Covid-19's Impact on Interpretation

In unprecedented times, the highest standards of safety must be followed in order to prevent the passing of the Coronavirus disease. The interpretation industry has had to adapt in order to continue providing services for those who need it, while protecting both linguists and clients.



2020’s worldwide Coronavirus pandemic has shaken almost every industry, and Language Service Providers (LSPs) are not exempt. Many linguists and language firms have had to conform to a ‘new normal’ by implementing procedures to protect both themselves and their employees while continuing to provide an essential service to the 25.5 million Americans considered to be Limited English Proficient (LEP). The solutions required to continue interpreting services are not easily achieved, yet we innovate and find a way to get things done, no matter the challenge.


In a national health crisis it is imperative that everyone understands the information that is being shared; with Covid-19, it could be a matter of life or death. Changes to the CDC’s guidelines, disturbances to government programs and even new school district safety requirements are crucial matters that need to be conveyed to LEP individuals. Consequently, many LSPs and linguists are taking on a heavier workload, while simultaneously developing strategies to lower the risk of Covid-19 transmission between the linguist and client.


Wearing a face mask and social distancing is a good start, but still poses a risk when interpreters and clients come face-to-face. Conversely, it can be difficult for an LEP client to fully comprehend a linguist wearing a face covering. Our mouths and facial expressions provide context that can be lost in this instance. A favorable course of action is to utilize Over the Phone Interpreting (OPI) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). Using these methods an interpreter can assist virtually, while keeping the health of both themselves and their clients front of mind.


At Syntes Language Group, we pride ourselves on our technology initiatives and now offer OPI and VRI calls in over 300 languages through our Interpretation Platform. As an added bonus, many of the languages we offer are available for on-demand interpretation, meaning you have 24/7 access to a linguist right in your pocket! OPI and VRI are trusted alternatives during a pandemic and will help us all stay safe, at least until we finally get to see each other’s smiling faces again.


For more about the Syntes Interpretation Platform or OPI and VRI, please give us a call at (303) 779-1288.

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