With organisations communicating on a global scale more than ever, the demand for language solutions has increased phenomenally. Alongside this global communication is the multilingual requirement here in the U.K., as many businesses find that interpreters are required to assist with communication with their clients. But what is the best way to fulfil these requirements?
This week, eSense Translations reviews video conference interpreting as a language solution for organisations looking to communicate with their clients. What are the advantages over traditional interpreting services and what are the drawbacks?
Video conference interpreting offers the convenience of telephone interpreting with all the benefits of an interpreter in person.
- No restriction in location, therefore better availability
When booking an interpreter for video conference interpreting the location of the interpreter is no longer a restriction. This gives you a wider choice of interpreters, instead of being limited to those working in your area and therefore more options on availability. Interpreters can be selected based solely on their experience and skills, rather than location being a deciding factor.
- Cost efficiency
Video conference interpreting removes the travelling costs involved with booking an in-person interpreter. With this service, the only fee involved is for the time spent interpreting, a much more cost-efficient option.
- Picking up the non-verbal cues
For many businesses, when facing a language barrier, their initial response is to book an interpreter to attend their meeting in person and assist with the communication with the non-English speaker. There are advantages to booking a face-to-face interpreter. This personal interaction can make difficult or sensitive conversations flow more easily. Furthermore, more subtle, non-verbal communication can also be picked up upon during the session; for example, facial expressions and body language cues. However, with the high-quality visual technology now available, these important signals can also mostly be picked up with video conference interpreting.
- Security and confidentiality
Video conference interpreting also has advantages when it comes to confidentiality and data security. Any security risks or protocols that are associated with in-person visits are eradicated with video conference interpreting, making your whole booking process a lot easier and more secure. Connections are made via a link to a secure site, ensuring all your communication remains confidential.
Moreover, by using interpreters from around the world, there is a much lower risk of using someone who is from the same community as the non-English speaker they are interpreting for. This drastically reduces the risk of a confidentiality breach.
- Recording of your session
With video conference interpreting, you also have the option of having a video recording or transcript of your session. You can therefore have a completely accurate record of what was said; perfect for later analysis.
- Avoidance of travel disruption
One of the main drawbacks of face-to-face interpreting is the dependence on reliable travel to the venue.
Consider the following scenario:
You have a client, who is not able to speak English, and is looking to rent a house from you. With assistance from a friend, they have viewed the house and so you have drawn up a contract, arranged for it to be translated into their native language and set up an appointment for them to come in and sign the paperwork. As there is quite a bit of technical information to discuss, you have decided to book a professional interpreter to assist with the session. Ten minutes before the session is due to take place, you receive a phone call. The interpreter has experienced issues with their travel to the session and is going to be over one hour late. Minutes later, the non-English speaker arrives. You struggle to explain to them the situation and being unable to understand, the client leaves confused and unhappy. No further contact is able to be made, meaning the time and money spent in getting the contracts drawn up and translated, as well as the time spent viewing the property has been wasted.
The above is an unusual situation, an extreme example maybe, but it can occur, particularly if the interpreter is travelling long distances or relying on public transport and when sessions do get cancelled, a lot of time and money can be wasted.
With video conference interpreting, there is no reliance on travel and transport in order for the session to take place. An interpreter can be connected to you quickly and efficiently via a secure link. And if there are any last-minute alterations to your booking, a replacement interpreter can easily be sought with no need to wait for travel to the venue.
When examining drawbacks to using video conference interpreting, the main issue that could be encountered is potential disruptions with technology. However, as internet connections and services, such as Skype, have improved greatly over the last few years, these issues are becoming more few and far between. In comparison to relying on transport links to attend a session face-to-face, the chance of encountering a problem is surely a lot smaller, making the advantages of using this service undoubtedly outweighing the drawbacks.
Video conference interpreting is a great solution for overcoming language barriers. It has a number of practical and financial advantages over face-to-face interpreting and largely does not lose the benefits that booking an interpreter in-person provides.
At eSense Translations, we are finding that more and more clients are using this service and that it is proving to be very effective. If you would like more information on how we can assist with any of your language requirements, please just get in contact with us and one of our team will be happy to help.
By Lorna Paice