How to Find the Right Phone Interpreter Services for Your Business

If you are running a business that works with customers, partners, or investors located internationally who speak different languages than you, finding the ideal interpretation solution is crucial.
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Over-the-phone interpretation is a type of interpretation in which an interpreter provides their services via a three-way call, through a speaker phone, or on a dual-set phone. This type of interpretation removes the need for an in-person interpreter, enabling international business to be more easily conducted.

In this article, we discuss what over-the-phone interpretation is, why a business might need it, and how to go about finding the right phone interpreter services for your business.

Keep reading to learn why PGLS could be the right language services provider for you.

What is Interpretation?

Interpretation is the process of converting one spoken language into another. It is used for many purposes, from allowing communication between two people to providing a real-time voiceover for a live event, speech, or performance.

The skill of interpretation is hard to master, as there are many factors to consider when interpreting languages in real-time for clients. For instance, an interpreter must not only be fluent in a language but also have an adept skill for listening that allows them to not just read but audibly comprehend a language.

If an interpreter does not have equally as good listening skills as they do reading skills in terms of language comprehension, they cannot provide an excellent interpretation in real-time.

Moreover, depending on who the interpreter is listening to, their speech may use a specific dialect, speech pattern, or mixture of languages that is necessary for the interpreter to understand.

Spoken language contains a lot more nuance and potential for grammatical or linguistic errors compared to written language. Thus, an interpreter needs the ability to be able to make adjustments and corrections that make sense while still honoring the true meaning of the original speaker’s words.

What is Over-the-Phone Interpretation?

Over-the-Phone Interpretation — or OPI for short — is a specific type of interpretation that happens, as the name suggests, over the phone.

Picture this: two businessmen from companies in different countries. Their respective companies form a business partnership together and the two businessmen are instructed to work together on a new project. The problem is, however, that the two men speak different first languages and both are not fluent in the language of the other.

Being in different countries from one another, the two businessmen can not easily meet with each other with an interpreter present to facilitate business dealings. Instead, these meetings must happen over the phone, including an interpreter providing their services over the phone as well.

This can work in a number of ways. For instance, if one of the businessmen already has a trusted interpreter on-site, they may have that interpreter sit in on the call with them and speak through either a speakerphone or dual-handset phone.

Alternatively, a professional interpreter hired and agreed upon by both parties can connect to the call as a third party, forming a three-way call.

Hiring an interpreter for OPI has many advantages, with one of the biggest being the ability to provide interpretation on-demand, rather than having to wait for an interpreter to have the time to attend a meeting in person.

Other Types of Interpretation

Though OPI is a highly useful form of interpretation, it is far from the only form. Different types of interpretations serve a variety of purposes and are well-suited to specific situations.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the other types of interpretation:

  • Whispered Interpretation Services: Whispered interpretation is a type of service where an on-site interpreter is present to provide live interpretation throughout the day. For instance, if a foreign ambassador from another country was visiting the U.S., an escort interpreter could stay with them through the duration of various business meetings to ensure no language barriers are met.
  • Consecutive Interpretation: Consecutive interpretation is when there is a minor gap present between the time when the original speaker speaks and when the interpreter provides their live interpretation. This allows for more specific and nuanced interpretations that give the interpreter more time to think and adjust as needed and is perfect for meetings and trainings.
  • Simultaneous Interpretation: Simultaneous interpretation — also called conference interpreting — is one of the hardest forms of live interpretation, as it requires the interpreter to speak simultaneously with the original speaker (such as during a national or international address where both the speaker and interpreter are given a teleprompter). With no delays, the interpreter must be able to continuously speak without becoming confused or losing their place in a speech.
  • Video-Remote Interpretation: Video-remote interpretation (VRI) is very similar to OPI except that the parties involved use video conferencing technology rather than phones. VRI can provide a more professionally intimate setting for a virtual or long-distance meeting, as it allows the speakers and interpreters to look at one another as well as hear each other.

Why Might a Business Need Over-the-Phone Interpretation?

OPI can be beneficial for businesses for many reasons, with one of the biggest being the ability to work and create new business opportunities internationally.

With OPI, businesses can easily connect with partners, customers, and investors who may not be fluent in the same language as them. The support of an interpreter over the phone allows businesses to form such connections quickly and with the ability to reconnect at a moment’s notice.

How to Find the Right Phone Interpreter Services for Your Business

If you are considering global expansion or if you work in a region that is culturally and linguistically diverse, working with a professional interpreter can be majorly beneficial.

Finding the right phone interpreter service for your business comes down to three key factors:

  • Regional Specialties: Across the globe, there are thousands of different languages and each one can be broken down into smaller sub-categories of regional dialects and language variations that are specific to one region or group of people. Finding an interpreter that is fluent not just in standardized languages but also in regional dialects is key to working internationally.
  • Language Localization: When it comes to keeping an interpretation true to its original meaning, there is a lot of in-depth knowledge about the specific culture a language comes from to properly convey meaning. Word-for-word interpretations don’t always do the original meaning justice — thus, localization services that make small adjustments to retain a truer meaning are essential.
  • Industry Knowledge: Finally, if you are looking for an interpreter for business purposes, find one that has specialized knowledge in your specific industry. Each industry has its own jargon that requires an understanding of in more than one language to be properly interpreted.

Final Thoughts: Partner with PGLS for Specialized Interpretation Services

Here at PGLS, our interpretation experts are fluent in more than 200 languages, including a wide variety of regional varieties and specialties.

We provide all of the standard types of interpretation services — including OPI, simultaneous, consecutive, and video remote interpretation — and we work with businesses in a vast range of different industries including government, legal, healthcare, technology, and more. 

Along with interpretation services, we also offer translations, language training programs, and many other crucially important language solutions.

Get started with PGLS today by contacting our team to learn more about our custom solutions.