What Are You Paying For When You Pay For Language Services?
You have a need to communicate with people who speak a different spoken language than you. You need effective communication because this is important. It’s a healthcare issue, or a legal one, maybe the two of you need to sign important paperwork, enter into a contract, or you need to inform the other party of their rights and responsibilities. Without professional language services, people who speak limited English will not have equal access to your services and you will not be able to serve them.
What are your choices regarding hiring interpreting and/or translation? First, the spoken word is interpreted, and the written word is translated. These are two different skills. Many professionals are trained in one or the other, and many specialize in specific areas such as healthcare, court, or conference interpreting.
If what you need is a spoken language interpreter, you’ll want to ask yourself some questions. Do I need an interpreter who has specialized in a particular area?
There are certified or qualified healthcare interpreters, state or federally certified court interpreters, and certified conference interpreters.
You can find a nationally certified medical interpreters list at
Each state has a listing of approved court interpreters. These interpreters are an excellent choice for legal matters such as depositions. Here is a link for the Kentucky list:
Do I need an interpreter where a conversation will take place and each person, including the interpreter, will take turns speaking? This is called consecutive interpreting. Most sessions with an interpreter are done this way.
Do I need an interpreter where the speaker won’t be interrupted? That is called simultaneous interpreting. You see this most often in court and for conferences/presentations.
There are many ways to access an interpreter. An interpreter can be scheduled to come to you. This is called onsite interpreting. It is charged by the hour with the industry standard of a 2-hour minimum. You may need to call and tell a limited-English proficient person something. Your best bet would be to use phone interpreting, which is charged by the minute, sometimes with a minimum of 2, 5, or 15 minutes.
Video interpreting is an option when all prefer to see visual cues. It may be charged by the minute or sometimes by the hour. If you are planning a conference with a multilingual audience, remote simultaneous interpreting has impressive technology to ensure that everyone can participate in their preferred language.
Watch the following video prepared for the Kentucky Refugee and Immigrant Inclusion Summit in June 2022 in Lexington, KY, for more in-depth information on providing interpreting and translation.
Access Passcode: ly*AKzH2
You can click on the link above or the logo below to access the recording.