Local interpreters are local small businesses
We all want to help our neighbors, and just as it’s a great idea to shop local, it’s also a great idea to seek out interpretation and translation services in your local area.
The reasons are the same: The money you spend with a local interpreter stays in the area instead of going to a larger corporation with a faraway headquarters. This benefits the community as a whole, supporting your tax base, your schools and roads, etc., and will be spent again primarily in your community. In addition, using local interpreters helps keep dedicated language experts employed, an issue that has become even more serious during the COVID-19 crisis.
You’ll know where your interpreter is located
Large interpreting and translation services may have large pools of talent, but they often draw those interpreters from across the planet. Is that a problem? Not in and of itself, but it depends on your situation.
First, in-person interpretation is the best approach and should always be considered first. And while that’s difficult for even a local interpreter to do as we all deal with COVID-19, it’s something a language company located outside the U.S. may not be able to offer.
Second, there may be differences in programs or lingo which would be second nature to a local interpreter, but unknown to personnel overseas, or even out of state. Let’s take, for example, the name of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP programs, in each state: BadgerCare, Hawk-I, CubCare, etc. These terms are not self-explanatory and require background knowledge of Medicaid in a particular state. Or even the acronym CHIP. Acronyms are very common in the U.S. and used in daily conversation. These are easily identifiable by local people, but become burdensome in the interpretation because more clarification is needed.
Third, local interpreters are familiar with local place names (companies, cities, street names) and this allows for a smoother interpretation. Something as minor as an address may cause non-local interpreters great difficulty. Imagine being located outside of Wisconsin and interpreting names like Wauwatosa, Weyauwega, Waukesha, or Oconomowoc. These place names are often mispronounced by LEP persons living in the area and can be difficult to decipher without having in depth regional knowledge.
The onsite interpreters local agencies provide are the same people doing remote interpretation over phone or video.
As we’ve mentioned, in-person interpretation delivers the best results. At a time when nearly every interpretation needs to be done at a distance, using a local agency gives you a chance to build a report with someone who can work via video) or telephone, but can also be on-site in the event the interpreter is needed in person..
As you work with a local interpreter via telephone or VRI, they will become more and more familiar with your needs and the way you work and serve the public. When you reopen, they will have a leg up and provide even better in-person service. When you work with a larger LSP, you may be starting from zero with a new interpreter every time you call.
Standing by Wisconsin
We have remained open to provide essential interpreting during the current crisis, and we are pleased to announce that effort has been recognized by the Governor and by one of Wisconsin’s most prominent corporate citizens.
BMO Harris Bank recognized us for our “frontline” work, providing interpreting services at clinics and hospitals. They added, “Their effort and creativity has helped ensure our communities have the resources they need to stay safe.” Governor Evers issued a Certificate of Commendation related to our COVID-19 work, applauding the willingness of our interpreters to travel many miles and remain separated from family, while “never fail[ing] to carry out their important work with competence and professionalism.”
We’re proud to stand with our Wisconsin communities, and we ask you to stand with us as we all navigate a difficult time for our state and nation.