How to organize a phone interpreting
Thread poster: Dmitri Platonov

Dmitri Platonov
Local time: 02:58
German to Russian
+ ...
Nov 10, 2008

Dear colleagues!
I need your advice in how to organize a phone interpreting technically.
Two parties and me are in three different towns.
It will be my first interpreting via the phone and I don't know much about this kind of job.
Does anybody have experience with Skype? Mobile phone?
I have a broadband Internet-connection, but I don't have a landlineicon_smile.gif
I've found this topic but it is for landline-users, I suppose.

Thank you!


Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:58
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Skype connects four parties in a conference for free Nov 10, 2008

and more -- for money

do not use video -- the quality will degrade


Óscar Delgado Gosálvez  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:58
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Use a 2-line phone Nov 11, 2008

Hi Dimitri,

My humble advice:

Use a 2-line phone
Use a skype or any other (VOIP provider) adapter and hook it to the 2nd line.

If you don't have any landline at all, you can use either skype's conference feature. I personally have Net2phone, which also allows for the conference feature. Since I do have a landline, the equipment I use is an innomedia adapter, which converts the LAN signal to one or two regular landlines.

In any case, my advise would be to:

Call the 1st party,
put it on hold, pressing the 2nd line button.
Call the 2nd party,
Press the "Conf"(Conference) button
and you will have all three parties (the third party being yourself) connected.
Instruct the other two parties:
-to speak in short sentences
- to stop when you say a certain cue like "hold it, please"
- to proceed when you say "please, proceed".

Do a regular consecutive translation.

The big difference with a regular consecutive translation will be the sound quality and the impossibility to see each other, you won't be able to make the speakers stop unless they are used to do this kind of translation or you instruct them to do it beforehand.

I have done this only a couple a times and it went fine, but I did it strictly consecutive.
Sometimes both parties would speak at the same time, so you will be pretty much the director of the show, allowing for the directions of your main client (discuss it before you even start the conference call).

I wouldn't try to do simultaneous translation, because your translation will probably disturb the thoughts of the party speaking.

Most Panasonic phones (the brand I have) have a jack for wired earphones and microphone.

Then figure out a way to bill for the whole thing.

[Edited at 2008-11-11 04:21]


Natalia Potashnik  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:58
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
2-way phone connection Nov 13, 2008

Hi Dimitri,
This is how it works. You are not supposed to pay for the phone call. So the technical part is the responsibility of your client. Your client ( the one who needs your interpreting services) must have a phone that allows a 2-way connection. The client calls you first, then keeping you on the line he/she dials the number of the other party, so all 3 of you are on the phone at the same time.

it is better to have a landline for phone interpreting. Mobile phones can have background noise. Remember that you need to hear both parties well in order to do your job. You cannot ask them to repeat what they just said all the time. I don't know about Skype. Never used it for phone interpreting.


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