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Getting started in phone interpreting:which equipment do I need?
Thread poster: italia

italia  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Italian to German
+ ...
Nov 14, 2004

Dear all
I am planning to offer phone interpreting from next year on but am a bit unsure as regards the right equipment (which type of phone would you recomend and what about the headset?)
A girlfrined of mine, uses a very simple headset I am not very convinced of...
TIA for all your comments!!!
Have a nice Sunday....

[Edited at 2004-11-14 09:55]

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Omar Osman
Local time: 01:46
English to Somali
+ ...
Normal phone Nov 14, 2004

I do telephone interpreting on a daily basis. I use a normal handset (digital). I am registered with companies that provide the service, they take care of everything else including the three-way connection between you, the client and the non-English speaker (in my case I interpret from English into Italian, English into Somali or vice versa). As far as I know you just wait for the call and start interpreting consecutively or at hock as required by the client. They normally pay by the minute. Hope it helps.

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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Recomendations Nov 14, 2004

I have been doing telephonic interpretation from my home for a about a year. Before I had this job, I had done telephonic interpretation from a federal court, with their own equipment. When I started, I asked a friend of mine, who had been doing the same job for 17 years, what equipment he preferred. This is what he recommended,and I really like it:

Plantronics Vista (amplifier) Model No. M12 P/N 43596-01
Plantronics Encore NC Binaural Ultra Headset Model No. H101N
P/N 43467-01

I've attached a couple of websites where you can order it, but there are many other places where you can buy it on the net. I think I paid $180.00 USD for both things. The amplifier allows you to raise the volume so you can hear better, and it also has a volume control for how people hear you. It has a mute button (very important for coughing, clearing your throat, or yelling at your kid), and another button so that you may switch from using your phone with the regular handset, to the headset. The headset covers both ears, which I like better because it blocks out any background noise, it's very lightweight, something important when you do long interpretations, and it has a microphone that you can adjust in front (I don't like the type of mikes that hang from your neck, I don't think people can hear you well with those).
The phone itself is not that important, what's important are the amplifier and the headset. I bought a mid price phone that suits my needs. Since this private line is only for business, I wanted something that had caller ID and an answering machine. It's up to you. One thing, make sure you do not have call waiting, or you will hear the click when another call is trying to come in. The appeal hearings that I do over the phone are recorded, and they asked me not to have call waiting for that reason, it's disruptive.
Also, I don't recommend cordless equipment, no matter how good they say they are, they don't compare to the sound quality of the others. Plus, the cordless are much more expensive. Mine has a long cord, so if I need to get up to get a dictionary, I can do it.

I hope I was able to help you. My feeling is that any Plantronics amplifier and headset will be a good purchase, they are the best for this type of work. I know several colleagues who use it. You can write again if you still have questions.
Good luck!

Plantronics Cordless Headset Phone - Plantronics CT10 - TWAcomm. ...
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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:46
French to English
Headset Nov 14, 2004

I also do phone interpreting and I have the phone system on this page:

I find it extremely useful because I have both hands free to take notes and look up terms, if necessary. I couldn't imagine having to hold the handset while taking notes.

I would strongly recommend getting a headset.


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italia  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Italian to German
+ ...
Thanx to everyone Nov 15, 2004

Thanx to everyone, I'll hhave a look around and will probably get a Plantronics headset:)))
Happy interpreting to everyone:)))

[Edited at 2004-11-15 15:29]

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Svetlana Ball  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:46
English to Russian
+ ...
suggestions Jul 19, 2007

I have read the previous responses and I am very greatful for all the information out there. However, it has been three years since the last response was posted and some of the info is outdated. I am looking for advice on phones to be used for telephonic interpreteing.

The telephone I have now (Plantronics CT10) is on its last leg and unfortunately has been discontinued.

Are there any other suggestions?


Svetlana BVall

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