Skip links

Frequently Asked Questions About Video Interpreting

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about video interpreting and how it can benefit your business. 

As technology advances, the way that we communicate and interact with others changes. Additionally, thanks to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the way businesses operate and communicate with patients and clients has also changed.

For example, instead of meeting with your clients to discuss their legal cases, you may have video conference calls instead. Or, instead of having a traditional doctor’s appointment in your medical office, you may offer telehealth or telemedical appointments. While there are many benefits associated with having video calls and conference calls, there are a few downsides as well.

One of the downsides is that it can make it challenging for those who are hard of hearing or who speak little English to communicate with you. This is where video interpreting services come in. As a business owner, you may have many questions about video interpreting services and whether they are something your business should be offering customers and clients.

Here are some of the questions you may have about this service, along with the answers.

What Is Video Interpreting?

Video interpreting is a service that involves having traditional interpreting services completed by someone who is not present in the room with one or both parties. Instead, the interpreter is present on a computer screen or a telephone.

Video interpreting can be completed in two different ways. If you are having a conference call with someone, the interpreter can also be present for that call, much like a three-way call only through video conferencing. For example, if you are video conferencing a client who is hard of hearing, you can also video conference the interpreter in. The interpreter will then listen to what you say and translate it to the other party.

The other way that video interpreting can be done is that a video interpreter can be present via telephone or computer, while the other two parties are meeting in person. For example, if you are a doctor meeting with your patient in the office, you and the patient can be in the office and a video interpreter can be called to translate between you and the patient.

Is Video Interpreting Only For the Deaf or Hard of Hearing?

When video interpreting first began, it was primarily used for those who were deaf or hard of hearing. This is because video interpreting allowed the person with hearing loss to see someone on a screen doing sign language. As such, many people are under the impression that video interpreting is only for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

However, this is not the case. As technology has evolved, it has made it easier for people to have video conferences or video meetings. Most people have a SmartPhone, tablet or computer with a webcam that allows them to make these phone calls.

As such, video interpreting has advanced beyond providing sign language interpreting to those who are hard of hearing, and now is used to provide interpreting services among people who may speak two different languages or need some help understanding each other.

What Types of Organizations May Need to Utilize Video Interpreters?

There are numerous types of businesses and organizations that may need to utilize video interpreters.

Doctor’s offices, lawyers and those who manufacture and sell hearing aids are among the types of businesses that most frequently use these services. However, many other types of businesses may use these services and benefit from them.

If you live in a part of the country where a foreign language is commonly spoken, you can benefit from these services. Offering video interpreting services can allow you to advertise that your plumbing business or home improvement company speaks Spanish, Russian, Chinese or other languages popular in your area, expanding your client base.

If you are a tutoring business, you can provide video interpreting services, which can allow you to reach out to children in your area with hearing loss who may need extra help with their homework or classwork.

There truly is no end to which types of businesses and organizations can benefit from video interpreting services.

How Does Video Interpreting Work?

One of the questions that many businesses and individuals who have never used video interpreting services before have is how exactly video interpreting works.

Traditionally, video conferencing services are something that a business, organization or court arranges on behalf of an individual that they are providing services to. It is not unheard of, but it is rarer, for an individual obtaining services to provide their own video interpreter for things like meetings and appointments. As such, as a business, you should have video interpreting services on-hand to call when a client, patient or customer informs you that they need an interpreter.

Once you are informed that the individual needs an interpreter, you can contact the video interpreting company and set up an appointment with them for the date and time specified. Some companies will offer same-day services if an interpreter is available, but it is highly recommended that you have an appointment.

Once an appointment is set, the video interpreting company will provide you with arrangements for working with your interpreter. Depending on the company, you may contact them via an app, an internet website or a phone number when the appointment is.

From there, everything will proceed as normal, with the interpreter helping to translate when needed between you and your patient, client or customer.

How Does Video Interpreting Differ From On-Site Interpreting Services?

Another question that you may have is how video interpreting services differ from traditional on-site interpreting services. The obvious difference is that on-site interpreting services involve having an interpreter present in your office to help with a patient or client.

The smaller differences that they bring along include increased privacy and lower prices.

If you are a doctor seeing a patient who needs to be unclothed to be examined, the client may feel more comfortable knowing that the video interpreter is not facing them and viewing them during this time. Also, since an interpreter is not spending time driving to your office, sitting in traffic and trying to park, they are able to charge less money.

This makes video interpreting services cheaper and more affordable than traditional on-site interpreting services.

What Should You Look For in a Video Interpreter?

Once you are ready to utilize a video interpreting service, you may find yourself wondering what you need to look for in a video interpreting service.

The top thing that you need to look for is what types of video interpreting services the company offers versus what your needs are. Do they only offer interpreting services to those who are hard of hearing or do they offer language interpreting services as well?

If they offer language services, what languages do they offer? Also, be sure to ask how many interpreters they have and how far in advance you need to book services.

Another factor to consider is price. Do they charge a flat fee for each interpreting service or do they charge by the minute? Take the time to compare rates among different interpreting services to find one that is affordable and fairly priced.

Finally, you want to find an interpreting service that offers interpreters who have experience with the type of industry that you need interpreting services for.

Why Should You Look For a Video Interpreter Who Is Familiar With Certain Industries?

As you look for a video interpreter, it is important to look for an interpreting service that has interpreters who are familiar with the type of industry you need interpreting services for.

For example, if you have a family law firm, you want interpreters who are familiar with family law. Or, if you are a doctor, you want interpreters familiar with the medical field. Certain industries have specific terms or jargons that are used, and having someone familiar with these terms makes translation services easier. They fully understand the term, so they can explain it to someone who speaks a different language or who is hard of hearing.

This helps to ensure that your words are not only translated, but also that the client or patient fully understands what you are telling them.

Video interpreting services can be beneficial to many different types of businesses. By offering these services, you allow those who may be hard of hearing and/or those who may not speak much English the ability to utilize the same services as those who may not be hard of hearing or having language barriers to overcome. This can help with inclusion and can also help you to increase your reach of customers, allowing you to market your services to those with hearing disabilities or those who speak different languages.

Finding the right company for video interpreting services is important. If you are ready to learn more about utilizing these services, let us help you. Call us today to get started.