Frequently Asked Questions:


What is the difference between interpretation and translation?

Interpretation is verbal. An interpreter listens to a speaker of one language and restates what they heard in another language. Translation is written. Translators take written text and transform it into another language.


On-Site Interpreting FAQ

How do I request an on-site interpreter?

Clients request on-site interpreters through Vocalink’s secure, online Tracker system or by calling  877.492.7754.

What information will I need to provide when making a request?

When requesting an on-site interpreter, Vocalink Global needs the following information:

  • The language needed,
  • Identifying information for the individual who needs interpreting service, like client/patient name or a record ID number,
  • The date and time of the appointment;
  • The location of the appointment, including the name of the business, the building address, and the location within the building (for example: Caring Hospital, 1234 Street, City, State, Zip, Oncology Department, 3rd floor),
  • A contact name and phone number,
  • The type of appointment (medical, court, public service, human resources, etc.).

Other helpful details to provide include a description of the appointment, any special requests or needs, and an alternate contact name/phone number.

How much notice do I need to give to schedule a face-to-face interpreter?

We always strive to fill your interpreting needs, even for immediate and same-day requests. Of course, the more notice you give us, the better we are able to serve you. Typically, we ask for 24-hour notice, whenever possible.

What if I need a face-to-face interpreter right away?

If you need an interpreter for an emergency, we will do our best to provide one as quickly as possible. When you cannot wait, we can connect you with a highly-qualified telephone interpreter in over 250 languages in just seconds. The phone interpreter can assist you until the on-site interpreter arrives or throughout the entire emergency.

Are your interpreters trained and assessed in industry terminology?

Vocalink Global has developed a comprehensive Language Proficiency Assessment process that includes written and verbal language assessment for terminology in a variety of industries, such as medical interpreting and court interpreting. All interpreters must complete an accredited, 40-hour interpreter training course, as well as annual continuing education courses.

Will we receive a confirmation that an interpreter has been assigned?

Vocalink Global’s secure, web-based interpreting management system, Tracker, keeps you up-to-date at every step of the scheduling process. You will receive emails for the initial entry, confirmation of an interpreter, changes, and cancellations.

How do you guarantee confidentiality?

Our linguists are held to a strict Code of Ethics and recognized professional standards, which includes strict compliance with the confidentiality of client information. In addition, our interpreters are trained upon hire and annually on HIPAA requirements. Finally, our interpreters must attest, in writing, every year to their compliance with HIPAA, the interpreter Code of Ethics, and Vocalink Global’s Confidentiality Policy.

What is the difference between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting?

Consecutive interpreters will only interpret after you have completed a thought. The information is then relayed to the non-English speaker by the interpreter. This type of interpreting is common for events such as depositions and medical appointments. Simultaneous interpreting is a continuous mode of communication by the interpreter while you are speaking. This mode of interpreting is standard for business, conferences and legal encounters.

Do you provide certified on-site interpreters?

Certification types vary by state and type of interpreting. Vocalink Global ensures that a qualified, professional interpreter with the necessary credentials to meet your needs is assigned to your appointment(s).

What types of assignments do you support?

Vocalink Global provides interpreters in a variety of settings, such as: medical, court cases, depositions, arbitration and mediation, insurance statements, social service visits, mental health assessments, industrial site tours, employee training, and industry conferences.


Over-the-Phone Interpreting FAQ

What is over-the-phone interpreting?

Over-the-phone interpreting is a quick and easy way to access interpreters in more than 250 languages. Using a phone equipped with a speaker function or special, dual-handset phones, the interpreter facilitates communication between an English-speaker and non-English speaker.

Do I have to schedule over-the-phone interpreting appointments?

No. The benefit of having access to OPI is that there is no need to schedule the calls. Interpreters are available all year round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How will I be charged for over-the-phone interpreting?

OPI is charged per minute. There are no minimums. Pay only for the minutes used.

How long does it take to reach a phone interpreter?

On average, you will be connected to an interpreter in under 22 seconds. For more rare languages, connect times may be a bit longer, but almost never more than 90 seconds.

Can over-the-phone interpreting be used to connect speakers in different locations?

When the English-speaker and non-English speaker are not in the same location, a three-way call with a phone interpreter is an excellent solution. You can use your own conference call technology to conference in a phone interpreter, or you can ask a phone interpreter to contact the non-English speaker (an additional fee may apply for this service).

Where are over-the-phone interpreters located?

Over-the-phone interpreters are located within the United States and around the world. If legal requirements apply restricting offshore spending, Vocalink Global has the ability to limit access to US-based interpreters only.


Video Remote Interpreting FAQ

What is Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)?

VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) is video conference technology that incorporates language interpreting. VRI is used to provide American Sign Language (ASL) or spoken language interpreting services.

What are the benefits of using VRI?

  • Access to thousands of trained professional interpreters within the U.S. and around the world
  • Access to interpreting services within seconds
  • Effective communication that incorporates verbal and non-verbal communication cues
  • Cost efficient per-minute pricing
  • Convenient, on-demand access

Do I need any special equipment or software to use VRI?

No. Vocalink Global’s VRI, called Vialink, is web-based. All you need is a video and audio-enabled device (computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or video phone) and high-speed internet connection.

What are the Minimum Technical Requirements?

Vialink VRI does have some minimum technical requirements to ensure clear audio, a clear picture, and smooth video streaming. Please see our Minimum Technical Requirements.

What are the Internet Requirements to use Vialink VRI?

Please see Network Connectivity- Port Requirements

You can also test your internet speed here.

What languages does Vocalink Global support for VRI?

Vocalink Global supports On-Demand VRI in top-requested languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Many additional languages are available on a pre-scheduled basis.

Will Vocalink Global provide training and demos of its Vialink VRI system?

Yes, Vocalink Global will provide training to your staff, training materials and demos, and assist in making VRI test calls.

How can I get set up for VRI?

Connect with us today to learn how to start using Vialink VRI today.


FAQ For Interpreters: Legal Interpreting

Interpreter: Do I have to be state certified to interpret in courts?

No. However, most courts will ask questions (called “voir dire”)  to confirm your knowledge of legal terms and ability to facilitate the court proceedings.

Interpreter: What is the state certification for legal interpreting in Ohio?

There is a process you must complete to become certified. It consists of a written and an oral exam. The Supreme Court of Ohio offers training throughout the year to prepare for the exam. There are also online courses available.

Interpreter: Do I have to do the training through the Ohio Supreme Court to interpret in Ohio courts?

No. However, the training offered by the Supreme Court covers all the areas in the written and oral exams.

Interpreter: If I am bilingual or multilingual, is that enough for me to become a legal interpreter?

No, it is not enough. You must be fluent in the languages you speak, read and write. You must also have knowledge of legal terminology, vocabulary, and terms and phrases. You must also manage the three modes of interpreting: consecutive, simultaneous and site translation.

Interpreter: Is there such a thing as a National Certification for legal interpreting?

No, there is no National Certification. However, most states have a reciprocity process. This means that one state may honor a certification issued in another state or accept test scores from one state as part of the certification process.


FAQ for Interpreters: 40-Hour Training

Interpreter: What is The Community Interpreter (TCI)?

TCI is an industry-leading, comprehensive 40-hour professional training for professional Interpreters.

Interpreter: What subjects are covered in TCI?

Code of ethics, standards of practice, and subject matter terminology (such as medical) are covered through role plays, videos, games, power point presentations, and various activities throughout TCI training.

Interpreter: When I finish TCI training, will I be “certified”?

No. However, completing TCI satisfies the 40-hour training requirement on the path to National Certification.

Interpreter: Why should I take TCI?

TCI helps you take your career to the next level. It teaches you the “how-to’s” of interpreting in every-day situations as well as unusual and challenging situations.


FAQ for Interpreters: Managing Your Schedule

What tools does Vocalink Global provide to help interpreters manage their schedules?

Vocalink uses a comprehensive interpreter scheduling system called Tracker. Through this system, interpreters can review available interpreting assignments and mark themselves available or unavailable. In many cases, interpreters can even self-assign through the Tracker system. The Tracker system also uses interactive email communication. New appointments scheduled are broadcast via email to every interpreter with the necessary language skills in the right geographical area. Directly from the email, interpreters can mark themselves available or unavailable.

Vocalink also uses an electronic check-in/check-out system called Uclock that eliminates paper timesheets. Using a smartphone or tablet, interpreters check-in and check-out to each appointment, ensuring to-the-minute accuracy.

What happens if I can’t make it to an assignment?

Once you accept an assignment, you take responsibility for completing it. If an emergency arises, you must call our dispatch team immediately at (877) 492-7754 so that we can arrange for a replacement interpreter (if possible). It is important to call and speak with someone at the branch – not text or email.

What happens if the client cancels the assignment?

If a client cancels an appointment, we will let you know via email. If the appointment is canceled within one (1) hour prior to the start time, you will still be paid the one-hour minimum. You must still use the Uclock electronic check-in/check-out process and leave a comment explaining the late cancellation.

How long should I wait if the person who needs interpreting does not appear for an appointment?

Sometimes, our client’s customer, employee, patient, etc. will miss an appointment. Our standard policy is for interpreters to wait 30 minutes. However, our clients each have different policies on wait times for “no-shows.” Interpreters should follow the client’s instructions.

I’d like to work after hours, over the weekend, and/or on holidays. How can I do that?

Vocalink Global offers on-site interpreting 24/7/365, so we appreciate interpreters who are available outside of normal business hours. Interpreters should let us know they are available after hours, on weekends, and/or on holidays by contacting the dispatch team at (877) 492-7754.

What should I do if a client asks me to interpret for a different person or another appointment?

Interpreters are typically assigned to interpret at a single appointment involving one or more individuals who need help communicating. Each Vocalink Global client has different policies and procedures on how they use interpreting services. We ask Vocalink Global interpreters to contact us if a client asks the interpreter to interpret for someone other than the individual scheduled or to take on a second or different interpreting assignment.

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