While it may sound so simple and easy, providing over-the-phone interpreting services require certain factors to ensure that the client will be able to have a fully satisfying experience. Meeting the expectations of clients is of primary importance—those who usually hire language are business people negotiating a deal-making conversation with a potential business partner speaking another tongue. One’s interpreting expertise, therefore, directly rides the crest of this wave: fail even a single job, and you might be legally liable for the botched negotiation.
That is why ensuring that you have a good working environment that would not get in the way of the efficient performance of your interpreting services is the main key to keeping clients happy and satisfied. So here are some tips you should heed if you are offering telephone interpreting services.
The most important factor is the conduciveness of your immediate work environment. If you are working from home, make sure to do your job in a room where no one would be able to disturb you during a job. Over-the-phone interpreting services are usually consecutive in nature—you listen and let the client finish a sentence, then you interpret. If you are working from home, where kids or other distractions abound, you end up sacrificing the quality of the service you offer. By allocating a room for your exclusive use—one that will be undisturbed, quiet (sound-proofed would be good), and with little or zero environmental noise—then you will be able to perform at your best.
As a professional interpreter, you must never forget your proper place. Providing interpreting services means staying neutral and maintaining a professional demeanor, regardless of how emotionally engaging the conversation turns out to be. You are merely bridging the gap, so to speak, and your job is to be a good, reliable bridge—never inject your own opinion and never add any unnecessary color to the language.
On the other hand, your client also must know beforehand their own responsibility. You must remind or educate your potential client by informing them at the get-go the minimum requirements to ensure good communication. For example, tell them about the importance of using reliable telecommunication technology. Conversing through mobile phones—while normally reliable and clear—leaves your reliable to unexpected delays and choppy transmission. While you already have taken care of the reliability of the technology you use at home, it is equally important that the client also adheres to using high-quality equipment.
As with language translation, interpreting services require the close cooperation of both interpreter and client. And with the help of other factors, such as the proper technology and setting, the success of every interpreting session will be ensured.