Help in quoting a long-term telephone interp. job
Thread poster: Sandra Alboum

Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 2, 2005

Hi.

A previous client has returned to me for new work!

He has asked me to provide a quote on telephone interpreting services for bi-weekly conference calls involving 10-15 people each one. The job would last over three years (yay!). The topic is one that I am somewhat familiar with, and could be easily researched. He has also said he would be able to provide me with the agenda for the calls with good advance notice. Of the 10-15 people involved in the call, maybe 4 or 5 would be monolingual and need the interpretation, but unfortunately, they'd be on both ends of the call, and not in the same office.

He has indicated that the calls will last between 45 and 75 minutes each (but that wouldn't include time for interpretation, which I figure and noted to him would probably double the number to 90 - 150 minutes). He would prefer one person (me) to do the interpretation. I have told him that I'm not sure I would be able to do that amount of work all by myself.

Just to note: my usual technique is to transcribe the conversation, more or less, and then sight translate (which is quite easy for me).

In any case, I'm wondering how to quote him this job. What would be some items I'd want to take into consideration? Items that I'd want to point out to him?

Any help, suggestions, or assistance (especially from telephone specialists) would be appreciated.

Thanks.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Transcribe? Dec 3, 2005

It would not seem at all feasible to transcribe the conversation. It would appear that you would be doing simultaneous interpretation for the people involved on the spot. Also, there would have to be a way to do this for the people at the other end, perhaps through a second phone line connected to where they are (how else?).

An hourly rate for each engagement would seem to be appropriate because there would surely be no way to tell how long each call would last, or how many there will be. That would be either for you or a top-notch substitute who would fill in when needed.

You could quote the hourly rate.


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Kevin Kelly  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:48
Member (2005)
Russian to English
+ ...
Agree with Henry Dec 3, 2005

I would definitely advise proposing an hourly rate.

If by transcribing the conversation you mean taking notes and then interpreting from them (in consecutive mode), that should work. However, it is not advisable to even try to capture literally everything that is said. The most effective approach is to use note-taking techniques especially tailored to this kind of interpretation.

Also, some interpreters are beginning to use hand-held digital recorders to perform interpretation that is actually a mix of consecutive and simultaneous. You record the utterance (of virtually any length) and when the time comes for you to interpret it you play back the passage and interpret it simultaneously. The listener on the other end will only hear your interpretation, not the replay coming from your recorder. There are digital recorders available that allow you to do this seamlessly.

An advantage of this system is that it allows you to first listen to the passage (as it is being recorded), then listen to it again as you interpret it. Of course, this approach will only work if you are comfortable with simultaneous interpretation. And all parties must be informed that the conversation is being recorded. They might not give their consent to this, or they may insist on assurances that the recording will be erased immediately after the conference call.

Just some thoughts...


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Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's an interesting idea Dec 3, 2005

Hi Kevin,

The recorder is an interesting idea. Do you know if there are ones that work with telephones? The problem is that I am going to be in my office, my client (and other people) at my client's office, and then a whole batch of people in another office abroad. The people needing translation (interpretation) may be split between the my client's office and the office abroad, which means that everything will be done via the phone.

Another consideration is that if I do something like that (and I like simultaneous MUCH more than consec!), there's NO way I could do 2 hours of it. (I know my limits.)

One thought I just had would be to propose that there are actually 2 interpreters (one on the DC end, one of the foreign end). So let's assume that there are four people in DC and four people abroad. Of the people in DC, 2 are bilingual, 2 are monolingual English. Of the people abroad, 2 are bilingual, 2 are monolingual Spanish. The DC people would speak English throughout the call. The people abroad would speak Spanish. So that means that when DC is talking, all 4 DC people understand and 2 of the foreign guys do, too. And when the office abroad responds in Spanish, everyone there would understand and 2 people in DC would, too.

So we get me in DC and another interpreter in the other country. When DC is speaking, I'm mute. The interpreter in the other country is interpreting for the benefit of the 2 people there who don't speak English. And then the other country responds in Spanish. I interpret on the receiving end for the two people in DC who don't speak Spanish.

But this could be done simultaneously, and thus interfere MUCH less with the flow and length of the call.

Any ideas?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Logistics Dec 3, 2005

If you can figure out good logistics for this one it might put a real feather in your cap. The idea of an interpreter at either end is of course a good one, but with a proper phone hookup and perhaps earphones on site it could be done from one end by one person (or team) and thus the business would be all yours. Everything said would be rendered in both languages so people could listen to the one they need.

Simultaneous is much faster than consecutive intepretation but it is difficult and rather tiring. I'd recommend a team of two and switching off and helping one another with difficulaties, etc.

I think proper logistics and arrangements are the key to pulling it off. If I were you, I would not even think of consecutive, go simultaneous all the way.

You might even want to set up a dummy situation with several people involved to see how it works and get it down, and invest in some inexpensive wired headphones and amplifier. The people on the other end could also obtain the same or perhaps listen in on phone extensions.

I've worked a lot of conferences where people go back and forth all the time, and it requires agility by the interpreter and also by participants who alternate between the headphones and listening directly. After a few minutes everyone is used to it and it works!


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:48
English to Polish
+ ...
A phone system Dec 3, 2005

Look for appropriate teleconferencing system. When I worked at Ericsson site I used to take part in teleconferences with people from 7 offices in 6 countries attending. However we all spoke English.


Perhaps you can ivestigate this further: "There is also specialized telephone interpreting equipment in successful use by the federal courts and state courts in Idaho and Florida"

http://www.wicourts.gov/about/pubs/supreme/docs/interpreterreport.pdf

I guess your customer should install it provided it has required functionality. Otherwise you need two phone lines and a swich that enable you to direct each language to appropriate listeners. And your customers must be very disciplined not to speak two languages at once. Otherwise two interpreters are required.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
I also know... Dec 3, 2005

I also personally know and have extensively worked with the persons who designed the phone interpreting system for the U.S. Courts.

If it would be of any help, send me a private "emilio" and I'll be glad to put you in contact with them.


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