Advances in technology have made video remote interpreting (VRI) more popular—and accessible—than ever. Although VRI has existed since the 1990s, it took the rise of mobile communication in the late 2000s for this “new” interpretation method to take off. Finally, video calls were possible without downloading expensive software, which opened up a new world of interpreting. 

 

With VRI, clients could connect with an interpreter in minutes. They no longer needed to schedule appointments in advance, nor did they need to pay for transportation costs. However, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that VRI would become a vital part of how people communicate across language barriers. 

 

In this article, we take a look at three of the biggest VRI trends in our post-pandemic world. 

 

VRI in Healthcare

 

Prior to the pandemic, healthcare providers used VRI primarily in hospitals and emergency rooms. This made communicating with deaf and limited English proficiency (LEP) patients faster and easier, as they no longer needed to wait for an onsite interpreter. 

 

While VRI is still commonly used in those settings, much of its growth is due to the rise of telehealth. When healthcare providers began encouraging patients to schedule virtual appointments, it resulted in a 50% increase in VRI use. And as patients become more comfortable using telehealth platforms, it will only continue grow.  

 

VRI in the Courtroom     

 

The adoption of VRI had been slower in the legal field. While over 50% of hearing that required an interpreter in Florida involved VRI in 2019, this wasn’t the norm throughout the U.S. However, as the pandemic forced courtrooms around the country to close their doors, they still needed a way to ensure justice was served. So, judges, lawyers, and other legal professionals turned to virtual communications.

 

As a result, many jurisdictions discovered that virtual hearings are actually more efficient for certain types of cases. That means the use of VRI in the courtroom is likely to continue to rise long after the pandemic ends.    

 

VRI in Business 

 

It’s no secret that the pandemic brought global business travel to a halt. Suddenly, corporate meetings and events went from in-person to online, and Zoom became part of the zeitgeist. However, traditional video conference platforms offered an imperfect solution when it came to interpreting. 

 

To meet the need for interpreting services, VRI platforms such as Boostlingo made it possible to integrate with Zoom and other video conference platforms. The result? Companies discovered that many types of meetings can be conducted just as effectively online. 

Boostlingo and VRI

 

As you can see, VRI represents the future of interpreting. That’s why we’re always working to improve our platform to better serve our clients. From telehealth to Zoom integrations, we’ve adapted to meet the changing needs of the interpreting industry. 

 

Best of all, the Boostlingo platform is fast and easy to use. All you need is a high-speed internet connection and a computer, tablet or smartphone with a webcam. 

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today! 

 

 

 

Construction Interpreters

Immigrants have always made up a large percentage of the U.S. construction industry, and that’s no less true today. As of 2016, they accounted for nearly 25% of the overall construction workforce and 30% of the trades. In states such as California and Texas, the number of non-native workers rises to over 40%.

 

While their backgrounds and country of origin vary, limited English proficiency (LEP) is one thing many of them have in common. And that’s where construction interpreters come in.

 

Immigrants in the Construction Industry

 

Before we delve into how construction interpreters can improve workplace efficiency and safety, let’s get to know the workforce a little better.

 

Immigrants work at all levels in the construction industry—from unskilled laborers to master tradespersons. However, the concentration of immigrants is especially high in trades that are needed to build homes. The trades with the greatest percentage of immigrants include:

 

  • Plasters and stucco masons (54%)
  • Drywall installers, ceiling installers, and tapers (49%)
  • Painters and paperhangers (48%)
  • Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers (46%)

 

The large number of immigrants in these trades is due, in part, to native-born workers leaving the industry after the economic recovery in 2016. Yet despite the need for immigrant labor, language barriers pose a significant problem for construction companies.

 

The Role of Construction Interpreters   

 

Although it may seem more cost-efficient to rely on bilingual workers to communicate with their LEP colleagues, there are several reasons why construction companies shouldn’t.

 

First and foremost, construction interpreters have been trained in interpreting best practices and industry terms. Bilingual workers don’t have a background in interpreting and may not know all the terminology they need in both languages. That means they may misinterpret instructions or safety requirements.

 

Additionally, bilingual workers may leave out information, believing that it isn’t important to translate. This can lead to costly errors that set projects back and even result in dangerous workplace accidents. A construction interpreter, on the other hand, will accurately convey instructions without editorializing them.

 

Last, but not least, construction interpreters can assist when a workplace accident occurs. Regardless of how well workers follow safety instructions, accidents happen. When they do, workers need to be able to communicate exactly what happened for liability purposes. OSHA requirements cover all workers, and LEP speakers need to know their rights in a given scenario.

 

How Boostlingo Can Help

 

Given the importance of construction interpreters, you may be wondering how you can hire one. Fortunately, the Boostlingo interpreting platform makes it easy to connect with one on-demand either over the phone or via video remote. You can even schedule onsite appointments in advance. Plus, you’ll gain access to our Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) of interpreters who speak over 200 languages. All you need to get started is an internet connection and a computer or tablet with a webcam for video calls.

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today!

 

Note Taking Tips

Interpreting requires a good memory. But no matter how strong yours is, it’s still easy to forget important details. And that’s especially true when you need to interpret larger chunks of speech. Fortunately, there are plenty of note-taking methods that can help you recall details and dialog.

While there’s no right way to take note, here are five strategies to try.

 

  1. Use theSubject, Verb, Object” (SVO) method.

 

Write down the subject, verb, and object of the first sentence in descending order, diagonally to the right. Then separate each new sentence or topic with a horizontal line.

 

This will help you remember the main parts of a sentence and their hierarchical relationship to each other.

 

  1. Write down keywords and abbreviations.

 

Instead of writing full sentences, jot down keywords and phrases that will jog your memory.

 

If you do need to write down a complete thought, use abbreviations where possible. To avoid confusion, write the first and last letters of the word. For example, “computer” can be abbreviated as “comptr”.

 

  1. Write down key vocabulary or terms in order.

 

By writing down the most important terms in order, you’ll have a visual timeline of the dialog. This helps you connect them back to smaller details and can even help you recall difficult vocabulary.

 

You can also try checking each term off as you say it. This will help guide you through the sentence and help ensure you don’t forget anything.

 

  1. Draw pictures and symbols.

 

Doodling can improve your memory, so feel free to sketch out some images as you listen.

 

You can also use symbols to signify the meaning of different words and phrases. For example, you can underline a word to indicate emphasis or draw a line through a word to indicate negation.

 

5 Group main ideas and supporting ideas.

 

Using keywords, write down the main idea of each topic as you hear it. Then write down keywords for the supporting points. Draw arrows to connect the ideas according to the flow of dialog. Think of it as “mind mapping” for interpreters.

 

More Note-Taking Resources for Interpreters

 

If you want a more detailed look at note-taking, check out:

You can test out these techniques at home by interpreting podcasts or videos as you listen. And remember, developing a note-taking strategy that works for you takes trial and error, and of course, practice.

Have any note taking tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Background Checks

In the U.S., interpreters are typically classified as independent contractors. But that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from undergoing a background check before accepting assignments. While the laws around background checks vary by state, here are some general guidelines.

 

Background Checks for Medical Interpreters

 

To apply for a medical interpreter role, you’ll need to submit a resume, current CEU transcript, and your certification or equivalent qualification.

 

Before you’re hired, you must agree in writing to undergo a criminal background check. This includes checking arrest records, convictions of felonies and misdemeanors, warrants, and incarceration records. It doesn’t include credit history or financial records.

 

To run the background check, you may need to make arrangements with a third-party organization. Other medical facilities have a designated provider and will submit your information. You’ll likely need to pay a small fee ($10 – $20) for a statewide background check.

 

You must also provide vaccination records for Mumps, Measles, Rubella, Chicken pox (Varicella), Pertussis, and Hepatitis B, and undergo a Tuberculosis screening.

 

Some medical facilities will ask you to take a drug test.

 

Background Checks for Court Interpreters

 

To apply for a court interpreter role, the process will vary slightly based on whether it’s for a State or Federal court. Both State and Federal courts may ask for a resume, current CEU transcript, and your certification or equivalent qualification. However, the background check you undergo will differ.

 

Federal Courts

 

As of May 16, 2005, Federal courts require all contractors—including interpreters—to undergo a fingerprint background check. This is a nationwide criminal background check that’s performed by the FBI.

 

The FBI will collate all arrests, felonies, and serious misdemeanors. The report may also include some financial information such as credit reports. However, it rarely includes moving violations or small fines.

 

Fingerprint background checks cost around $90 and must be renewed every two years.

 

State Courts

 

State courts typically conduct a statewide background check. (See the medical interpreter section for details.) You may also need a fingerprint clearance card.

 

Background Check for Other Interpreters

 

If you work in a field other than medical or legal, the background check will depend on the federal, state, and the organization’s requirements.

 

In addition to criminal records, some background checks include credit reports, your financial history, and work history. Some organizations may also request references.

 

If you work around children, you’ll need to undergo a federal background check.

 

Final Tips on Background Checks

 

Although background checks sound scary, you likely have nothing to worry about. However, if you want to know what potential clients will see, you can run a background check on yourself.

 

Keep in mind that if you do have a criminal record, it won’t automatically disqualify you from being hired. Most employers will give you the opportunity to explain the situation and demonstrate how you’ve redeemed yourself.

 

And remember, clients must always ask you to submit authorization for a background check in writing before they conduct one!

financial

Becoming financially literate is difficult—even for English speakers. It requires learning industry-specific terms, understanding financial products, and navigating complex regulations. However, it can be nearly impossible for limited English proficiency (LEP) speakers, unless they have access to information in their native language. Fortunately, remote interpreting options makes it easier than ever to better serve LEP consumers’ needs.

 

The Growing Multicultural Market

 

Before we dive into the benefits of remote interpreting, let’s get to know this growing market segment. Today, nearly 22% of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, up from 11% in 1980. And their purchasing power is on the rise. As of 2019, Asian Americans represent a $1 trillion market, up 267% since 2000. Meanwhile, Hispanic Americans make up a $1.5 trillion market—making them the largest and second fastest growing minority market in the country.

 

Yet despite their increasing wealth, many LEP speakers still don’t enjoy the benefits of

banking, lines of credit, and loans. This is due, in part, to cultural differences around banking and finance. In fact, countries as diverse as China, India, Nigeria, and Mexico all have large populations without a bank account.

 

Common Barriers to Financial Inclusion

 

Educating LEP speakers about financial services is the first step toward inclusion. But that requires providing educational materials and documents in their native language as well as assistance from someone who speaks it. That also extends to completing applications and resolving issues once they become customers.

 

While bilingual representatives and onsite interpreters can help, they may not always be available. When that’s the case, customers may need to wait for extended periods of time. Or they may be forced to struggle through a conversation in English. And these negative experiences hurt client satisfaction.

 

The Benefits of Remote Interpreting 

 

With remote interpreting, customers no longer need to wait. Thanks to over-the-phone (OPI) and video remote interpreting (VRI), you can always connect with an interpreter in minutes. Plus, remote interpreting makes it possible to help customers who need assistance:

 

  • In a less common language. Remote interpreting services aren’t limited to Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and other major world languages.
  • Over the phone. As more people bank online or over the phone, OPI has become as essential as onsite interpreting.
  • Outside business hours. Remote interpreters accept calls outside standard business hours.

 

Best of all, you’ll improve customer acquisition, satisfaction, and retention—regardless of the language someone speaks.

 

How Boostlingo Can Help

 

With Boostlingo’s interpreting platform, you can quickly connect with an interpreter over-the-phone, via video remote, or schedule onsite appointments. All you need is an internet connect and a computer or tablet for video calls. Plus, you’ll get access to our network of professional interpreters who speak over 200 languages.

 

Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Contact us today to start your free trial!