There are many forms of interpreting and contrary to popular belief, it is a difficult job.
The definition of interpreting is quite literally ‘to explain or tell the meaning of’. In the context of the profession, however, it is described as the unrehearsed translation of one language into another.
This is true regardless of whether a job is in person, over the phone or on a video call. Medical interpreting carries additional responsibilities as the accuracy of the interpretation might be crucial to determining how a patient will be treated.
Word360’s interpreting department deals with hundreds of interpreting requests on a daily basis. The team are the linchpin of the organisation, liaising with linguists and clients daily and are in a perfect position to receive invaluable feedback from both sides.
Whilst interpreters are accustomed to the technical requirements of the role, they may sometime overlook the service delivery aspect of the role. We have distilled the valuable insight provided to our interpreting teams into 4 actionable tips you can use every day so that you are offering the best customer service to your clients that demonstrates your professionalism as a linguist.
1. Always be on time
We understand. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK and traffic can be difficult to manage at the best of times. But being on time can be the difference between a successful booking and a missed one. Here is how you can always be 10 minutes early for every appointment:
- Check Wordskii for booking updates – do this by either visiting our portal on www.wordskii.com or on the app (if you don’t have the app yet you can download it either from google play or the apple app store)
- Plan your journey – As they say Google is your best friend. Google Maps not only shows you how long it takes to get to a particular location, but also if there are any traffic jams, road works or public transport delays that will affect you. This information is particularly handy when going to a new location.
- Let members of staff know you are there – Here are two ways you can do this: when you are at a home visit you should wait outside the house. This way home visitors will be able to see you and invite you in. If a booking is going to take place at a hospital it is best to let the receptionist know you have arrived. You will then be called once the booking is underway.
Not sure if you are going to make it on time? Then give us a call on 0121 554 1981 and we would advise you on the best way to proceed. You should also get in touch with us if no one has contacted you within 15 minutes of the start of the booking.
2. Start with an Introduction
By now you have noticed that we do telephone interpreting differently these days. The automated system will only provide you with a language before placing you in a call with little to no context. Some might find this confusing and be unsure as to how to proceed.
Here is our suggestion: lead the conversation by introducing yourself. This way everyone in the call will know that the interpreting request has been accepted and will be prompted to provide you with more information.
For example, ‘Hi, I’m Ana and I am your Spanish interpreter for this call. Please can you give me some information on this session so that I can interpret for you effectively.’
3. Remain impartial to the conversation
In some cases, this might be easier said than done. Accurately translating information from one language to another without changing the meaning is the easy part, but trying not to give your opinion, even when you may not agree with the direction of the conversation; that is where the true skill of an interpreter comes in.
But we are here to support you. Some assignments can be distressing and upsetting. Please call our team if you feel uncomfortable about a booking. We are here to ensure that you feel safe and secure in your role and can escalate concerns on your behalf.
Doctors and nurses will often search for answers to specific questions that will help them determine the correct course of treatment for each patient. It is vital that they receive truthful and accurate answers as if they are talking directly to the patient. This will allow them to achieve the best possible outcome.
There are occasions when patients and service users try to engage in personal conversations with interpreters. It is the responsibility of the interpreter to keep a professional attitude at all assignments and not to become too friendly or conduct private conversations with patients that are not being encouraged by the client.
4. You have five days to submit your timesheets
Timesheets are your proof that you have completed a booking. They validate your presence at a booking but with new Data protection laws coming into effect in May 2018, they make you liable for the information on them.
Timesheets contain sensitive patient information and in the wrong hands, can be used illegally. Therefore, it is essential that all timesheets are held securely at all times.
We have a 5 day submission rule to ensure that you are able to process your timesheets quickly and effectively after which securely dispose of them.
You can do this in two ways. If you have a paper timesheet you can scan it or take a picture of it with your phone. The image can then be uploaded on Wordskii through the portal.
Once a paper timesheet has been submitted it must be stored at a secure location for a period of 3 months. After the period is up you can dispose of it by shredding it.
Digital timesheets can easily be submitted through the Wordskii app. All you have to do is press submit once a member of staff has completed it.
5. Bonus: We are always here to help
If you are unsure of how the Wordskii app works or if you don’t know whether or not you are going to make it on time give us a call. We are here to help.
What is your way of handling bookings? Share it with us firstname.lastname@example.org