Person signing interpret in the background with a white box with the words

May 11, 2022 4:00:00 AM | interpreting How to Use Interpreting Effectively

How to use interpreting effectively and in what situations to use video interpreting, phone interpreting or on-site interpreting.

The language industry has grown so much over the last couple of decades. Interpreters are everywhere it seems. They are on TV, in the classroom, at meetings, and even at concerts. When I started interpreting no one knew what a Sign Language Interpreter was! I had to explain it to them and then they still thought it was a nice hobby.

Once, you only had two choices, an Interpreter or get a translation. If you wanted a translation you had to provide the document in person or by mail to the Translator. Now, the choices seem endless.

Let’s talk about a few of the choices and the best places to use them.

In-person Interpreting:

This is for Sign Language or foreign languages. This can be any place but definitely is best for children, mental health, highly technical, highly emotional, end of life, surgical, situations where life and liberty are threatened, when people have low vision, and with people who have cognitive issues.

Video Remote Interpreting/Video Interpreting:

For both Sign Language and foreign language, this can be any place (with the exceptions above) with a stable internet connection. Why would you use this with foreign language Interpreters? The consumer could have a hearing loss and may need to lipread the Interpreter. Additionally, allowing the Interpreter to see the facial expressions and body language of the speaker will make for a clearer interpretation. Video interpreting is useful in areas where there are no Interpreters such as rural communities, or at times when businesses are unable to secure an in-person Interpreter. It is also useful for places like prisons and jails where it is difficult to bring an Interpreter into a secure facility.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting/Phone Interpreting:

This is of course for foreign language Interpreting. This can be used in any place except those listed above for on-site interpreting. It is useful for areas where no Interpreter is available or when a consumer shows up speaking a language that is rare and perhaps no one in the surrounding area is available who speaks that language. The ability to use a phone and access Interpreters from a large network of Interpreters gives you the ability to have hundreds of languages available to you quickly and easily. Put the Interpreter on speaker and you are ready to have an interaction.


Never before has it been easier to have documents translated. Email and Dropbox technology allow large files to be transmitted quickly. Having your information translated into another language so that you can communicate with another community is now so simple. Companies can tell you what the common languages are in your area and you can communicate to communities in their language to improve service to diverse populations. This has proven to bring in new business and improve relations.

Considerations when choosing a translation & interpreting agency

Now the easiest way to do this is to choose a company that does all of this under one roof, like Global Interpreting Services. No matter what service you choose, we are able to assist you. You can move seamlessly between the services because you work within one company. We do not outsource our Sign Language Interpreters because we started as a Sign Language Interpreter company first. Adding foreign language Interpreters as an additional service later gave us an upper hand.

Working in the field of Sign Language Interpreting is more complex. There are more laws to be aware of and fewer Interpreters to work with. Establishing ourselves in that field first and becoming experts there, then moving on to the field of foreign language interpreting and translating has made us a well-rounded company. We are the only one of our kind in Michigan to be focused on Sign Language first and then add foreign language Interpreters.

Next, you want a company that has expertise. We have an eLearning platform launching in the summer of 2022 that will be providing unique training opportunities. Having the ability to work within the same company and have eLearning opportunities is just an added benefit.

30 years ago organizations didn’t have all of these choices. We had pagers on our belts and everyone wanted caller ID on their landlines. Now everyone has cell phones and I don’t think anyone has a landline…do they? Maybe someone does somewhere… Don’t fall behind on the times, work with a company that has everything you need (and doesn’t require you to buy or rent special equipment!) That is what you will find with Global Interpreting.

Dawn Flanigan

Written By: Dawn Flanigan