Q: What are some of the difficulties commonly faced by remote interpreters?
A: Challenges for the interpreter include managing the flow, enforcing the use of the pre-session (providers may already be mid-task or mid-conversation when the video connection brings up the image). Often, this leads to their wanting to have the interpreter jump in mid-sentence. The challenge is finding a way to enforce the use of the pre-session and have it be viewed as part of your customer service rather than insisting on having things proceed according to the interpreter’s wishes. Confirming language preference, confidentiality and the patient and provider name are all steps that are part of the Pre-Session, which leads to greater patient satisfaction. Finding your voice and having professional scripts to use it in your delivery helps.
Q: What are the differences between remote video interpreting for healthcare and remote video conference interpreting?
A: For healthcare, interpreting is meant to facilitate understanding and trust between parties. In a conference situation, accuracy and speed are the prized elements. Also, you will have a partner in the booth with you for conference interpreting, but not when you interpret in a hospital or clinic. Again, being able to manage the flow to insure accuracy and understanding are key elements for the healthcare interpreter.
Q: How long does an average interpreting call last?
A: There is no average length of call, just like there is no average patient. Call can last as little as a couple of minute, because the onsite interpreter arrives and takes over, and they can last for several hours, depending on the nature of the encounter.
Q: How will VRI impact the profession in the coming years?
A: VRI is the fastest growing market segment for healthcare interpreting. Other sub-specialties in the interpreting world are also using VRI in growing numbers (court, social services, schools and conference centers). For interpreters working onsite, their work will become more challenging as the simpler requests will increasingly be shunted to the phone or video, leaving the difficult and challenging assignments to fill an increasingly larger proportion of the onsite interpreter’s daily schedule.
Q: Interpreting is interpreting, so why would it be important for a medical or legal interpreter to take a course on VRI or attend a webinar on the same topic?
A: The short answer is to improve one’s knowledge and therefore, competence. The longer answer lies in whether you consider yourself to be a professional interpreter or not. All professions require certification and continuing education. Doctors, nurses, teachers and lawyers, are all required to get certified and maintain their certifications by pursuing continuing education and working the minimum hours per year to keep their skill set and certifications in good order. Are you certified, or qualified nationally as a healthcare interpreter? Are you certified, or registered by your state’s Administrative Office of the Courts as a court interpreter? If so, you should be pursuing continuing education to maintain your credentials.
Did you know the video remote interpreting is the fastest growing segment within language services? Do you want to stay viable and well trained in best practice for the new employment opportunities? Then getting trained in new technologies is a great way to achieve your goals.