Interpreters require a personal approach

Achieving excellence in interpreting – Part 1: Overcoming challenges

There are many intricacies and demands involved in the delivery of interpreting services, particularly in sectors such as healthcare, where a high level of subject matter expertise is required, along with a sensitive approach to what could be delicate topics of discussion.

As a result, businesses and organisations using interpreting services want to know that their chosen partner can provide the resources and skills required to do the job well.

One of the most effective ways to determine this is by looking at how the interpreting service provider has overcome significant challenges in the past.

Common challenges in interpreting

Interpreters often find themselves working in fairly busy environments, where they face the difficult task of ensuring a clear understanding of what the speaker is saying and relaying that message to the recipient.

Often, the job of understanding what a person is saying involves not only having a strong technical grasp of the language in question, but being aware of factors such as cultural context, regional dialects and different modes of expression.

It's not uncommon – particularly in sectors such as healthcare – for interpreters to be put to work on uniquely demanding assignments at the last minute. With little time to prepare, this requires the language professional to rely on the skills and experience they have acquired throughout their working life to get the job done.

Language Connect has had first-hand experience of some of the distinct demands and requirements that can make effective interpreting such a challenge.

In our healthcare business in the UK, for example, we have to be prepared for the possibility of receiving any kind of request, at any time of the day or night. Our work with the NHS has previously required us to find interpreters with the ability to converse in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, and Edo, which hails from a state in Nigeria and is only spoken by a relatively small proportion of the population of that country.

Operating in the healthcare sector also raises the challenge of subject matter expertise, with interpreters often required to have experience and a certain level of understanding of specialist subjects, such as mental health.

Finding the solutions

The experience Language Connect has gained in the delivery of interpreting services means we now have various resources and processes we can call upon in order to deliver the best possible results for our clients.

In the previously mentioned cases where Khmer and Edo interpreters were required for NHS assignments, we were able to use the strong connections we have built up with local communities and associations to find someone to complete these jobs. In both instances, we were able to source an interpreter in a short time frame and deliver the end result the client was looking for.

When these kinds of unusual requests come in, having links with local groups representing different nationalities can prove extremely valuable.

As far as the subject matter expertise of our linguists is concerned, Language Connect places a big emphasis on finding the right person for the job. This is particularly important in fields such as mental health or social services – where specialist knowledge or a sensitive, well-informed approach is likely to be required.

One of the methods we use to guarantee a high standard of professionalism is a rigorous recruitment process. This begins with evaluating the individual's CV to ensure our minimum requirements are being met, but also includes a testing phase that evaluates the applicant's performance in a mock interpreting scenario.

In cases where we require an interpreter to specialise in a particular subject, we also look for proof of the candidate's knowledge and qualifications in that area.

The combination of a reliable base of language professionals and strong links with community groups and associations has enabled Language Connect to deliver some excellent results to clients in need of interpreting services.

Our core principles and professional expectations ensure that our interpreters are always able to meet certain standards, regardless of the challenges they face.


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