10 Tips for Choosing an Over-the-Phone Interpreting Technology

10 Tips for Choosing an Over-the-Phone Interpreting Technology

Learn the 10 tips for choosing an Over-the-Phone Interpreting technology.

In this article, you will find the 10 tips for choosing an Over-the-Phone interpreting technology that have been identified by the research available at Telemedicine Journal and e-Health.

The COVID-19 effect is still present in different industries, generating impacts that are still unpredictable at the social, health, economic, political and human levels. In this regard, the healthcare area is challenged on several fronts simultaneously. The continuity of remote medical care for citizens from different countries and cultures requires an over-the-phone interpreting technology to guarantee cost efficiency.

1.Minimize the impact of language barriers through a multicultural language services provider

In the United States alone, the number of people who have limited English proficiency (LEP) in reading, writing, speaking or understanding the English language is around 47 million citizens according to U.S. censuses conducted in recent years. In this sense, it is projected that by 2050 the number of LEP people will grow by about 19%, reaching 67 million individuals with difficulties communicating in English.

How do these trends affect the healthcare sector? How can we reduce the barriers that language can raise, limiting the patient-doctor relationship and therefore impacting a correct diagnosis? How can we combat COVID-19 or differentiate this virus from other ailments if there is the impossibility of communicating the symptoms correctly and interpreting them?

The answer to these questions is to contract interpreting services that are at the forefront of digital innovation through the use of over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies and methods that enable on-demand interpretation remotely while ensuring cost optimization. The key issue is decision-making in contracting and a development of the link between healthcare decision-makers and interpretation and translation service providers. From this point of view, guaranteeing the continuity of the service becomes a matter of life and death given the criticality of correct communication without misunderstandings of treatments, medications and follow-up.

Likewise, cost reduction is not only produced in the criteria of the chosen provider, it also helps avoid misunderstandings, may require fewer visits, and tests and claims are guaranteed. In short, optimize costs through an interpretation and translation service provider that uses the latest technologies and ideally has bilingual interpreters.

2.Optimize the availability of over-the-phone interpreting technology and video-remote-interpreting technology as well.

We have highlighted the choice of an interpretation and translation service provider that provides the latest technology as a key feature. Currently, over-the-phone interpreting (OPI) and video remote interpreting (VRI) are the technologies of choice. While there are different types of platforms for cloud-based management of video calls, “These technological developments in video and telephonic interpretation offer communication that more closely resembles a face-to-face encounter with a bilingual clinician or interpreter and allow scarce resources to be used more effectively and efficiently,” according to research published by Telemedicine Journal and e-Health. The first information technologies for care are based on the Telehealth model. Boostlingo has become an excellent technological solution — available and scalable — and partner of Language Solutions Team.

The first technologies were based on telephony. OPI is considered the first generation for Telehealth. Then came the second generation, from the hand of VRI. Boostlingo understands this trend by offering an appropriate and innovative solution.

“VRI via the Boostlingo platform provides on demand support for the top fifteen (15) most common languages including American Sign Language (ASL). Additional VRI languages are available for pre-scheduled appointments. Boostlingo is the ideal format for professional real-time language access. Your clients will be connected via high-definition broadcast quality video in their interpreting sessions and supported by professionally certified, VRI trained and qualified interpreters at low per-minute rates.”

3.Implement over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies and ensure constant accessibility to interpretation services

During COVID-19 and even in times of lockdowns, connectivity is fundamental, hand-in-hand with stable and scalable over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies. The impact of both variables, the need for remote care with the best technical possibility to achieve it, makes it possible for physicians to “easily access telephone interpretation services from the patient bedside or exam room using a cell phone with quality speakers.”

Likewise, VRI “provides the rapid access of telephone interpretation, but also allows visual communication, more closely resembling face-to-face interpretation.” Boostlingo has developed a solution that eliminates the requirement to purchase or rent hardware or equipment that requires installation.

4. Eliminate inefficiencies to reduce hidden costs as well

OPI and VRI reduce system and daily management inefficiencies that would result in higher costs, usually hidden under a simple evaluation. According to Telemedicine Journal and e-Health research, the main costs are interpreter travel time and travel costs.

Furthermore, VRI guarantees, as a new technical generation, the elimination of communication barriers that OPI may entail, such as para-gestural language. It also guarantees success in interpretation through American Sign Language (ASL).  We can say that one of the main advantages of VRI is that “Videoconferencing allows interpreters to spend more time interpreting and less time walking and waiting.”

5. Obtain high levels of quality to reduce hidden costs of claims

Studies over time have identified that patients are more comfortable with face-to-face interpreting services. The emergence of COVID 19 has imposed a new normal whereby remote interpreting methods are of utmost necessity to ensure correct medical care regardless of cultural differences between doctor and patient, while respecting the existing COVID 19-protocols.

Since the development of better devices and solutions, quality levels are no longer a negative argument when comparing face-to-face versus remote interpreting. In studies in recent years, “Patient satisfaction and quality of interpretation was improved with use of a dual handset phone and remote simultaneous medical interpretation in which interpretation occurs simultaneously with original speech. Videoconferencing technologies were tested in clinical trials in California, where they were well received by patients, providers, and interpreters. In mental health settings too, patients and providers were highly satisfied with video interpretation.”

Another key factor for the incorporation of OPI and VRI is to change the old habit of patients who use family and friends to translate the physician’s instructions. This practice should be reduced, according to the research presented in this article, given that “poor translation quality, patient privacy, or ethical considerations especially when minor children are asked to interpret for their parents or if abuse or domestic violence is suspected.”

6. Choose your multilingual solutions provider based on an over-the-phone interpreting technology and its training for maximum effectiveness

Achieving effectiveness in any type of interpreting services, whether the service is provided face-to-face or remotely via over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies, requires social, linguistic and technical knowledge. We can add to this knowledge, skills to train physicians in the use of these new techniques.

In this regard, research in recent years confirms that “training physicians to work effectively with interpreters by speaking in short, clear sentences and avoiding medical jargon also improves communication and increases time available for patients to ask questions or make statements.”


 7. Encryption will help you maintain the required levels of confidentiality

In medical practice, it is extremely important to maintain certain standards of professional practice. And part of those standards are professional secrecy and the principle of confidentiality. How can one safeguard patients’ private information by incorporating over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies? To ensure confidentiality, telehealth medicine video and telephone devices must use encryption processes. Calls may not be recorded required for regulatory compliance confidence.

8. Use the Internet for what it is: the world’s great library and archive

Another study carried out by The International Journal of Translation and Interpreting Research shows the importance of the Internet in knowledge management.  Research on new technologies, solutions, suppliers, is available at the click of a button. The expansion of the Internet “has dramatically transformed the ability to share information, experience, materials, and technical expertise, thus reducing the time and cost that organizations must spend “reinventing the wheel” when seeking to initiate or expand their language services. “

9. Eliminate value judgments and search objectively

Over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies have not always enjoyed the acceptance that has been achieved during the transition to the new normal. A decade ago, we were faced with “usually unsubstantiated” myths and stereotypes about the quality or usefulness of the inclusion of over-the-phone and video-remote-interpreting technologies in Telehealth and Telemedicine. Research in this field has been undermined, not only theoretically but also methodologically. How does this issue relate to the cost variable? Well, without progress in research and testing of innovations, we will have fewer options, and a lower level of competitiveness will be achieved among the players offering the solution.

10. Compare prices, but choose with an eye on functionality, scalability and learning curve

In short, the last point leads us to review the variables that we have exposed together with some useful recommendations to select any software. It is important to have online interpretation and translation services available, especially in the healthcare area, and particularly in the United States where a large portion of the population speaks other languages. It is also important to choose bilingual providers, with knowledge of multicultural contexts and technically prepared to offer state-of-the-art services and technology. But it is essential to ensure accurate communications between patients and physicians, especially in this new normal. The cost-quality ratio benefits from OPI and VRI interpretation services. At Language Solution Team, we work with Boostlingo to provide the full power of our international interpreters and a scalable and stable technological solution.


Hugo Rizzi

CEO at Language Solutions Team

Laura Aguirre

Marketing Manager at Language Solutions Team

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