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The information and advice within this document is provided voluntarily by the Office of Multicultural Interests as a public service. The information and advice is provided in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate.

No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of this document. The reader of this document should satisfy him or herself concerning its application to their situation. The State of Western Australia, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, the Office of Multicultural Interests, and their officers expressly disclaim liability for any act or omission occurring in reliance on this document or for any consequences of such act or omission.

Before the assignment

  • Determine whether the subject matter to be discussed can be appropriately dealt with by telephone.
  • Organise appropriate equipment and a suitable room.
  • Ensure that you are in a quiet environment with minimal noise and other distractions.
  • If you have the client with you, ensure that appropriate handsets, speaker phone or dual handsets are organised.
  • Allow adequate time for the interpreting to take place.
  • Be clear about the information to be provided or sought before beginning so that this can be communicated clearly to the interpreter.

Telephone interpreting can take place when none of the three parties are together and operates as a three-way telephone conversation. If this is the case, ring the interpreter first and use the time to introduce yourself and the context for the telephone call so that they are ready to relay the information to the client once they are on the line.

During the interview

  • Introduce yourself to the interpreter.
  • Brief the interpreter about the aim, context and situation for the telephone call.
  • Let the interpreter know if you have a:
    • single handset telephone
    • dual handset telephone
    • conference telephone.
  • Describe where you are, for example, counter, office, hospital ward.
  • When beginning the conversation, introduce yourself and the interpreter to the client and explain what will be discussed.
  • Ask direct questions and speak in short sentences. Avoid using colloquialisms, idioms, technical language and acronyms.
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace.

Completing the interview

Clearly indicate to all parties when the session is complete.

Provide the interpreter with an opportunity to debrief following the interpreting session, particularly if the matter has been complex or sensitive.

For further information email the Office of Multicultural Interests or phone 6552 1607

Page reviewed 20 August 2020