See How Easy It Is to Get a Telephone Interpreter

An interpreter interpreting, a nurse caring for a non-English-speaking patient, and an operator connecting an interpreter to a call

For those of us who live and breathe interpreting services, it can be difficult for us to imagine that there are still a lot of people out there who don’t know a whole lot about what we do.

Most people can picture conference interpreters, or in-person interpretation, especially those who interpret for high-profile individuals like presidents or prime ministers, but over-the-phone interpreting? How does that work?

OPI … is what, exactly?

Let’s start with what it is. Over-the-phone interpreting (telephone interpreting or OPI, for short) is a way for 2 or more people who do not speak the same language to communicate over the telephone. Using teleconferencing technology, a professional interpreter who speaks both English and the target language is used to facilitate a conversation between a non-English-speaking individual and a third-party representative such as a healthcare provider or call center agent.

Using an OPI interpreter is an easy and convenient way to serve your limited English proficient customers. It’s perfect for:

  • Straight-forward, short conversations
  • Contact center environments (utilities, financial services, healthcare, etc.)
  • When time is a factor (ER visits, emergency situations, etc.)
  • When in-person interpretation is not available
  • Cost savings
  • Individuals who do not wish to have another person physically in the room

Related: Interpreter Services: How to Choose the Best Mode of Delivery

How do I access an OPI interpreter?

Even for those of us who are well acclimated to the world of OPI services, it can be difficult to describe exactly what a service like ours looks like for the end user. Not only that, but we have found that when new employees join our team, if they’re not already familiar with interpreting services, they also have trouble understanding the concept initially.

Most OPI processes follow a similar format. An end-user will call a telephone number and either reach a live operator, an IVR system, or an interpreter directly.

In the cases where an end user will reach a live operator, which is the typical way CLI’s clients reach an interpreter, here is the process:

Watch CLI’s telephone interpreting process in action

To further showcase just how easy it is to reach a telephone interpreter, we created a video (below) to demonstrate what a typical interaction looks like between a CLI representative, our clients, and an interpreter.

Here at CLI, we do everything we can to ensure that all of our telephone interpreting sessions go as smoothly as possible.

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