In this article, I will explain when you should use a telephonic interpreter and when you should not. I suggest how you can get more clients and make your work easier by using telephonic interpreters.
Avoid telephonic for important meetings
Telephonic interpreters are to be avoided at all costs for depositions, hearings, trials, or any proceeding where there is important information being conveyed and recorded. The reason is bad audio and limited visual cues.
About 70% of all communication is non-verbal. This applies to depositions as well. The emphasis placed on particular words along with the witness’s body language means a lot. Also the other way around. Witnesses feel more comfortable when they can see the body language and demeanor of the person asking the questions. This is magnified when questioning individuals with limited education and vocabulary. In those cases, upwards of 80% of communication may be non-verbal. And compounded by poor audio and background noise.
You may be setting yourself or your client up for failure.
I recently interpreted at a telephonic immigration interview. The witness was also hard of hearing. The officer ended up placing the witness in a different room just so he could hear me. The officer and I had no indication of the person’s body language and the answers came across very poorly. The officer’s audio was horrible and I kept hearing paper shuffling and stapling. The man’s wife, who was in the room with him, kept interjecting as well. On-site interpreters can control witnesses much better and misunderstandings are averted.
Good witnesses become bad ones and bad witnesses get even worse when interpreting over the phone.
Use telephonic on-demand interpreters for informal meetings
On-demand interpreting was once only available to larger corporations is now available to law firms.
Imagine a new client walks into your office but you don’t speak the language. It may turn out to be a great case, but will you ever know? Or imagine you need to call prospective friendly witnesses to find out how much they know, but you don’t want to spend a ton of money just to get to a likely dead end.
On-demand remote telephonic interpreting (RTI) allows you to get an interpreter on the phone in over 200 languages in just under 1 minute.
The agency provides you with a telephone number and a pin. You then tell the operator what language you need and that’s it, you get a non-certified interpreter in any language. The best part about this is that you only pay for what you use. Instead of paying a 2-4 hour minimum, you only pay for the 5 to 10 minutes the interpreter was on the line.
Using telephonic interpreters for client meetings and evidence gathering can help you serve your customers much better and save money along the way.
Contact us if you want to set up an on-demand RTI account.