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What is Over the Phone Interpretation?

July 25 , 2021

What is Over the Phone Interpretation?

by Target Language Translation Services

- July 25, 2021

Over the Phone Interpretation


Over the phone interpretation(OPI), which is also often referred to as telephone interpreting, takes the form of a 3-way telephone conference call between two individuals who do not speak the same language, and a third-party interpreter, aiming to help people speaking different languages understand each other. It is popular in different industries but is mainly used for interactions that happen over the phone, such as a call center employee with a customer. Some of the most common users of OPI are healthcare and governmental institutions, courts, businesses, emergency call centers, such as 911 and others.


How Do Interpreters Provide Qualified Work?

The main process of over the phone interpreting is that the interpreter listens carefully and then relays the message to the second party in another language. The interpreter acts as a remote middleman to break down the communication barrier that exists between these two parties.

Being an interpreter means to be able to render not only the simple text from one language to another but also the emotions and cultural nuances that go with it. Facial expressions and body language are quite helpful in such cases, however with OPI the professional is deprived of this advantage. Therefore, it takes a lot of skills to learn how to listen effectively to both parties and catch the feelings behind the words. In order to offer an excellent service, the telephone interpreter needs to have command of both languages used in the conversation along with great cognitive and sensory skills that allow them to pick the nuances of the speech.

Here are some of the most useful insights a professional can apply to enhance the quality of their service during telephone interpreting:

--Win the trust of clients

--Guarantee proper working environment

--Listen carefully and pay attention to the feelings and emotions behind the words

--Remain unbiased and always convey the same message regardless of agreement or disagreement with the opinion

--Know how to interrupt the speaker if necessary

--Do not be afraid to ask for clarifications when necessary

--Be prepared for additional questions and clarifications by both sides

--Be open and polite and willing to offer some explanation if requested

--Always speak in 1st person

--Speak clearly at an appropriate pace

It is good to note that all the parties involved in the telephone interpretation should follow the tips above, if possible.


How to Get Qualified Interpretation?

Since OPI jobs are more prone to potential misunderstandings, it’s vital to ensure a successful interpretation session. Here are a few simple tips about how to select an over-the-phone interpreter:

1. Select a Reputable Service

Firstly, you should hire a competent and reputable service for OPI. A reputable interpretation agency will often employ a team of interpreters that are fluent in various languages and fields. This allows them to provide you with their services in every possible situation, no matter which languages you and the other party speak.

2. Hire Certified Interpreters if the Situation Requires It

Specific interpretation jobs entail the employment of certified interpreters. Many interpretation agencies provide the services of certified interpreters. These interpreters undergo years of training and experience in their respective fields to gain that certification, which gives them the necessary contextual insight and subject matter knowledge to interpret easily and effectively within these industries.

If you believe your situation necessitates the use of a certified interpreter, do not be afraid to ask for one.

3. Proper Environments and Good Connections

Before calling up the interpreter, ensure you are in an environment that is free from background noise. Excessive background noise will inhibit clear communication between you and the interpreter.

Additionally, check that you have a good phone connection. You will often be paying by the hour, or by the minute, when using OPI.  Eliminating distractions and background noises and ensuring a good connection will allow you to get your money’s worth out of the interpretation session.

4. Simple, Precise, Clear

When talking to the interpreter, you'd better speak clearly and loudly (without shouting, of course). Make sure that you apply simple, concise, and to-the-point sentences to convey your message. An interpreter will often have a very extensive vocabulary but using plain language to convey meaning will allow the interpreter to translate much more quickly and will not break the flow of conversation.

This practice will ensure a successful and short interpretation session and save you valuable time. Since you are paying for the interpreter’s time, this will allow you to save your money as well.

5. Give the Interpreter Time to Convey the Message Effectively

You should understand that there are many linguistic and cultural variations between various languages. This is why you should allow some time to your interpreter to convey the message in an effective way to the other party. Do not think the interpreter is being impolite if they interrupt you to interpret the message.

If you use simple and to-the-point sentences, a good interpreter will usually translate your speech verbatim (word for word). However, situations may arise where the interpreter asks you questions to make sure that they understood you properly. Try not to mind this too much, and instead encourage them to ask questions if they need more clarification regarding a particularly difficult term or concept that you speak about.


If you ever find the need for an OPI service, choose Target Language Translation Services. Target Language Translation Services has been in the interpretation and translation services industry for over 10 years. Over the years, we have built up a team of over 2,000 linguists dedicated to providing you with the highest quality and professional interpretation services that you deserve. No matter where you are or what time it is, if you require our services, we will be there to assist you.



This article is reprinted from Languagers, acutrans and ICD Translation.

If there is a copyright, please inform us in time, we will delete it right the first time.

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