Translation and interpretation have never been easy jobs, to begin with. Those professions take years of learning and even more work experience to master. After all, to be a good interpreter, you need to be able to understand, translate, and convey a message in the blink of an eye.
Mastery of at least two languages aside, interpreters need to have exceptional interpersonal skills, and should easily adapt to new surroundings and environments. Since most conferences take place in large venues with hundreds, if not thousands of people in attendance, most of the interpretation done nowadays takes place in soundproof booths, using advanced translation equipment.
Simultaneous interpretation over the telephone can be an even bigger challenge, given how it takes place over a larger distance and you’re forced to depend on a quality connection in order to get the message across correctly.
However, aside from the added element of the other person being on the other end of a landline instead of in the same room, the equipment required to provide quality translation over the telephone is pretty much the same as in the case of an in-person interpretation.
Are you an aspiring interpreter? Or maybe you’re an experienced translator, tasked with remote simultaneous interpretation? Either way, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn exactly what you’re going to need to carry the conversation!
Getting Ready to Start Translating
Before you go ahead and mark off all the simultaneous interpretation equipment you need on your checklist, consider the following tips to prepare yourself for your over-the-phone translation.
- Enunciation and talking speed. Remote translation is heavily dependent on sound quality and a solid internet or landline connection. This is why you should always speak slowly and emphasize every word you say — otherwise, the audience members might have trouble understanding your speech.
- Context and emotion. The job of interpreters doesn’t only require great translation skills. A lot of remote interpreting takes place in time-sensitive situations, which is why you need to be able to understand and convey the speaker’s emotions in one language and translate them into the target language on the fly.
- Stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted when providing translation services remotely. Since you won’t be looking at the participants, make sure that aside from the simultaneous interpretation equipment, your desk is clean of any potential distraction. When interpreting in real-time, even a couple of seconds of not paying attention may mean the difference between understanding someone and having no clue what they’re talking about.
Essential Interpreting Equipment
Simultaneous interpreting is particularly difficult because of the time constraints and the pressure of having to translate your speaker’s message as soon as they’re done talking. The difficulty is even greater when you have to do it all over the telephone.
This is why your interpreting equipment needs to work flawlessly, and nothing can be missing. There are a couple of things you’ll need in order to comfortably perform your tasks.
First of all, the venue where the two speakers meet should be equipped with a dual handset phone. It’s a special type of telephone which allows two people to speak into the same machine, using two handsets. On the other end of the line, interpreters listen in on the conversation and translate into the microphone right away.
Both parties will be able to hear them at the same time since the two handsets are connected to one phone. The use of a dual handset is the most frequently used interpretation system, and you can find it in hospitals, public offices, and other places where people might drop in and require immediate assistance.
On the interpreters’ side, a solid headset with a quality microphone is a necessity. You shouldn’t have to listen in on a handset as a simultaneous interpreter — it can influence your understanding of the different languages being spoken and derail the conversation.
The option of adjusting the volume on the headphones ensures that you hear everything clearly, and the microphone will guarantee the same experience on the other end of the conversation.
Professional simultaneous interpretation offices and call centers should also be equipped with monitoring units that can record all conversations. This is particularly useful to evaluate the work of all interpreters, as well as in cases when the call needs to be revisited to resolve issues that have arisen since the conversation took place.
Even though it’s not considered translation equipment per se, two-way encryption should be implemented for each and every call that enters or leaves your office. It’s especially important for legal interpretation since you’re handling sensitive information that could be used against your customers if it got into the wrong hands.
Remote interpreting requires exceptional language skills and high-grade translation equipment. Most of the over-the-phone interpretation takes place at doctor’s offices or legal offices, where foreigners who can’t speak the local language might show up unannounced and require precise and professional help.
You should keep that in mind whenever you receive such a call. Everything you say into the microphone could potentially make a huge difference in someone’s life, which is why the responsibility of accurate and precise translation should not be taken lightly.