that went viral. Tony received message after message from people saying how what he was doing was helping them and was even saving lives. Since then, the campaign has snowballed. ‘It’s OK not to be OK’ is now in the process of getting charity status so that Tony can travel to schools, colleges, businesses and military organisations and raise awareness of mental health by delivering presentations.

The big vision for the charity is to open mental health retreats across the country where people can have a number of weeks away from their problems and find the space they need, with expert help, to start to work through them.

Support

If any of this rings true for you or you’ve been touched by Tony’s story and would like to show your support, please take a look at It’s OK not to be OK’s pages on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Tony would love you to purchase a t-shirt to help put IOKN2BOK on the map or to get involved in any way you can.

It’s OK not to be OK’s first official fundraiser is on 17 August 2020, when Tony and IOKN2BOK’s official celebrity partner, Darren Day, will be doing a skydive with the group of ladies who came up with the idea.

If you would like to find out more about IOKN2BOK or talk to Tony directly, please contact him via the Facebook page.

Expanding overseas? These are the 5 best translation plugins

The 5 Best Translation Plugins For Multilingual Websites

If your budget won’t stretch to the professional translation of your website, that doesn’t necessarily have to bring an end to your plans to sell to customers overseas. If your website is built on WordPress, then translation plugins can provide a viable alternative. Although automated translations certainly have their limitations, they could prove to be an effective stopgap measure that allow you to enter foreign markets while you consider making an investment in professional translation.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at five of the best translation plugins for WordPress websites and explore some of the features that may make them the right choice for you.

1. TranslatePress

TranslatePress gives you the option to translate your web pages manually, assign a ‘Translator’ role to any user without giving them full access to your admin area, or use Google Translate to produce automated translations. This makes it a versatile tool that can support you, however you want to work.

Uniquely, it also allows you to translate posts and pages directly from the front-end of your website, so there’s no more switching between the editor, string translation interfaces or badly translated plugins. There’s also full support for WooCommerce and a range of site builders.

The plugin costs $139 a year for business use on three websites, which represents good value when you think about the potential benefits it could bring.

2. WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML)

WPML is one of the most used WordPress translation plugins, allowing you to perform automated and manual translations in more than 60 languages. Plans start at just $29 for blogs and $79 for full-feature websites, making it a cost-effective solution to your multilingual translation needs. You can choose to produce your automated translation using Microsoft Azure, ICanLocalize and Cloudwords or perform back-end translations manually.

3. Google Website Translator

In terms of simplicity, the Google Website Translator cannot be beaten. Not only is this automated translation tool extremely easy to use, but it’s also free, allowing you to provide multilingual content in more than 100 languages without spending a penny.

This tool allows you to install a widget on your site that visitors can click to view your content in the language of their choice. Unfortunately, the quality of the translations is not always perfect and the translated pages are not indexed by the search engines, so they won’t appear in the search engine results pages for foreign language searches. Those are two significant drawbacks, so if you want to take your overseas expansion seriously, you might decide it’s worth spending a bit of money for a better product.

4. Polylang

Polylang is a popular automated WordPress translation plugin that allows you to create multilingual websites in as many languages as you like. The language packs are downloaded and updated automatically, giving you quick and easy access to foreign markets. Importantly, this plugin is compatible with popular WordPress plugins such as All in One SEO and Yoast SEO, so your translated content will be indexed and appear on the search engine results pages for foreign language searches.

5. Multilingual Press

If you want to go the self-translation route, then the Multilingual Press translation plugin is an excellent choice, as it allows you to connect multiple versions of your website that are hosted on different domains. For example, by connecting your UK, German and French websites, your visitors will receive a seamless browsing experience and you’ll be able to edit them all in a much faster and more efficient way.

Multilingual Press is also compatible with plugins such as WooCommerce and Yoast SEO, so you’ll be able to offer native-language ecommerce functionality and your websites will rank for foreign language searches. Unlike other translation plugins, Multilingual Press will also give your website’s performance and page loading times a boost, helping to improve your multilingual SEO.

Ready to expand your business overseas?

At Linguistica International, we offer word-perfect translation services in more than 200 languages to make your business shine overseas. Give us a call on 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

A picture of the moon. An example of a conspiracy in our blog about brand localisation

Ipsos MORI and the Importance of Brand Localisation

Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, don’t they? Actually, no, we’re not really fans at all. In our book, conspiracy theories are the work of people who use social media too much and want to peddle their own agendas. The earth is not flat, Armstrong and Aldrin did land on the moon, and yes, Bolsonaro, it appears that the coronavirus is more than just a media construct. But hey, each to their own, right?

However, the latest conspiracy theory that’s gathering steam in the echo chamber that is social media is one we’re a little happier about. Again, the premise of the theory is absolute tosh, but it does illustrate the importance of brand localisation, which gives us something to write about!

The Ipsos MORI conundrum

Ipsos MORI is a UK-based market research company that was formed by the merger of Ipsos UK and MORI in October 2005. Ipsos MORI conducts surveys for a wide range of organisations, including surveys about the prevalence of conspiracy theories and why people believe them.

Rather ironically, Ipsos MORI has become the centre of a conspiracy theory itself, when it was revealed that the firm was working with the NHS on its COVID-19 research. The cause of the faux internet hysteria surrounds the fact that in broken Latin, Ipsos MORI means ‘dead themselves’.

Hang on just a second. So, just because the merger of two companies has created a brand name that roughly translates as something related to the human tragedy caused by the coronavirus, the internet thinks something sinister is at play? Correct. To us, all it shows is that Ipsos MORI overlooked the importance of brand localisation.

What is brand localisation?

Brand localisation is the process of adapting a company’s branding so that it meets the perceptions and expectations of its target audience. Organisations can spend millions of pounds crafting beautiful global campaigns, only to find that the business name, the tagline or the names of its products translate into something either offensive or with an unintended meaning in the new market.

In this case, Ipsos MORI simply joined the names of the two companies brought together by the merger, probably with little thought for what the new company name actually meant. Although this is one example where the consequences are likely to be negligible, that’s not the case for every business.

When Kraft was promoting its global snack business in Russia, it didn’t check what the name of its new sub-brand, Mondelez, meant in Russian. In Russian slang, Mondelez translates as ‘oral sex’, which is not appropriate for a business like Kraft, or any other firm for that matter. That’s why it’s so important that brand localisation is at the forefront of every business’s global expansion plans.

Getting your branding on point in every language

At Linguistica International, our localisation team can help you avoid an embarrassing branding or marketing faux pas and ensure that your messaging is on point in every culture and language. Find out more about our transcreation and localisation services and call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

Picture of two people working at computers to create multilingual websites

5 Best Practice Tips for Multilingual Websites

These days, all you need is a user-friendly, search engine optimised website to open up your business to the world. Once the website is in place, there are a few best practice tips you can follow to attract and convert visitors in new markets. So, how do you create multilingual websites that are just as effective in domestic and overseas markets? Here’s our guide.

1. Use a flexible website template

To create multilingual websites that convert in multiple countries, you must tread a fine line between building a cohesive global brand while accommodating the preferences of each target market.

To simplify the process, you should build the original website using a template that can be easily tweaked and adapted, both aesthetically and in terms of the user experience, while keeping the core elements of the site the same. That will make it much faster, easier and cheaper to create localised versions of the same site for every target market.

2. Decide what you’ll translate

Research shows that 75 percent of online shoppers prefer to buy products in their native language. So, to be successful in overseas markets, the translation of some of your website content is essential. However, that doesn’t mean you have to translate it all. As a minimum, you should translate all product descriptions, product demonstrations, payment information, returns and delivery details and any other information that relates directly to the sales process.

3. Different language, same voice

It’s very easy for a brand’s tone of voice and style to get lost in translation, but these intangibles are extremely important. You want to develop a relationship with your customers and for them to see you as a brand they can trust. That becomes difficult when you communicate in different ways across each of your websites and platforms.

Taking the time to create a style guide and glossary for your brand and sharing that with your translation partner is well worth the time and effort. That will help you to communicate cohesively across borders and send the same clear message to your customers.

4. Avoid machine translation if possible

If your budget is tight, machine translation might seem like a cost-effective alternative to a language service provider, but it’s no substitute for a professional linguist. You could be publishing content littered with inaccuracies or with a stilted and awkward tone that reads just like, well, it’s been written by a machine.

If you do choose to use machine translation to reduce the costs, then at the very least you should hire a human translator to edit and proofread the content before it goes live. Failing to do so could cause significant damage to your brand.

5. Translation is not always enough

Successful marketing relies on more than just producing content in the native language. To be effective, your content must engage and have an emotional impact on your customers. To do that, elements of the material may need to be recreated to align with cultural expectations and reflect local preferences.

This process is called transcreation. A good language service provider, such as Linguistica International, will help you decide which elements of your multilingual websites are ripe for transcreation.

Create multilingual websites that speak your customers’ languages

At Linguistica International, our professional translation, transcreation and copywriting teams can help you reach customers in more than 250 languages. Get in touch to discuss your website translation project today on 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com.

The 5 Most Translated Authors of All Time

The 5 Most Translated Authors of All Time

The weather is certainly doing its best to boost the mood of the nation, but we thought it was time we also did our bit. So, rather than our usual brand of hard-hitting translation tips and tricks, we decided to explore some of the most translated authors of all time, in a new segment we’re calling ‘Lockdown Lite’ – or something.

So, without further ado, just who are the most translated authors that are uniting readers around the world right now? These figures from UNESCO reveal all.

1. Agatha Christie

The world’s most translated author is Torquay’s very own Agatha Christie. The prolific Dame Agatha wrote more than 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. She is particularly noted for those that feature the prim but worldly wise Miss Marple and the moustachioed Hercule Poirot. Some of her most famous works include Murder on the Orient Express and The Mousetrap. With 7,236 translations of her works from English, thousands of people around the world will have their noses in an Agatha Christie novel right now.

2. Jules Verne

Jules Verne is probably not the best-known author on this list, but name a few of his books – 80 Days Around the World, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth – and you’ll quickly understand why he’s firmly in second place. With 4,751 translations of his books originating from French, the Nantes-born novelist is the most widely read science fiction writer of all time.

3. William Shakespeare

“O William, William, where art thou published, William?”. Well, according to UNESCO, all over the world. There are 4,296 translations from English of the British bard’s work, with many of his plays, sonnets and poems known all around the globe. Having received a dismal grade after trying to do an A-Level English Literature module on Hamlet without reading the book, your humble narrator has rather taken against Shakespeare – but to be fair, it probably wasn’t his fault.

4. Enid Blyton

Having sold 600 million books, Enid Blyton continues to be one of the world’s best selling authors. Her most notable works include the Famous Five and Secret Seven series, but she also deserves a huge shout out for her work on Noddy! There are 3,924 translations of Blyton’s books from English, which is testament to her enduring and universal appeal.

5. Barbara Cartland

Now you’re talking! With titles such as The Wicked Marquis, Cupid Rides Pillion and The Earl’s Revenge, Barbara Cartland was a proper writer. Focusing on romance in the Victorian era – and why not – Cartland wrote an astounding 723 novels and rightfully has a place in the Guinness World Records for writing the most books in one year. For all those procrastinators claiming to suffer from writer’s block, Cartland wrote 23 novels in 1976 alone, and we have no doubt that each and every one is brilliant.

Connecting people around the globe

We hope it has brought you some comfort to know that the global lockdown has probably given a taxi driver in Chennai the time he’d never normally have to get stuck into a Barbara Cartland novel. But it’s not just the world’s most translated authors that are bringing us together.

At Linguistica International, we are continuing to connect businesses and customers all over the world. For help with your next translation, transcreation or copywriting project, please call 02392 987 765 or email info@linguistica-international.com today.

 

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 info@linguistica-international.com for a free quote.