To no surprise, English is the most commonly spoken language across the US, while Spanish is the second most common in 46 states and the District of Columbia, with 40.5 million speakers as of 2016. So what about the other wide variety of languages? Not everyone in the United States speaks only English and Spanish, right? 

While many people who speak a foreign language also speak English very well, 8% of the United States population (25.1 million) is considered limited-English proficient. What this means is that they speak English less than “very well” and will most likely require some sort of interpretation services when needing to communicate important information. Fortunately, for this population, and the organizations and businesses that serve them, there are language interpretation services that make communication available within seconds. 

US languages

Every year, the US Census Bureau conducts their American Community Survey where they ask more than 1 million Americans questions about their lives, families, and backgrounds. One question in particular: “What language do you speak in your home?” Below are the languages spoken in homes (in no order) in the US besides English and Spanish including an estimated number of speakers: 

 

  • Aleut-Eskimo languages are spoken in 1 state (Alaska), 23,665 speakers. 
  • Somali is spoken in 1 state (Minnesota) ,160,940 speakers. 
  • Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Sioux languages are spoken in 1 state (South Dakota), 17,023 speakers.
  • Gujarati is spoken in 1 state (New Jersey), 419,964 speakers
  • Ilocano is spoken in 1 state (Hawaii), 92,955 speakers
  • Hmong is spoken in 1 state (Wisconsin), 232,161 speakers
  • Nepali is spoken in 1 state (Nebraska), 202,218 speakers
  • Pennsylvania Dutch is spoken in 1 state (Pennsylvania), 179,336 speakers
  • Polish is spoken in 1 state (Illinois), 512,332 speakers
  • Tagalog is spoken in 2 states (California and Nevada),  1,753,712 speakers
  • French or Haitian Creole is spoken in 2 states (Florida & Delaware), 900,596 speakers
  • Navajo is spoken in 2 states (New Mexico & Arizona), 166,856 speakers
  • Arabic is spoken in 3 states (West Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan), 1,229,949 speakers
  • Korean is spoken in 3 states (Virginia, Alabama, Georgia), 1,104,145 speakers
  • Portuguese is spoken in 3 states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island), 763,340 speakers
  • Chinese is spoken in 5 states (New York, Washington, Arkansas, Missouri, Utah), 2,155,939 speakers
  • Vietnamese is spoken in 6 states (Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kansas, Iowa, Mississippi), 1,527,371 speakers
  • French is spoken in 6 states (Louisiana, North Carolina, Maryland, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire), 1,184,736 speakers
  • German is spoken in 9 states (Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina), 905,326 speakers

It’s interesting, right? It’s not so often you would have someone walk into your hospital speaking Aleut languages, but believe it or not, it DOES happen. So what do you do in a situation like this? You result to interpreting. Thanks to Boostlingo, we offer video interpretation services that enable communication within minutes.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) is when you use a specialized video interpreting software to provide sign language or spoken language interpreting services through a remote (offsite) interpreter. More recently, video remote interpreting has become a more useful technological advancement that has not only impacted, but has benefited many specific industries.

Imagine having both a visual and audio connection to experienced and credentialed interpreters, from anywhere across the US, to help you and your LEP patients. The process sounds extremely easy, right? It is. VRI brings a different type of platform to users. It enables interpreters to deliver a personalized interpreting session without geographic limitations.

Over the years, VRI has come to the rescue for many people. It has brought countless benefits to different industries. Today, we’ll be sharing some of those benefits and how VRI works in different industries.

What Is VRI?

To start, it helps to have a clear understanding of what video interpreting is before understanding how it can benefit different situations. Video remote interpreters typically translate “on the fly,” or in real-time. It’s pretty simple, if you’re caught in a situation where you need an interpreter right away, VRIs are at your service within minutes without having to travel anywhere. These interpreters typically work for a freelance company waiting to be called to interpret. They’ll sign into the portal and wait for a job. In addition to translating language, some may also translate into sign language.

VRI helps public-facing organizations comply with standards that demand they provide interpreters.

How Does the Process Work?

Within minutes and with the touch of a button, the service provider can find someone who speaks the language needed and can interpret for them and their clients. Most often, the individual interpreting will appear on a screen. They can also see and hear you. It’s kind of like a Skype call where the interpreter Skypes in. This enables having a good connection, and relationship with both parties.

Now, let’s look at some of the industries who benefit from using VRI in their offices.

Healthcare

The healthcare sector is where VRI is used and needed more than anything. Quite often, individuals with limited knowledge of English, or deaf individuals, will come into a hospital or small clinic in need of medical care, but are unable to explain what is wrong or what their symptoms are. Those who do not speak English well may be people who are visiting relatives in the United States or people who live in the US permanently and have not yet become proficient enough for a conversation of this level.

However, it’s a doctor’s job to treat all of their patients who come through their doors equally, and to the best of their ability. A doctor can only rely so much on nonverbal cues, or can only check for so many symptoms without getting the communication they really need to assess what is wrong. Likewise, a patient needs to know what a doctor is instructing, what instructions a doctor is giving, what medication their providing, or what the next steps are that they want to take. Being unaware of what is happening, especially if it involves needles or any other type of procedure, can be a very scary experience for someone who has no idea what is going on because they cannot understand.

Additionally, those coping with long term health issues need to be clear on what is happening and the doctor’s plan of action. As such, a VRI interpreter steps in to solve all of these communication issues. A VRI can literally be a lifesaver in any one of these situations.

The Legal Sector

By law, anyone in the United States who will be going on trial for an offense with limited English has the right to have an interpreter. This service is even more necessary in immigration hearings.While some immigration matters are seen in more courthouses than others, some courthouses may employ interpreters on staff, however, that option isn’t always practical.

So while a court may hear several immigration matters a day, they may rarely hear someone who is either deaf or who speaks a lesser spoken language. Imagine hearing cases all day, then having a case when you’re least expecting come in from another country to have their case heard. Any language that you aren’t used to hearing is extremely difficult to learn. As such, by having the ability to connect with a VRI that speaks any language, saves the day again.

Technology

If anything is always changing, it is technology. Technology is rapidly expanding by the day, and new things are invented and implemented constantly at such a swift pace. Technology is often a product of teamwork, and that teamwork is a partnership that is working around the globe. Companies may have inventors in the United States, working with companies in Japan or Germany, all working to do the same thing but none speaking the same language.  If you’re working on the same thing, you’ll likely have to speak to one another at some point, right? With VRI, you can facilitate virtual meetings. And, if you ever do collaborate in person, VRI can ensure that all of your complex ideas get across to one another so that your project is created to be the best in can be, and so that everyone is on the same page.

As you can see, it is incredibly essential for some sectors, as it is necessary to get ideas across both rapidly and accurately. If you’re interested in using VRI technology for your business or public service, take a look at the VRI services we offer. Here at Boostlingo, we have qualified and professional interpreters ready and waiting to help you understand others in your field.

Jasmin has been doing training sessions for interpreters with Boostlingo for over a year now and we have loved every minute of it!

Jasmin Gerwien, who is a resident of Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada, has been a professional freelance Arabic interpreter for more than 20 years and is well-versed in all major Arabic dialects. She attended a private multicultural school since she was 4 years old, which gave her valuable exposure and experience with various Arabic dialects. She has also traveled extensively and lived in several countries, which instilled in her a passion for languages and culture.

Jasmin is well-recognized by her clients for her competence, professionalism and performance in interpreting in legal, medical, immigration among other sectors to provide the highest degree of accuracy.

She has received a number of testimonials and training certificates from her clients as well as Language Service Companies in the United States and Canada. She is one of the first interpreters to perform OPI (over the phone) interpreting services for the family court system in the state of Illinois, and has expanded her legal interpretation expertise across the United States.

Because her clientele require the utmost accuracy, Jasmin has been well-trained in legal terminology to ensure that her interpretations always reflect the most accurate meaning and intent.

She is also a member of the Alberta Court Interpreters Association (ACIA), and takes a lot of pride in being a highly qualified interpreter, trainer, cultural advisor and advocate for LEPs (Limited English Persons). She is a strong believer in an LEP’s right to a skilled interpreter.

Her love of interpreting and dedication to the LEP community demonstrates her beliefs that “being bilingual doesn’t make us skilled interpreters. To qualify as a skilled interpreter, we must follow and live by the Code of Ethics rules and interpreter’s protocols. It takes ongoing training, studying, constant research, and keeping up with the latest trends in the language industry and the evolving terminology.”

Apart from being a professional interpreter, Jasmin enjoys working as a trainer for Boostlingo as well as other language organizations. She trains interpreters of all languages through Webinars, Skype, and over the phone. She also coaches interpreters one on one. Her training materials consist of topics such as: Code of Ethics, Interpreter Protocols, Remote Interpreting Etiquette (both OPI and VRI), and how to become a skilled court interpreter.

We are very excited to have Jasmin Gerwien provide training for us! Her passion for interpreting and helping others truly shines during her training sessions with us, and we are very grateful for her passion, knowledge, and expertise, which has helped guide and inspire other interpreters.

jasmin

To reach Jasmin, please email her at [email protected] or call her at 780-887-8133

Today, not all video interpretation services are created the same. Some offer more services than other, but when choosing the one that will best match your needs, some may not know where to begin.  

Interpretation services are an important piece of quality medical care, the legal process and multinational business. The interpretation services provider you partner with dictates what kind of services you’ll be able to provide to your clients.

So which one should you choose? To be honest, it’s not that easy to sift through this large group of companies in an industry that is largely unknown to most people.  However, there are ways to streamline the decision making process.

If you’re wondering how to find the best in-person or video interpretation services, this article is for you. We’ll explain what you should look for in an interpreter and help you get started with on-call interpretation services. Potential language service clients should consider the following when searching for an interpretation provider:

 

Reputation

 

Video interpretation services has become more popular over the years, especially for people who live in rural areas. Because video interpreting is such an important role, it’s important to research their reputation beforehand.

How long have they been in business? IF you decide to go for a new company, that’s okay, but in general, you’re looking for a tried-and-true interpretation service that has had much success in the past. If you contact the interpretation company, they should be able to provide you with customer reviews and examples of their work. Be sure you look for reviews! Reviews are from real people that were in real situations with this company you’re considering in hiring.

Another thing to research, is to look for interpretation companies that specialize in the subject you need interpreted. If you’re looking for a medical interpreter, look for a company that specializes in medical terminology. Legal interpreting, on the other hand, requires a completely different set of vocabulary.

 

Qualification

 

When you’re looking for video interpretation, you should look for interpreters who are accredited and you want to make sure you’re getting the best service possible. When searching, When considering an interpreter, you should always ask if the interpreters adhere to the Interpreters Code of Ethics. This is extremely important as your personal information should always remain confidential and you should feel comfortable with your interpreter.

Another thing to look for is to see if they are qualified and know the culture of the language they’re interpreting. If you’re Deaf, you need to find an interpreter who is going to make eye contact and use body language. If you are only fluent in one language, you need to find an interpreter who knows the ins, outs, culture and knows how to speak that language properly.

Your interpreter should interpret exactly what is being said and not add any commentary. An experienced interpreter is trained to translate people’s speech in real time.

 

Technology

 

Around the world, interpretation skills are in high demand and that’s because of technology.  With the advent of advanced video technology, interpreters have the ability to work in different situations all around the world. The market for interpreters is expected to grow by more than 25% in the next several years. So, when you’re looking for a professional interpreter, you should look to see if they are up to date with technology. How fast is their internet connection? Can they guarantee a secure connection? Another technology qualification should be that your professional interpreter should be able to give you easy-pay options and online scheduling.

Once again, do your research. Some companies you look into may not even offer video interpretation, or the option to book their services in advance. Video interpretation was made to be convenient and easy, so be sure to find an interpreter that will allow you to plan ahead and make sure that they’re available for teleconferences in the future.

Another question to ask your interpretation company is if the internet connection fails, can the interpreter login by phone? It’s worth double checking your connection before an important conference.

 

Quality

 

Once you’ve found a video interpretation company, you’ll get a good sense of the quality of their work. This industry demands high-quality, professional interpretation services. A great interpreter is ethical, experienced, and knowledgeable.  A strong interpretation agency should hold its linguists to high standards when it comes to accreditation and experience, while also remaining in conformity with state and federal law. It’s okay to give your interpreter feedback. If they’re talking too fast and you’d like them to repeat a phrase, don’t hesitate to ask. Interpreters want you to feel happy with the services they provide, and a good interpreter should expect this.

 

How to Get Started with Video Interpretation Services

 

This process can be overwhelming, but we do have a few tips on how to get started on your search.

  • Ask for a demo session. If you can test drive several interpreters you’re more likely to find one who works well with you.
  • Get to know them beforehand. If you don’t have a chance to meet the interpreters, ask that they log on about 15 minutes before your conference starts. That way, you can meet them and get to know their background.

You might not find the right interpreter for you right away, but don’t give up! You’ll find a qualified professional who’s ready to help you with any situation. If you’re in need of a video interpreter, check out what we offer at Boostlingo. We work with healthcare, legal and judicial as well as corporate industries.