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Telephone Interpreting Services: The Pros & Cons

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Modern communication systems mean that many of us no longer have to be bound to a desk. For those of us who do, however, we often work with outside vendors or freelancers who are not. This means there’s a wide variety of choices when it comes to selecting telephone interpreter services.

If you’re in the market for a telephone interpreting service, here are a few pros and cons you may want to consider before hiring one:

Pros

1. Convenience. With a telephone interpreting service provided over the phone, you have access to a professional interpreter almost instantaneously. You can get the job done right away, without delays.

 2. Price. Over-the-phone interpreting is generally much more cost effective when compared to hiring a live interpreter for larger blocks of time. By working with an efficient telephonic interpreting service, you’ll only be paying for the minutes you use and nothing more.

3. Professionalism. A telephone interpreting service can offer you professional linguists and top-notch customer care. By maintaining a high standard of excellence, a good phone interpreting service ensures customer satisfaction, even without face-to-face office time.

Cons

1. You might not be working with the same interpreter every time. For some people, having close relationships with their interpreters is very important. For others, quality trumps the chance of meeting your interpreter in person.

2. Technological issues. Make sure the service you go with can connect you with an over-the-phone interpreter in a relatively short amount of time. The equipment they use, the sound quality they offer, and the speed of service need to be top grade — otherwise your business may suffer as a consequence.

3. Too much choice. There are lots of telephone interpreting services out there. It can be hard to sort through them all and figure out which ones are reliable and which ones aren’t. Talk to other customers and get as much feedback as you can before selecting a telephone-interpreting agency. Avoid contracts and set up fees  these are not necessary and many excellent services have done away with them.

Image of woman in call center by Alan Clark, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Meet the Authors

Brian Gruters

In addition to writing blogs for us, Brian Gruters manages translation projects for corporate clients. He started with Language Translation in 2015.

Brian brings several years of experience as a Spanish to English translator to his work. He has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Arizona and a master’s in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

As a writer, Brian is mostly interested in language, science, and environmental conservation issues. He writes for various publications, as well as his blog, briangruters.com.

Jennifer Bustance

Jennifer Bustance is a California-based freelance writer, playwright, and novelist originally from Troy, Michigan. Her plays have been performed all over the country, and her prose has appeared in various online and print publications.

Jennifer is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project, San Diego Writers, Ink, and UCSD Extension. She is the Playwright in Residence at the Scripps Ranch Theatre and a founding member of their New Works Studio. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Chris Maroulakos

Chris Maroulakos has worked at Language Translation since 2007, and he is currently the director of operations. He has been a blogger and managing editor for the San Diego music blog Owl and Bear since 2008, and he also worked as a blogger and associate editor for NBC San Diego's SoundDiego music blog.

Chris holds certifications in SDL Trados Studio for Translators (Advanced Level), SDL Trados Studio for Project Managers, and SDL MultiTerm for Translators and Project Managers. He is Inbound Certified by HubSpot and also has certifications in Localization and Localization Project Management from California State University Chico, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), and the Localization Institute.

He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Communications and with minors in Italian and International Studies.