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Tips for Holding a Telephone Interview that Requires Translation

That’s not a problem—the cost is nearly zero, thanks to online messaging apps

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Given how fast globalization is moving today, it’s already common for phone interviews to happen between people from different countries. Pixabay

Face-to-face interviews are what we’re traditionally used to, but sometimes they’re not doable because of distance. In this case, phone interviews are another option. 

Given how fast globalization is moving today, it’s already common for phone interviews to happen between people from different countries. That’s not a problem—the cost is nearly zero, thanks to online messaging apps. However, what if you have to interview someone who speaks a different language? 

It’s not an impossible feat—the solution is to get help from an interpreter. 

Phone Interviews with an Interpreter

Telephone, Interview, Translation
Face-to-face interviews are what we’re traditionally used to, but sometimes they’re not doable because of distance. Pixabay

In meetings and conferences, you typically see simultaneous interpreting. The interpreter talks at around the same time as the speaker, and the audience hears through headphones whichever of the two is using their native language. This prevents confusion and saves time. 

With phone interviews or remote setups in general, it’s far less doable. Consecutive interpreting is used instead, where the speaker and interpreter take turns. Depending on their personal style, the interpreter may either wait for the speaker to finish or interject on their own. 

By default, the interviewer and interviewee won’t be in the same location for the phone interview. If you’re using a telephone translation service, the interpreter is also remotely located, and all participants should have a telephone or computer with VoIP. 

Otherwise, the interpreter and interviewer can simply sit near each other. The most convenient setup here is to use a dual handset phone, which has two receivers that they can use all at once. Alternatively, they can put the phone on speaker mode, but the interview might be overheard and background noise might be distracting.

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Pros and Cons

 Even if you’ve had experience with interpretation for meetings before, phone interviews are a different situation altogether since these involve carefully evaluating the interviewee. Normally, the interviewer is responsible for asking thoughtful questions and analyzing the interviewee’s responses, but in a phone interview that requires interpretation, the interviewer must work in tandem with the interpreter. For the interview to be successful, the interpreter must convey the interviewee’s responses accurately. 

Another major factor is the lack of face-to-face contact. Body language is very expressive, and without being able to see it, the interpreter must rely on the words of the interviewee alone. At least twice as much time must also be allotted for the interview because the interpreter will essentially be repeating everything that both the interviewer and interviewee say. 

Tips

Telephone, Interview, Translation
In this case, phone interviews are another option. Pixabay

Setting Up

If you’re not placing a call directly, avoid using a cellphone as much as possible—opt for landline or a phone with dual handset instead. For calls placed through online apps, make sure that the internet connection is stable. Reserve a quiet space for the call, and do a trial run before to check the sound quality. 

Before the Interview

Because there’s a charge per minute for both offline calls and interpreting services, prepare your questions and discussion points to maximize time. 

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Regardless of how experienced an interpreter may be, consult with them at least a few days before and brief them about the interview. You can explain its purpose, give basic information about the interviewee, and share your list of questions. This way, the interpreter will have the mental space to prepare and review any niche-specific jargon that may come up. It’s also a good idea to ask the interpreter what their usual process is like. Do they interpret after every few sentences, or only when the speaker is done? What equipment have they tried before?

Likewise, the interviewee should also be aware before about the presence of an interpreter. Let them know about the interview setup and clarify that the interpreter will only be there to translate, not serve as another interviewer. 

During the Interview

Introduce everyone at the start. To keep the flow natural, be mindful of the interpreter and pause after long statements to give the interpreter a chance to speak up. There might be delays occasionally on the side of the interpreter because they’re grappling real-time with words that have no direct translation. 

Throughout the interview, maintain transparency by having the interviewee aware at all times of what you’re saying. Don’t have private conversations with the interpreter—everything that you say as the interviewee must be addressed to the interviewer, unless you’re asking the interpreter for clarification.  

After the Interview

Once the call ends, check in with the interpreter and ask if they want to expand on what they said, in case they weren’t able to formulate a full translation at any point in the interview because of time pressure. They can also bring up any cultural nuances that’ll shed more light on what the interviewee said. 

A phone interview with an interpreter on board is still ultimately an interview, so the same rules apply. Prepare well, give your full attention to the interviewee on hand, and by the end of it, you’ll still get the information you need. Language doesn’t have to be a barrier anymore, and teaming up with an interpreter will help you conduct bilingual phone interviews successfully. 

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Pakistani-Canadian Author Tarek Fatah: University Campus is not Immune to Politics

Seek freedom from burqa 1st, not CAA, says Tarek Fatah

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Tarek Fatah
"Those who keep their wives and daughters in Burqa at home, send them for protests," says Tarek Fatah. Wikimedia Commons

BY VIVEK TRIPATHI

Pakistani-Canadian author Tarek Fatah has said that those opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) are prone to a “separatist mindset”. Raising questions on Muslim womens’ participation in anti-CAA demonstrations, he said before seeking freedom from the new citizenship law, they must seek freedom from the veil (burqa) first.

In a special interview with IANS, Fatah said that as far as the issue of anti-CAA protest is concerned, it began first in West Bengal, where some politicians have vested interests and are keen to expand their sphere of influence into state politics. Those who have settled here from Bangladesh or the erstwhile East Pakistan want to make West Bengal a Muslim majority state in order to increase their vote share. They are the people who are opposing the new law and some politicians are backing them.

Tarek Fatah india
Fatah said, “NRC is still far away. But, as far as the CAA is concerned, what we have learnt from Assam is that it must be implemented. Pixabay

He said, “They are not like Indians. They think that if illegal migrants are not given citizenship, their plan which is all about Muslim Nationhood, will never succeed. This reflects their separatist mindset. So they have no solid ground for opposing the CAA.”

Fatah said, “NRC is still far away. But, as far as the CAA is concerned, what we have learnt from Assam is that it must be implemented. The government has openly said that it is a right step. Even Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan have such laws. I do not understand why people are opposing the CAA. If government wants to correct the data, well and good.”

Speaking about Muslim women’s participations in the protests, he said, “Those who keep their wives and daughters in Burqa at home, send them for protests. If you have the courage, why do you send your wives and children to protest. This is nothing but exploitation of children.”

Tarek Fatah India
Regarding the National Citizenship Register (NRC), Fatah said, “It seems to me that Muslims fear that if the displaced Hindus in Bengal get citizenship, then the minorities will lose their place in Bengal. Pixabay

Fatah recalled meeting a Sikh from Kabul in Delhi, saying, “He faced an identity crisis in Afghanistan and came back to India. This law is for those who have already come to India due to religious persecution, people should understand it.”

On the question of CAA protests at educational institutions, he said university campus is not immune to politics. But it should be in the right direction.

Regarding the National Citizenship Register (NRC), Fatah said, “It seems to me that Muslims fear that if the displaced Hindus in Bengal get citizenship, then the minorities will lose their place in Bengal. The entire matter is of Muslim nationality.”

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On the issue of triple talaq, Tariq Fatah said that it has nothing to do with secularism. If we speak of secularism, what is the need of Muslim Personal Law Board. And there is definitely a need of uniform civil code. Seeking secularism in CAA and boycotting triple talaq is double standard of Muslims.”

On coming to Ayodhya, he said, “I have come here for the first time. For me it was like a Haj. The decision has been made. We have to be grateful to the people who have sheltered us in India. Here is a five thousand year old civilization, Muslims came here later, they came from outside. You cannot rule here by coming from outside. This is just as the Soviet Union cannot be ruled by America.” (IANS)