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For those of you who do phone interpretation in a daily basis...
Thread poster: Adriana Johnston
Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 27, 2007

Hi everyone! I have being working as a phone interpreter for almost two years now, Some of the advantages is that you make your own hours, it can be fun because you are exposed to different scenerios and you can learn a lot from proffessional like Doctors and Insurance adjustors.

Some disadvantages... uhmm..You only get paid by the minute, sometimes the you just sit there and wait for calls to come in...etc. but overall I have enjoyed my work so far.

The questions I have for those of you who do phone interpreting as a main job are:

What have being your experience as a phone interpreter?
what do you guys think about having to interprete for auto insurance companies and YOU KNOW every thing you said is being recorded, and also those dreading 911 calls!?

Do you know about a company in the USA that pays my the hour or in blocks?


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John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
some Sep 27, 2007

I've done a bit of phone interpreting in the UK, but the rates are considerably lower than for face-to-face so I knocked it on the head. How do rates compare in the US?

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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
I love my job! Sep 27, 2007

adrijohns wrote: What have being your experience as a phone interpreter?
what do you guys think about having to interprete for auto insurance companies and YOU KNOW every thing you said is being recorded, and also those dreading 911 calls!?
Do you know about a company in the USA that pays my the hour or in blocks?

I'm a contract interpreter for the state where I live. What I do is a little bit different than what you do. I interpret during telephone hearings for an appeals court. In order to apply, you must be a federally certified court intepreter, so they pay federal rates. Which means, I get paid by the day or the half day.

The job has many advantages. No commute, I work from home. No huge dry cleaning bills, I don't have to dress up. There's diversity, they have close to 200 judges, so I get to work with many different people. The cases are varied, so the topic is never boring. And in between hearings, I have time to do other things, like translations, or whatever needs to be done at home. I even manage to work out sometimes. On days when I don't work at home, I like to go to court so I don't lose speed on my simultaneous (everything we do on the phone is in the consecutive mode, with some sight too). All the hearings are recorded, and that doesn't bother me a bit, it's no different from working in court where everything goes on the record.

The obvious downside of working at home is not being able to interact with colleagues, but since I still work with the courts every so often, that's not an issue for me.

As far as other companies that do telephone interpretation, I've heard of Language Line and Tele-Intepreters, I don't know if they still exist. I met someone at a workshop who had another line in her home, and it was a nice supplement to her income, she did it in the evenings. I'm interested to hear what other people have to say about this line of work.


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Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
phone interpreting Oct 1, 2007

Thanks, Teju. There is diversity in the work I do too. the calls may be from hospitals, utility companies, insurance carriers, hotels, some international calls, the 911 calls and court calls,( from trustee or small trials are very few.
So, you have to be very prepared and knowledgable because you never what kind of call you'll be

the companies I work for pays a flat rate by the minute, no matter if it is a medical 911 or legal call, and the durations of calls range from seconds to hours.

Can a telephonic company hire someone to work from the USA to UK?


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