You’ve got a call with a new Chinese supplier. Even though Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken native language in the world, it’s not in your toolbox. And your new supplier doesn’t speak English. So, what do you do?
A qualified LSP will arrange for an interpreter to be on the call with you, ensuring that you can communicate effectively and smoothly with your counterpart. The interpreter will be a professional who is fluent in both the source and target languages, with expertise in the specific industry or subject matter at hand.
They will listen carefully to what is being said, interpret it accurately, and convey your message back to the other party with precision and clarity. With an interpreter on the line, you can rest assured that your communication will be seamless and effective, and that your business relationships will thrive.
At LinguaLinx, we work with a lot of clients who need Over-The-Phone Interpretation (OPI). It’s a really common requirement for businesses operating in a global marketplace.
And when it comes to OPI services, one of the first questions we always get asked is, “how much does over-the-phone interpretation cost?”
It's not as quick and easy of an answer as we'd like it to be. The answer really depends on several factors.
Top 5 Factors that Impact Over-the-Phone Interpretation Costs
To help you better predict how much you might pay for these services, we've outlined the top 5 factors, so you’ll have an idea of what variables you'll need to consider when speaking with an LSP about OPI.
1. How Rare is the Language?
The rarer a language is, the more translators can charge for their services. It’s simple supply and demand economics.
There are rare languages all over the world. For example, in Europe, the European Commission’s Knowledge Centre on Interpretation has a Rare Languages Group, which is looking for interpreters who can interpret Maltese, Slovenian, Estonian, and Ukrainian.
2. What is the Language?
The complexity of a language is a significant factor in the cost of interpretation services. Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese are not rare languages, but they are more expensive to interpret due to the nuances and complexities of the language compared to English.
For example, Chinese has a unique writing system, tones, and idiomatic expressions that are challenging for non-native speakers to understand.
Japanese has multiple levels of politeness, and a simple change in intonation can alter the meaning of a word.
Similarly, Arabic has a complex grammar system and a wide range of dialects that require a highly skilled interpreter.
Therefore, the more complex the language, the higher the cost of interpretation services.
3. What Industry Are You in?
Certain industries are just more complicated than others. Legal, financial services, technology – these industries can be highly specialized.
Why does this matter if people are just repeating what you’re saying in another language? The reason why this does matter is, where possible, we’d always recommend that your interpreter not only know the native and target languages but also the industry the conversation is about.
The legal sector, for example, has its own language, by proxy – legalese – as recognized by the world’s major dictionaries. Cornell law school describes it as “notoriously difficult for the public to understand.”
Even in our own language, the legal industry can be difficult to comprehend. So, imagine what could be lost in translation if your interpreter isn't well-versed in legal jargon.
It's crucial to choose an interpreter who not only understands both languages but also has expertise in your industry.
4. What are Your Timescales?
You can have OPI handled almost instantly. Most LSPs have a system where you can phone up, choose a language, enter a PIN and target language, and an appropriate interpreter joins your call.
Obviously, this comes with standard charges that depend on the variables we’re talking about here. But, with a bit of planning and depending on your needs, you can reduce that standard rate.
Maybe the question you need to ask yourself is…
5. Would a Subscription Package be Better?
When it comes to deciding between paying for each call or getting a subscription package, it really depends on your needs. If you only have a few calls to make with your non-English speaking counterpart, paying per call might be the best option for you.
However, if you are going to have multiple meetings a week with them, it might be more cost-effective to invest in a subscription package.
Many LSPs offer subscription packages, which can provide you with a certain number of minutes per month, at a discounted rate. This can be a great option if you have ongoing communication needs with your non-English speaking partners.
Additionally, subscription packages can offer more flexibility and predictability in your interpretation costs, allowing you to better manage your budget.
It's important to consider your specific communication needs and budget when deciding between paying per call or getting a subscription package.
Don't be afraid to talk to your LSP about your options and get a quote for each to help you make the best decision for your business.
How Much Does OPI Cost?
Of course, it's important to note that the cost of OPI services can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances of each call.
While the typical range is between $1 and $3 per minute, there may be additional fees for urgent or last-minute requests, or for calls that require specialized industry knowledge or rare language expertise.
It's always a good idea to discuss your specific needs and budget with your LSP to get an accurate quote for your OPI services. Additionally, keep in mind that the cost of OPI is a small investment compared to the potential cost of miscommunication or failed business relationships.
With the help of a qualified interpreter, you can ensure that your international business dealings run smoothly and effectively, leading to increased success and growth for your company.
Why Not Do it Yourself?
You could service your own furnace or boiler. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But you could. You could try and do it yourself, but why bother? It’s risky and a very important part of keeping your house running. Of course, you get a plumber, make them a cup of coffee and let the expert do their thing, right?
Doing business in a foreign language is important and contains risk too. So, source a LSP that you trust and let them handle the details. They’ll have seen it all before and will have a roster of certified, trusted interpreters. You won’t have to deal with sourcing the right tech or an interpreter who speaks Zulu.
You’ll have an account manager you can go to who will give you a water-tight quote, arrange everything and you can get back to running your business.
Get a Quote for Your Over-the-Phone Interpretation Needs
If you need OPI services, we’d love to sit down and talk with you about it.
With LinguaLinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message getting lost as it’s translated. You know you're in good hands with our ISO 17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.