Joining the dots: delivering remote language services, differently and reactively, through a pandemic

May 5, 2020

The past few months have been hard for everyone. With the loss of onsite language services and large scale cancellation of events across the world, the language industry has been hard hit. However, many service providers and interpreters are rising to the challenge and delivering their services in new and different ways despite, and in spite of, the Covid-19 pandemic. 

So, we thought it might be nice to share some of the good news over the coming weeks. 

Never has our motto “delivering interpreting differently” felt more apt! Many are being forced to make drastic changes to service delivery methods and models to continue to do business. We have clients who have historically delivered 90% of their business face-to-face currently racing to move to remote interpreting solutions, while also ensuring they are continuing to work with their same body of interpreters. Maintaining loyalty to the freelance interpreter community has always been important to us, especially right now. Other clients have reconfigured existing services with a little lateral thinking. We’re working with all the major online meeting platforms (Zoom,  Bluejeans, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, Adobe Connect, etc.) and telephone to deliver offsite services. 

It’s not just about delivering services differently, but also delivering services reactively. In order to make an impact we’re looking at a roll out time of days not months. This is not the time for building services from the ground up.

The One You initiative is a nationwide campaign, run by Public Health England, which provides health counseling to the community. Patients are helped to make positive lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, become more active, lose weight and eat healthily by health coaches who meet with clients one to one. We have been providing telephone interpreting services to One You Leeds for the past few years. All health coaches have access to our interpreting services, and online booking system, enabling them to have an interpreter join any sessions via conference phone. 

When the health crisis hit, community health programmes were initially forced to shut. Demand did not disappear, in fact many have used lockdown to get more stuck into health changes than ever before! Motivated to continue delivering their services, and adhering to social distancing measures, many coaches have successfully moved to sessions conducted on the phone. 

Thanks to the flexibility of our service platform we were able to react and provide an interpreter on an additional line within days. Our straightforward solution has seen a health coach and client meet over the phone and conference in a professional interpreter. Health coaches and interpreters are remaining gainfully employed, while also ensuring the community (irrespective of their language) can continue to access the help they need.

Beyond the health crisis

rAs the world works remotely, the ways we communicate and do business will have undoubtedly changed forever. None of us know what the future will look like, but we can’t ignore the astronomical rise in video conferencing that will continue to shape how we do business far beyond the health crisis. In a few short months Zoom has become so ubiquitous with meeting online, it’s practically a verb!

There is currently an appetite to try new interpreting delivery methods. Not only because it is essential in many aspects, but because we’re all figuring it out together. All in it together. Figuring it out for the long haul. 

If you’re struggling to figure out how remote interpreting could work for your clients, or you’re unsure the best way to approach a particular challenge, please do reach out to us. Chances are we may have already delivered a similar service. And if not, we love a challenge. Challenging assignments are the centre of our business and our reputation for delivering on tricky services precedes us. In this time of crisis, we want to do everything we can to help any language agency and professional interpreter to continue to provide their services. 

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