The Remote Interpreter’s Journey

An interpreter may save your life one day. Who are these incredible people?

As our world becomes more connected through globalization, there is an increasing need for remote interpretation and translation jobs in the workforce. There is an estimated 76,100 interpreting jobs in the United States, and that number is expected to increase by about 19 percent over the next few years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that increase has occurred faster than many other professions. As the United States becomes more diverse and companies all over the world work together, interpretation services will become more in demand.

One may think that interpretation is an easy job for anyone who is bilingual. You might be surprised at the skills needed to be a successful interpreter! Accurate and high quality interpretation can be arduous, especially when interpreting in real-time. Interpreters must listen, mentally interpret, and remember the message before speaking to the other person. This multi-tasking skill becomes challenging when the conversation topic is highly technical. In healthcare, for example, the interpreter’s communication accuracy and understanding can mean the difference between life and death.

SpokenHere works with remote interpreters based in more than 80 countries around the world. Each one has a unique perspective and helps to make SpokenHere an even better language services company. To celebrate our remote interpretation team, we are sharing some of their stories. 

Meet Remote Interpreter Giancarlo

Remote Interpretation

Giancarlo lives in Lima, Peru and has been interpreting remotely for over 15 years. He interprets between English and Spanish.

What do you enjoy most about remote interpreting? 

I like helping people understand and communicate with each other, but the flexibility of the scheduling is pretty nice, too. I can put in more hours today, if I want to take some time off tomorrow. I really enjoy what I do.

How has remote interpreting changed since COVID-19?

For me, the main change is that the vast majority of calls are medical and COVID related. Covering certain areas that are harder hit has been rather tough and very emotional. It’s tough to break bad news to someone over the phone, but it’s worse when those persons cannot communicate with each other. That is where we come in and have to hold it together for the well-being of the families and our own well-being, too.

Tell us a brief story about how your interpreting has made an impact on someone or something that has happened while interpreting.

One night I received a 911 call from a frantic Spanish speaking mother. Her child was not breathing and the dispatcher gave instructions to check airways and perform CPR while help was on the way. The child was able to start breathing on his own before the paramedics arrived. The dispatcher was able to use important instructions, which I was able to relay and keep her calm at the same time. We were able, as a team, to save precious time for emergency healthcare. The child ended up being well.

Meet Remote Interpreter Islam

Remote Interpretation

Remote interpreter, Islam, is based in Egypt. He is a biochemist by training, and he interprets between Arabic and English.

What do you enjoy most about interpreting?

I enjoy helping two people who speak different languages and are from different cultures understand and laugh with each other. Because I’m the bridge between them, that is when I realize how similar people can be inside despite their differences outside.

How has remote interpreting changed since COVID-19?

It became more challenging to see first hand how the pandemic is affecting people along with the doctors. On the bright side, I could feel solidarity with them since the pandemic started. Everyone is in the same boat, and we all help each other in hard times, just exactly like we should normally do as humans.

What is your number one tip for people who are new to working with a remote interpreter?

The interpreter is there to make sure that your message is 100 percent delivered on the language level and the emotional level as well. It is important to ensure you direct your speech to the person you are talking to and the interpreter will be sure that you are heard as if there were no language barriers.

Tell us a brief story about how your interpreting has made an impact on someone or something that has happened while interpreting.

I spoke to a spiritual worker in a hospital with a Christian patient. They were talking about how faith is very important during hard times, and they decided to pray together. I interpreted the prayer, then we all said “Amen” at the same time in a spontaneous moment.

The spiritual support worker asked me about the spelling of my name. When I said I-s-l-a-m, the worker was amazed and happy that I interpreted the prayer in the correct way without previous knowledge. They were even happier about the fact that we all prayed together in one moment despite the differences and spaces between us. In that moment, I saw the real value in my job as an interpreter, and it assured me of what I already knew: it doesn’t matter what religion we follow, what matters is how good we are to ourselves and each other. 

Remote Interpreter

Much more than being bilingual

As you can see, the role of an interpreter involves so much more than just speaking two languages. These collaborators provide a necessary bridge between two people, often during sensitive or critical situations, and we couldn’t be prouder of the important work that they do.

SpokenHere’s international team of on-demand remote interpreters is available to help customers connect in more than 200 languages. Our interpreters are sensitive to the nature of the conversations happening in your organization — conversations that truly require patience and understanding.

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