Tips and Tricks for Booking Video Interpreters for In-Person Meetings

How to book a video interpreter for a meeting:

  • If you can, book the interpreting service at least two days in advance and include any information that may help the interpreter prepare for the assignment. An interpreter may be available in emergency situations, but it is best to book in advance if you can. 
  • Once the job has been booked, you’ll receive an email telling you the job has been accepted. You will be provided with the contact details of the interpreter you’ll be using on the day of your appointment.
  • You (or the person you are meeting) will need access to the Internet so you can use Skype or another system you have chosen on the booking form.
  • Arrive 5–10 minutes before the meeting is due to start so you can make sure that you can access the Internet, open Skype if needed, or make sure the person you’re meeting has the equipment they want to use ready.
  • When you’re ready to start:
    • If you’re using Skype, place a video call to the video interpreter contact you have been given.
    • If the person you’re meeting with has another access method, they should place the call to the video interpreter.
  • Once you’ve connected with the interpreter, you can carry on as if the interpreter is in the room with you. 

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Using a remote video interpreter in an emergency:

  • Sometimes you need an interpreter in a hurry, and you aren’t able to book a live interpreter in advance.
  • If you urgently need an interpreter for a meeting/appointment and have access to Skype, you can still use remote video interpreting services for up to 20 minutes without advance booking.
  • You will need access to the Internet, either via your own device (laptop, tablet, etc.) or at the location where you’re meeting. (NOTE: If you’re using a tablet, be warned that a video call goes through your data very quickly!)
  • If you’re using Skype, add the following video interpreter contacts to your contact list:
    • nzvis01
    • nzvis02
    • nzvis03
    • nzvis04
    • nzvis05
    • nzvis06
    • nzvis07
  • Choose one of the video interpreter contacts that has the green “available” picture next to their name.
  • Place a video call to that video interpreter.
  • When the interpreter answers, explain that you want them to interpret for you and give them as much information about the meeting as you can.
  • Carry on with your meeting as if the interpreter is in the room with you.

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DOs and DON’Ts

  1. DO: Prepare the interpreter with any content that may be helpful for the interpreter to better interpret the call.
    • When scheduling a video interpreter, relevant information should be shared with the interpreter in the designated field box on the NZVIS website.
  2. DO: Familiarize yourself with the technical requirements.
    • Make sure technical logistics are pre-arranged.
    • Test your equipment to make sure the connection is clear.
  3. DO: Make sure that the environment is suitable for a remote video interpreter. Some things that may affect a session include:
    • Lighting (The room needs to be well lit.)
    • Seating arrangements and location of camera (Make sure that the sign language user is visible on the video screen so that the video interpreter is able to see the sign language user clearly.)
    • Location of the users in relationship to each other (Make sure that the sign language user is able to see you and vice-versa. Make eye contact and communicate just as you would in any meeting/conversation.)
    • Use of microphones/PolyCom (Be sure any microphones/audio equipment being used is set up so the interpreter can hear you and you can hear them.)
    • Background motion (Be sure your session is in an area where there will be minimal to no motion going on behind you. Background motion creates difficulty for the interpreter to see and understand the sign language user.)
    • Background noises (Be sure your session is in an area where there is minimal to no background noises. Background noise creates difficulty for the interpreter to hear you and for you to hear them.)
    • Clothing colors and patterns (Be sure you wear clothing that is not too bright and is not patterned. Wearing plain and darker color clothing helps the interpreter see you more clearly on the video screen.)
  4. DON’T: Tell the interpreter to “tell him/her” your statements/questions/conversation. Please speak directly to the sign language user as you would in any daily conversation or meeting.

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