Interpretive services FAQ

How does INTERPRETALK® work?

INTERPRETALK® works by allowing you to communicate with a non-English speaker via a telephonic interpreter.

How long will I have to wait for an interpreter?

On average, you will wait less than 30 seconds to be connected to an interpreter.  However, you may be required to wait longer if the available resources for that language experience unexpected demand. For rare languages it is sometimes helpful to call ahead and pre-schedule the session.

How many languages does INTERPRETALK provide?

The service has interpreters ready to assist you in over 200 languages.

What if I do not know which language I'll need?

INTERPRETALK call center coordinators are trained to identify your language needs. Let the coordinator know that you are unsure of the language and they will be able to assist you.

How many lines can be connected at one time?

Up to six parties at a time can be connected.

Is this consecutive or simultaneous interpreting?

Telephonic interpreters are consecutive interpreters, which means the interpreter only interprets after you have completed a thought, then the non-English speaker responds, and so on. Simultaneous interpreters interpret while you are speaking, which does not work effectively via telephone because two parties speaking at once is often inaudible.

What do I do once the interpreter is connected?

You should immediately take control of the call. You may start by introducing yourself, briefly explaining the nature of the call to the interpreter and requesting that the interpreter say a few words to the non-English speaker to ensure they can communicate. Next, you should begin speaking to the non-English speaker in the FIRST person, as if the interpreter was not there. For example:

CORRECT: "Hello, my name is John. How can I help you today?"

INCORRECT: "Tell her my name is John and ask her what I can do to help her today."

Remember to pause at the end of a thought to allow the interpreter to interpret.

Can I just tell the interpreter what questions to ask?

No. The interpreter will interpret what you say as if the interpreter was you. Interpreters do not serve as third party agents but are there only to communicate your words directly. They should not add, edit, or omit anything that you say.

Can the interpreter answer the questions for my patient themselves?

No. The interpreter is there only to facilitate communication between the non-English speaker and the English speaker. The interpreter will not supply the answers.

Can I ask for a particular interpreter?

Yes. Just provide the coordinator with the interpreter’s ID number and he or she will be connected to the call if available.

What if I have a problem with an interpreter?

INTERPRETALK's Client Services can assist you with any difficulties that you may experience. For solutions, please call 1-800-305-9673 or visit Language Services Associates

What do I do when the call is finished?

You can simply hang up. The charge will be completed when you disconnect the line.

How does INTERPRETALK guarantee the quality of the interpreter?

Each resume is thoroughly reviewed by the INTERPRETALK Quality Assurance Department. Once an interpreter is approved, they go through a detailed orientation program. New interpreters also have an evaluation period where their calls are monitored by Quality Assurance.

Do interpreters know specific terminology?

INTERPRETALK has trained interpreters ready for your calls, whether they are medical, legal, or technical. These interpreters have access to a wide variety of glossaries and dictionaries. However, please keep in mind that at times the interpreter might not be familiar with a specific term. Since the INTERPRETALK interpreters are trained to interpret everything accurately, there may be times when they request permission to clarify a term or phrase. Interpreters should never guess; hence, expect them to occasionally request repetitions and clarifications.

What are the top-10 languages spoken by First Choice members?

Here are the top 10 languages (other than English) spoken by First Choice members:

  1. Spanish
  2. Russian
  3. Chinese
  4. Hmong
  5. Portuguese
  6. Samoan
  7. Vietnamese
  8. Haitian
  9. Yiddish
  10. Arabic

Which South Carolina counties have the largest Spanish-speaking population?

Since Spanish was identified as the top non-English language spoken by First Choice members, we have identified the South Carolina counties with the highest population of Spanish-speaking members.

  1. Beaufort
  2. Charleston
  3. Berkeley
  4. Horry
  5. Greenville
  6. Lexington
  7. Greenwood
  8. Richland
  9. Spartanburg
  10. Saluda
For more information, contact Member Services at 1-888-276-2020 or visit LSA's website.