Choosing an interpreting service can be a frustrating exercise for people who are not familiar with how it works. In the Interpreting FAQs section, we try to take the stress out of the experience of finding the right interpreting service, while helping you getting the most out of your budget for language services.
Frequently asked questions
Choosing and interpreter
What does an interpreter do?
An interpreter helps you interact – in real time – with people who speak a foreign language. Because interpreters are bilingual and know both cultures, they are trained to get your message across accurately and efficiently.
Why should I use an interpreter?
If you use an interpreter, you’ll be able to express yourself in your native language. An interpreter can also help you bide time to formulate responses in negotiations and can assist you in understanding cultural differences.
What type of interpreter do I need?
Depending on the circumstances, you may require:
- Whispered interpreting, mainly performed during court proceedings, the interpreter sits next to the listener and whispers the words into his/her ear.
- Consecutive interpreting, the interpreter listens to the speaker deliver part of a speech and then translates it into another language.
- Simultaneous interpreting involves orally translating a speech as it is delivered, in real time.
We can provide interpreters for all requirements and we are happy to advise you on which is the most appropriate for your needs.
When do I need an interpreter?
Every time there is a situations where one or more people cannot understand each other because of language barrier, for example:
- business meetings
- court hearings
- medical consultations
- community consultations
How do I know that I'm choosing a good interpreter?
We have bilingual staff, can't we just ask them to interpret?
Asking someone who is not a professional interpreter to interpret can be risky and uncomfortable for all parties involved. Interpreting is a complex process that requires:
- a high level of linguistic, cognitive and technical skills;
- physical endurance;
- the ability to handle challenging situations and portray emotions of participants;
- the ability to remain impartial and adhere to confidentiality.
There are so many companies offering interpreting services, how can I make sure that I am choosing a good one?
It might be difficult to judge the quality of the interpreting company, especially if you do not know the target language. There are however some signs that can help you recognise whether you are dealing with an interpreting company that will not live up to your expectations:
- they have spelling and grammatical errors on their website;
- they don’t respond to your emails;
- you are regularly getting an answering machine when trying to contact their office;
- they don’t give you a satisfying answer when you ask about their quality control systems.
How much does it cost to hire an interpreter?
It depends on the language combination, as well as the length, nature and location of the assignment. Interpreting bookings are charged on an hourly basis but half day or full day block bookings can also be made. In some situations, you may also be asked to cover the mileage and travel expenses, but we do try to book local interpreters to minimise the cost.
Do you offer corporate rates?
Yes, if you register your company with us you can take advantage of our special corporate rates. Contact us to register today.
I’m not a business, can I book an interpreter?
Anyone can book an interpreter. Polaron’s interpreters work in many settings including hospitals, legal offices and medical practices.
You can book an interpreter for:
- medical assessments and reviews;
- signing of wills and powers of attorney;
- dealing with government agencies all over the world;
- attending court.
We can also assist you with interpreting over the phone or video. Our rates start at as low as $70 per hour. Contact us to discuss your needs.
Booking an interpreter
How far in advance should I book an interpreter?
Finding an interpreter at short notice can be difficult, especially in rarer languages, so it’s best to give us as much notice as possible.
What information do I need to provide in order to book an interpreter?
Initially we only need some basic details, such as:
- nature of the assignment
In order to prepare, the interpreter will need as much background information as possible on the subject matter, participants and specific terminology they may need to familiarise themselves with.
What is telephone interpreting?
It is a service that allows parties who speak different languages to communicate with each other through the phone. This is done via a three-way conference call.
What is telephone interpreting used for?
It is mainly used for short discussions and when it is difficult to have an interpreter in a specific location (e.g. for rarer languages). It might not be appropriate for some types of communication. Contact us, we can assist and advise you.
I'm not in Melbourne. Are your interpreters available throughout Australia?
Certainly! Our interpreters cover most of Australia, including rural and remote areas. In some instances, using telephone interpreting may be more cost effective, particularly for rarer languages.
We can also provide interpreters in a number of worldwide destinations. In the past, we have flown Australian interpreters, known by their professionalism and skills, to interpret at international assignments.
Can your interpreter come to hospitals and court rooms?
Yes, it is your right to have an interpreter with you any time you need one.
Our interpreters work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, court rooms, business delegations and trade conferences.
Type of assignments
For what kind of assignments can I book an interpreter?
Our interpreters work with all levels of governments in Australia and overseas, including:
- law enforcement agencies
Our interpreters work also with:
- business delegations
- international leadership groups
- academic researchers
And in the following settings:
- focus groups.
How do I know that my information is kept confidential?
Jobs and internships
Can I work/do an internship at Polaron?
Certainly! Visit our Careers page.