With the number of cases globally surpassing 6 digits, the prospect of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreading throughout the UK is becoming ever more likely. The latest advice from public health England is to avoid close contact with people who are unwell and to maintain good personal hygiene. As an interpreting agency, the role that we play in preventing the spread of coronavirus all comes down to the way that we deliver our outstanding language services.
Here at Word360 we have noticed a 60% increase in telephone interpreting requests since the start of the month, and this is undoubtedly due to increased fears around the spread of the new coronavirus. As per the latest information published by the WHO, the virus is mostly transmitted by coming within 6 feet of an infected individual, so this increase in uptake of our remote interpreting services highlights the proactive attitude held by our NHS.
The Remote Touch
The use of our remote interpreting services – which include telephone interpreting and video interpreting – are helping to win the fight against coronavirus in numerous ways and is being seen as the ideal solution to overcoming language barriers to ensure patients receive the care they need:
- Maintains social distance – limiting the contact with people who are unwell isolates the virus.
- Reduces risk of contamination – avoiding contact with people who may be asymptomatic, but still spreading the virus, is dramatically reduced.
- Increases patient safety – interpreters aren’t bringing other viruses into contact with already ill patients, ensuring patients make a full and quick recovery.
- Immediacy – the use of remote interpreting allows us to deliver outstanding language services instantly, whatever the time, wherever the place meaning possible patients can get the correct diagnosis as soon as possible.
- Meets demand – should the number of diagnosed cases of coronavirus reach similar levels to those experienced in other parts of Europe, both telephone and video interpreting allow for an unlimited number of interpreters to be utilised at any one moment.
Allison Last, from Birmingham Community Healthcare, voiced today that the increased uptake of remote interpreting will not only dramatically reduce the contamination risk by reducing physical contact, but will support government led initiative brought into place this week to help reduce the impact of coronavirus on the UK.
Alison also pointed out that one situation that would benefit massively from remote interpreting, especially telephone interpreting, would be the at home testing of patients. Eventually, health care professionals will inevitably require an interpreter when attending a patient’s home to test for the virus. Telephone interpreting is ideal for such situations as it does not require specialised equipment, but still provides an immediate interpreting service, ensuring the diagnosis goes smoothly.
The limiting of close contact may become necessary in the coming weeks as the fight to contain coronavirus reaches new levels, and the uptake of our remote interpreting services into any infectious diseases cases in hospitals is vital in ensuring that we are victorious in the fight against the virus.
If you would like to know more about remote telephone interpreting and video interpreting or would like to access our instant language services, please contact us on 0121 554 1981 or email
Article correct as of 5th March 2020.
Written by Portia Chauhan