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Onsite Interpreting
Onsite interpreting is considered to be the more traditional form of interpreting as it takes place when an interpreter is physically present.

The Benefits of Using an Onsite Interpreter

Because the interpreter is present at the interpreting venue s/he can use visual cues when interpreting what people are saying. These include gestures and facial expressions that are being used when a conversation is taking place. This means a more accurate interpretation is likely to take place. Unlike online or phone interpretations when the interpreter has to guess what the actual environment is. There is rarely any interruption when onsite interpreting is taking place. Interpreters play a key role in the global business environment. They improve communication onsite by passing on information accurately from one language to a second language.

Types of Onsite Interpreting

Onsite interpreting can take place in three ways. These are consecutive, simultaneous and whispering interpreting.
Consecutive interpreting is the process when the interpreter and the source language speaker take in turns listening and speaking. The interpreter makes notes when the source-language speaker is talking. When the speaker has finished the interpreter will relay the spoken words in the targeted language.
Simultaneous interpreting is a little different as it is when the source language speaker talks continuously and the onsite interpreter puts across the spoken words simultaneously in the targeted language.
A soundproofed booth is required if many languages need to be interpreted simultaneously. On-site interpreters should always be well prepared to interpret but they are also expected to have good subject knowledge and a good understanding of the industry technology that needs to be understood and used. In both situations, the interpreter has to be quick off the mark when engaging in either consecutive ort simultaneous interpreting.
When whispering interpreting is required this is when the interpreter sits or stands in close proximity to the person requiring interpretings such as a delegate to a conference or business meeting or an overseas visitor who wants interpreting with him/her all the time.
The interpreter whispers the message spoken and interprets it accurately to the client. If the person wishes to reply these spoken words will be interpreted by a second interpreter to the recipient. Because true whispering can be barely heard the interpreter talks softly just by lowering his/her voice so that others nearby are not disturbed.

When an Onsite Interpreter should be used:

  • Interpreting in a court, which is where simultaneous interpreting is the norm
  • When interviews are being conducted with young children and those who are suffering from either poor hearing or mental illness. Young children gain from having an on-site interpreter who can translate at the right level. Also elderly people with declining hearing or abilities typically gain from the presence of an on-site interpreter physically
  • A medical setting is one of the commonest when it comes to the need for interpreting services for patients who have limited proficiency in English. In the USA the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures that American patients who do not have a good command of English receive meaningful medical care when required. This means they often require help with communication
  • When a healthcare worker sees that a conversation will be discussing a serious diagnosis, or a deteriorating medical condition
  • When there is background noise present such as at a large gathering so a remote interpreter will not be able to hear everything that is said
  • in cases where a traumatic injury has taken place the victim may have difficulty with communication so an onsite interpreter has a better chance of conveying information than trying to use a phone interpreter
  • in educational environments where visual and written materials are frequently distributed in a medical context to educate people on health matters they should know about
  • at international business meetings and conferences

How to Arrange the Site for an On-site Interpreter

The group should sit in a triangle and the interpreter should be seated at the apex.  You and the individual you are communicating with should sit opposite each one another so that you can keep in eye contact.

How to Book an On-site Interpreter

Today most translation and interpreting services can provide an on-site interpreter through their network of interpreters based throughout the world. Some companies even have apps that can be downloaded making the booking much more straightforward with instant responses to a request.
A personal on-site interpreter can be provided for international business events, trade fairs and tourist activities where there is a multitude of language speakers present. There is typically a simple planning, booking, and payment process in place so that you can keep track of your requirements including the name and details of the on-site interpreter you have booked.
Common situations where an on-site interpreter can be booked online through a reputable interpreter and translation business:

  • Interpreting for personal travel requirements
  • Personal interpretation
  • On-site language assistance and interpretation
  • On-site medical facility and hospital interpretation
  • On-demand interpreting
  • Courtroom on-site interpretation
  • Conference interpreting
  • Business meeting on-site interpretation

Overall, on-site interpreting increases engagement increases the participation of those with limited language abilities and offers better communication between those that find it is vital to put across a message first hand rather than using less personal phone interpreting.