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On-Site or Remote Interpreting: Which is the Best Fit for Your Law Firm?

If your law firm has been marketing to or attracting speakers of another language, you’ve likely wondered what your best options would be for the most seamless communication method. Communicating with your clients via a professional legal interpreter is a great way to break an existing communication barrier. Here are some options if you are in need of oral interpretation. Remember, you may decide that you need to choose more than one option to fit your interactions with these clients.

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On-Site Interpretation. This type of service offering is probably the most commonly sought in our industry. Interpreters are hired to perform this service in person at the time of an arranged appointment or meeting where an LEP (Limited English Proficient) individual or group of people is present and requires an interpreter. Once the interpreter arrives and meets the LEP individual, she will explain to all those involved that she will interpret everything that is said during the meeting.

Telephonic Interpreting. Another very effective form of interpreting, telephonic interpreters are hired when your law firm may not need an interpreter on-site or when certain languages are required that are rarely spoken in a geographic area, among other reasons. You may need telephonic interpreting for short, simple communications and quick interactions like scheduling a future appointment or noting information for a later meeting.

Video Remote Interpreting. Another type of remote interpreting, video remote interpreting (VRI) is often used for sign language interactions, as telephonic services would not be effective. It is also becoming more popular in other language pairs. You will need to have video conferencing equipment, or at the very least, a webcam, speakers and a microphone. You and the LEP individual will be able to see the interpreter and she will listen to you through a headset.

Have you used an interpreter before? If so, what interpreting methods have worked well for you? Which would you like to see utilized within your law firm if you do not already have one of these services available? Let us know!