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Four Reasons Hiring a Professional Will Grow Your Law Firm’s Client Base

Beginning a new translation project or finding a trusted interpreter for your law firm can be a daunting task. However, both can be key to your firm’s success with a given case or client. You may also be looking at your budget, wondering how translation and interpreting will fit into it and why it is worth spending the money to hire a professional. When looking to make every dollar count, it is important to know what you are receiving when you have your documents, brochures, website, etc. translated. Below is a brief list of what you can expect to get for your money, other than a good quality translation or interpreter.

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1. A growing client base. Having your documents translated gives your law firm the potential to reach a whole new group of clients. Clients who are not native speakers of English are more likely to engage with you as their lawyer if there is material available in their primary language. It is more comfortable for this individual, and as a result, this person feels at ease with your firm, knowing you are making the effort to reach them directly. These clients could easily turn into raving fans based on your help, recommending you to their friends and family.

2. A smoother client experience. When you have certain information translated your clients’ language and can offer an interpreter during meetings, these individuals will have a much easier time understanding the process. This results in fewer conversations and less time spent explaining next steps (or having an interpreter explain next steps if you do not personally speak their language). Every interaction is a cost to your law firm, especially if you have requested an interpreter be present during your meetings, so reducing these interactions with well-written, translated documents could help you avoid unnecessary costs.

3. Happier, loyal clients and rave reviews. If your materials are translated well and your client has an easy time working with you (and/or your interpreter), he or she will remember the experience and will likely call on you (and recommend you!) again.

4. Increased profits year over year (YOY). The initial investment of translating your materials or working with an interpreter may seem costly to some at first. However, the potential for generating a new client base, along with happier, loyal clients you’ve been able to reach will allow you to turn a profit at your firm in the long run. You should be able to see the great return on investment (ROI) in your YOY profits.

Translation and interpreting are fantastic tools for reaching new markets and building a loyal client base. When considering the ROI for translation and interpreting services, be sure to think mid- to long-term for your firm. Although you may not see a profit right away, the investment is well worth the numbers you will see over the years to come as your client base continues to grow and expand, earning your firm more profit all the while.

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!

3 Do’s (and 3 Don’ts) for Working with a Legal Interpreter

As an attorney or paralegal, you may sometimes need the assistance of an interpreter to help facilitate communication between yourself and a client who may speak very little English, or none at all. As clear communication between parties is essential, we’ve compiled a list of our top do’s and don’ts when working with a legal interpreter.

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DO:

· prepare the interpreter (when possible). If you are able to meet with the interpreter in advance (preferred), provide him or her with any relevant information so he or she is able to better prepare for the meeting. Most languages will have multiple acceptable translations for various terms, and if one of these terms comes up in your client meeting, having the case’s context in advance will help the interpreter make the right choice. If you are able to provide reports, transcripts or other materials from your case, this will help your interpreter prepare.

· choose an appropriately specialized interpreter. Legal interpreters are highly skilled for various legal situations, however not all interpreters who handle cases like medical malpractice suits will be as comfortable interpreting for mediation between two business partners in the event of a dispute. This is yet another reason that providing context and information beforehand is key.

· speak slowly, clearly, in relatively short sentences, and in turn. Doing so will help ensure the interpreter does not miss anything you’ve said. Remember, interpreters are listening to everything you’re saying, and they need the chance to say render the message in another language. Speaking for too long at once without stopping can create the risk of something getting quite literally lost in translation. So keep sentences reasonably short, and allow the interpreter and client to finish speaking before moving on.

DON’T

· expect an interpreter to be an attorney. Interpreters ethically cannot go over documents with your client alone, nor can they help explain legal concepts. They are only there to interpret what is said. If you ask an interpreter to sight translate a document for your client, be sure that you are present for this in case of any questions.

· ask an interpreter not to interpret something. An interpreter must interpret everything that is spoken and that the client can hear. To ask an interpreter not to interpret something you say (even if it’s just asking the receptionist for a cup of coffee) is asking them to violate their code of ethics. If you don’t want something interpreted, don’t say it at all. Otherwise, you should assume that everything will be interpreted. This allows everyone in the room to remain on equal footing.

· speak to the interpreter instead of the client directly. Speak to your non-English speaking client just as you would speak to any other. Don’t ask the interpreter, “Can you ask him where he was on Friday?”, for example. Instead, make eye contact with your client and ask, “Could you tell me where you were on Friday?” and allow the interpreter to handle the language component. You should also recommend that your client speak to you directly instead of saying things like “Please tell him this…” or “Ask her that…”

While you may already have experience working with interpreters in the past, it is important to remember that interpreters abide by a code of ethics. They are there to assist you, but in the end, only you can give legal advice or share information beyond what you have the interpreter interpret for your client and vice versa.

The Unsung Roles of Court Interpreters

Court interpreters are vital in ensuring that your Limited English Proficiency (LEP) or non-English speaking clients understand the legal proceedings just as if they spoke English fluently themselves. However, interpreting during proceedings is just part of what court interpreters do each day. Here are 4 things you may not realize about the role of court interpreters.  

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1.     Court interpreters are always learning and improving to maintain the appropriate skillset needed to remain at a highly proficient and professional level in the court setting. Just as language is always evolving, so is the law. Interpreters often take courses and seminars to stay up-to-date in their field of expertise in order to ensure they are providing the best legal interpreting services in and out of the courtrooms. Not only do they need to stay up-to-speed with new legal terms and court procedures, they also need to remain current when it comes to language that may be used by clients within the courtroom, including changes to regional dialects and slang.

2.     There are various methods for court interpreting, depending on the scenario. Most court interpreting is done via simultaneous interpreting. The interpreter may wear a set of headphones with a microphone and interpret in real time for the client, who is also wearing a headset. However, not all courts are equipped with these headsets, and/or the setting may call for consecutive interpreting instead. In this latter scenario, the interpreter waits until the speaker has completed a sentence or thought before he or she begins speaking.

3.     Interpreters often work in teams to avoid fatigue. Interpreting for any length of time can come with mental and physical fatigue. Because of this, team interpreting is an industry standard for proceedings that last longer than 2 hours. This helps prevent being overworked, and alternating between two highly qualified interpreters will help the proceedings move more quickly, efficiently, and accurately—a definite benefit for you and your clients.

4.     They are often asked to do sight reading/translation of documents presented during the trial. The interpreter must then read the document in one language, and recite what it says aloud in another language so that all parties understand what it says.

How has your experience been with court interpreters? If you’ve come across anything in your experience that surprised you when working with an interpreter, we’d love to hear about it! Let us know by leaving a comment!

Do You Know When to Call an Interpreter for Your Next Client Meeting?

Do You Know When to Call an Interpreter for Your Next Client Meeting?

Good, clear communication can be difficult enough to accomplish when you and your client both speak the same language. If your client does not speak English at all or has limited English proficiency (LEP), then the task of communicating during your client meetings is especially problematic. Whether discussing the facts of your client’s potential case or deposing a witness with limited English abilities, it is important to know when to bring in an interpreter. Here are just a few examples of when to call in a professional interpreter to assist you.

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ATS Client Feature: Curry, Roby & Mulvey

ATS Client Feature: Curry, Roby & Mulvey

It's time for our latest ATS Client Feature! Each month we are sharing about some of our favorite translation and interpreting clients. This month we're pleased to feature one of our legal services clients, Curry, Roby & Mulvey. If you're in Ohio and need a great legal counsel, check them out!Curry, Roby & Mulvey is a growing civil litigation law firm serving every county in the State of Ohio.

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