Do I have to get an Interpreter? I don't want to get an interpreter. Why do I have to get an Interpreter? I’m not getting an Interpreter! These things have been said in our many years of business.
You should get an Interpreter…we won’t bring any law into this decision-making discussion, though there are laws that dictate whether you should get an Interpreter or not. Here are seven reasons why getting a professional Interpreter or translator just makes sense.
You and the other person do not speak the same language
If you only understand one language and the other person only understands another language but one person in the room understands both those languages…who do you think controls the flow of information in the room? Do you think it would be better if that person was a professional Interpreter who had training and was bound by an oath not to interject their personal opinion, to keep all information confidential? (Amongst other things.)
Using the wrong person in the role of the Interpreter can easily put you or the consumer in a position where they are not able to control their own decisions.
What you says has merit
If you feel what you’re saying is important and that the person you are telling it to should fully understand all of the words and intent behind your message, then you should hire a professional interpreter. You cannot guarantee the abilities of a friend or family member, or staff member, to convey all that you are saying…or that they will do it truthfully.
You spent time and money on a campaign to get a point across
Are there people in a certain area who speak a certain language who would benefit from the information you are conveying? Would you benefit if they had the knowledge you are giving? Translating sales information, promotional material, or public service material benefits everyone.
Someone making a decision that involves their life or liberty
If a person is making a decision that could have a lasting effect on their life or freedom, or that could end their life, it is absolutely necessary to have a professional Interpreter. Interpreters have no emotional attachment to the person and can assist with difficult conversations.
Time is Money
Do you write legibly? If you intend on writing back and forth consider the time it takes to do so and the business you can conduct in the meantime. Interpreters have a cost, but they also allow you to conduct business in a more traditional time frame. Time is money!
I’m not a doctor's office or an attorney, do I have to provide an Interpreter?
Yes. All places of “Public Accommodation” must provide interpreting services for the Deaf. You “should” provide interpreting services for people who do not speak English for other reasons stated here. There may be tax incentives for providing accommodations for people who do not speak English or who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Talk to your tax preparer for more information about what you qualify for
I will use Google Translate!
Have you tried putting a statement into Google Translate, translating it into another language, and then translating back into English? Do it just for fun, but don’t do an easy sentence, that isn’t fair. I bet the things you want to be translated aren’t simple sentences. Put a simple but complex sentence in Google Translate and see what happens. You can also search for “Google Translate funny translations” and see what has been translated. Any computer program will not be able to translate idioms, intent, jargon, or slang. The human element is missing from a computer that is so necessary for Translation and Interpretation. When we have a translation, we have a human do it and then another human proofread it.
These are just a few reasons you should get an Interpreter or Translator that has nothing to do with the law, they just have good ole fashioned common sense behind them.