Interpreting Services

Interpreting is the process of relaying a spoken or signed message from one language into another language accurately and completely. Interpreters are skilled professionals who must have an advanced understanding of language and cultural contexts, strong short-term memory retention skills, and the ability to adapt to working under various conditions and settings.

SWITS provides professional interpreting services to locations throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois, and we are continuously adding new interpreters to our network to be able to meet the needs of our clients. We provide interpreters in many languages, but our most requested languages are Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL), and Hmong. SWITS provides interpreters in all settings including court, law enforcement, healthcare, social services, academic, business, and more.

On-Site

We recommend using on-site interpreters whenever possible for the best interpreting experience. Having an interpreter in person is ideal for a number of reasons. The interpreter is better able to use non-verbal cues for support, assess the situation to determine which mode of interpreting is most appropriate, and change from consecutive and simultaneous interpreting to sight translation with ease. On-site interpreters can move throughout a location with your staff members and clients as needed, making the most of your time with the interpreter. And by having the interpreter right there with you, everyone benefits from being able to hear clearly.

These benefits are even more important in certain settings. When providing services to children, groups, or people with mental health concerns, we always encourage our clients to ask for an on-site interpreter. Telephone and video remote interpreting are great alternatives when a qualified interpreter is not available, immediate assistance is needed, or when on-site interpreting does not fit the situation or preference of the consumer.

Telephone

As a business based in rural Wisconsin, we know that qualified on-site interpreters may not always be available in your area. With telephone interpreting, we can provide access to interpreters regardless of location or time of day. We recommend considering telephone interpreting for shorter interactions with 2-3 people, or when a qualified interpreter is not available in person.

Offering telephone interpreting services allows us to support clients who need immediate assistance by connecting you with an interpreter quickly. Law enforcement agencies, welfare and social service agencies, and emergency departments often benefit the most from being connected within a few short minutes to a professional interpreter. The connection time for our core languages, such as Spanish and Hmong, is often only 1-2 minutes.

While we are always prepared to connect you to an interpreter without any prior notice, we also gladly accept prearranged telephone interpreting requests. With prearranged appointments, an interpreter will be assigned to the request, provided with all necessary information, and ready when you call.

Aside from the knowledge that you are always being connected to a professional interpreter, the service is also cost effective. There are no connection fees, no monthly minimums, and all languages are charged at the same reasonable rate.

Video Remote Interpreting

Video remote interpreting (VRI) uses video phones, video conferencing, or web-based video applications to access interpreting services for spoken and sign languages. With VRI, we can provide you with access to an interpreter when it would otherwise not be possible. We consider video remote interpreting to be the most effective alternative when an on-site interpreter is not available, and it can be used for shorter interactions in medical, legal, or business settings.

SWITS VRI is by appointment only at this time. After requesting a video interpreter, you will receive confirmation that an interpreter has been assigned. At the scheduled time, the interpreter will be visible on the screen and ready to serve your client and the provider.

One of the benefits of choosing SWITS as your video remote interpreting provider is that all of our video interpreters are local, qualified interpreters who would visit your location for an on-site appointment. There are no monthly subscription fees, and we offer competitive rates.

ASL Interpreting

American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary form of communication used by deaf individuals in the United States. The language consists of signs made with the hands, facial expressions, and postures of the body. It is the first language of most deaf Americans, but only one of the several communication options available to deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

Our trained ASL interpreters are screened professionals who are carefully selected for each setting to better serve the needs of our clients. They are aware of cultural differences among the hearing and deaf communities and are familiar with best practices and the role of the interpreter. All ASL interpreters who work with us are nationally certified and state-licensed and are available in person or by video.

A Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) is an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, has completed interpreter training, and has native knowledge and understanding of deafness, deaf culture and the deaf community. A CDI also has specialized training and experience in the use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enhance visual, non-verbal communication. Adding a CDI to the interpreting team is beneficial for cases in which the deaf person has limited communication skills or uses non-standard signs. The CDI fills the gaps between the hearing interpreter and the deaf person. The goal is always to ensure that the deaf person fully understands the given situation. We work with deaf interpreters who hold national certification or are currently enrolled in a deaf interpreter certification program.

Quality

Our goal is to provide you with the most qualified available interpreter at any time, day or night. We understand that every interaction is important, and for legal and medical settings, we make every effort to provide you with a certified interpreter, when certification is available. For Spanish legal requests, a certified court interpreter is always assigned. Our ASL interpreters are nationally certified and state-licensed. All of our interpreters receive additional training to handle situations by phone and video.

SWITS is dedicated to the advancement of the interpreting profession, and we believe that thoroughly evaluating our interpreters is important to providing quality services. We assess the written and oral language skills of each interpreter, as well as their knowledge of relevant terminology and practices associated with medical and community interpreting. Their performance is then reviewed by senior interpreters based on criteria proposed by national and international associations for interpreting in healthcare, such as the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) and the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA).

In addition, we encourage and foster continuing education for each interpreter. All staff interpreters receive additional training by attending the Equal Footing for Limited English Proficient Persons seminar during their first year of employment. The seminar was developed by SWITS for medical and community interpreters, and has since been expanded into a continuing education course that is offered throughout the year at select colleges in the area. The seminar and continuing education course focus on vital aspects of interpreting, such as:

• the Codes of Ethics used in medical and community interpreting,
• the role of the interpreter,
• professional conduct, and
• best practices.

SWITS Language List

  • African languages and dialects
  • Albanian
  • American Sign Language
  • Arabic
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Croatian
  • Burmese
  • Cambodian-Khmer
  • Chinese Cantonese
  • Chinese Mandarin
  • Czech
  • Farsi
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Gujarati
  • Hindi
  • Hmong
  • Hungarian
  • Indigenous languages of the Americas
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Laotian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Taiwanese
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
  • Yugoslavian