Interpretation is crucial to breaking down language barriers in a wide range of environments – from courtrooms and doctors’ surgeries to international business meetings and press conferences. However, not all interpreting services are designed the same, because different scenarios present a range of language problems and these call for different approaches to interpretation.
In this article, we are going to outline the three most common forms of interpreting services and explain in which scenarios you might need to use each of them.
#1: Face to face interpreting
This is what most people tend to think of when they imagine interpreting services. When you need the personal presence of an interpreter, face to face interpreting is the way to go. This can be important in cases where you are dealing with sensitive information, such as interpreting medical cases or legal issues for non-native speakers. It can also be important when you need to gauge that the other person has fully understood certain pieces of information and knows how to proceed.
#2: Telephone interpreting
In cases where you do not need the personal presence of an interpreter, telephone interpreting can provide the language skills you need. The great thing about this service is that you can get an interpreter on-demand without needing to plan ahead or schedule appointments. This can be a major advantage in a business environment where schedules are tight and things can change at the last minute.
Another key benefit of telephone interpreting is that it is significantly cheaper than taking the face to face route.
#3: Video interpreting
Video interpreting combines the benefits of face to face interpreting and telephone interpreting to provide an affordable, on-demand service that covers all bases. This is a great option for businesses who rely on international video conferences to talk to overseas clients, partners and investors. Similarly, video interpreting is ideal for situations where interpretation services are needed in remote locations and it is important for people to see the face of the person they are talking to.
Video interpreting is also appropriate when visual cues, for example, body language, facial expressions or showing important documents, play a vital role in the conversation. It makes all of this possible without needing to bring an interpreter to your physical location.
Which interpreting service do I need?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you need interpreters on site or not. If it is important that your audience is able to speak to someone directly, then it is worth taking advantage of face to face interpreting services. One example could be an important meeting with investors and you want to show them that you have spared no expense. Or you could be obliged to provide employees with the opportunity to talk to legal experts in certain situations and need interpreters on-site for foreign-speaking staff.
You may have more demanding interpretation needs for something like an international industry conference, where you require an entire team of face-to-face interpreters who can keep the multilingual conversation flowing.
In many cases, you will not be required to provide the physical presence of an interpreter and this is where telephone and video interpreting services come into play. These are more than enough for a growing number of situations that contemporary global businesses find themselves in. Both telephone and video interpreting services provide a cheaper, more convenient alternative to face to face interpreting, for when that personal presence is not needed.