I am sure that we have all felt that awkward feeling of being on the phone with someone and, even if we know him/her very well, we did not have a clue about what he/she was thinking or meant. I have a few friends who make sure I feel that on a weekly basis. So how does telephone interpreting work? Surely it’s too difficult without seeing people’s body language and facial expressions. Or is it?
The possibility of making calls in a foreign country, thus communicating in a foreign language, makes things much more challenging. I remember that the first few times I ever made phone calls in Germany, I was literally shaking.
So we can easily understand how challenging telephone interpreting can be. Although interpreters can work from home, or at least from an environment they know and feel comfortable in, they are faced with emergencies, such as the sudden questioning of a criminal, an emergency medical procedure, and so on. In these cases, there is hardly ever time to call a face-to-face interpreter, so telephone interpreting is the best and least time-consuming option. The job of a telephone interpreter is highly complex: they need to be able to understand and convey the meaning of utterances, without being able to see their interlocutors, one of best and worst things about phone calls. As so much of language interpretation relies on body language, this can be a real obstacle for many people making calls to other countries.
Telephone interpreting services, such as Veritas Talk, are not the only avenues to go down in search of this. Some large bodies and organisations which deal with a high number of non-native speakers do actually set up their own services. [...]