If you’re reading this, you’ve probably recognized the importance of not letting language differences get in your way of being understood over the telephone. In this day and age, language barriers are easy to overcome with the proper resources, so there is just no need for them to be an issue.  Over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) service providers can be your resource for when you need to make a phone call with someone who speaks a different language. However, there are many factors you should consider before partnering with a company that provides OPI.

How easy is it to gain access to an interpreter?

When comparing OPI service providers, it is essential to find out how easy it is to access their interpreters. Do you have to call a different number for each individual language? Does it take long to connect to an interpreter? A good OPI company will make connecting to their telephone interpreters as easy as possible by only using one phone number for all the languages they interpret and the wait time will be well under a minute.

How far in advance do I need to schedule an OPI?

Sometimes it is completely possible to schedule an OPI well in advance. However, for the times when a last minute call is needed or if you forget to make an appointment, it is very nice to know that you can just pick up the phone and make the call without prior scheduling. When reviewing OPI companies, make sure that they can take calls without an appointment. Also, find out the hours they are available; a great company will be open for calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After all, when you make a phone call with someone who speaks a foreign language, they could be in a different time zone so you want to make sure there is someone available to interpret at all times.

Is there a required subscription?

One of the more frustrating things about some OPI service providers is their subscription or minimum monthly usage requirement. If you subscribe and pay a specific amount per month and don’t use their service, you will still be billed. Even worse, you could be charged a cancelation fee if you choose to discontinue their service. A translation company confident in their abilities will not need to rely on a subscription-based pricing model and instead will bill you per minute beginning when the interpreter joins the call.

What about my confidential or sensitive information?

There could be times when there is private or sensitive information that needs to be relayed over the phone. In these cases it is crucial to know that your interpreter is bound to a confidentiality agreement. Depending on the type of information, it may even be wise to make sure that the translator is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. Making sure your OPI service is bound to such strict privacy standards will protect you as well as the person with whom you are speaking.

 

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