Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Video remote interpreting can be a great alternative to in-person interpreting. But to get the best results from your session, you’ll need to prepare. Here are five ways to make your interpreter’s job easier.
Check Your Internet Connection
Have you ever had the connection break up during a video call? It’s annoying isn’t it? When you work with a video remote interpreter, it’s not only an inconvenience—it can jeopardize your session.
Interpreters need to maintain their focus as they communicate in two languages, and they may lose vital information if the connection is interrupted. And in medical settings, this can be as serious as life or death for a patient.
Most remote interpreting service providers have software you can use to ensure you’re connected to high-speed internet and have a strong bandwidth. Ask them about your options and test your internet connection before you start a video session.
Test Your Audio
Again, good audio will make all the difference. Your interpreter must be able to clearly hear the parties involved to provide an accurate interpretation. If the audio is poor, they may misunderstand and communicate the wrong message.
Test your computer’s built-in microphone or plug one in to ensure your interpreter can hear you clearly.
Create a Quiet Environment
Work environments can get chaotic. I would know. I worked in an open office for years. But again, a noisy background makes it hard for your interpreter to focus.
Do your best to create a quiet environment and minimize distractions. Close your office or conference room door. And ask nearby employees to keep it down.
Be Aware of Camera Placement
Although the interpreter will be repeating what you say, you are still talking to the other person (or people) in the room. You want to maintain eye contact and speak directly to the other party, not the interpreter. That means positioning the camera in a way that allows the interpret to judge facial expressions and body language while minimizing its interference in your conversation.
In a medical scenario, stand next to or behind the camera and look at the patient while you’re speaking. Have the interpreter ask them to speak directly to you, not the interpreter.
In conference settings and other scenarios, the interpreter may be able to offer guidance on where to position the camera for the best outcome.
Brief Your Interpreter
Interpreters are well trained in their area of expertise. But that doesn’t mean they should go in blind.
Before you start, give your interpreter some background on the situation as well as what you plan to discuss. This gives them time to mentally and emotionally prepare. And that’s doubly important in a crisis situation.
Working with a Video Remote Interpreter
Aside from technology, there is no difference between working with an in-person interpreter and a video remote one. The interpreter still serves as a neutral intermediary who helps two parties communicate across two different languages. All of the same skills—verbal, interpersonal, and industry expertise—apply.
However, you will need to go the extra mile to ensure they can perform their role from afar!