Remote Language Services During The Pandemic

Over the past several months the UK and the whole of the world have been impacted and continue to be impacted by COVID19. Businesses everywhere have been forced into difficult positions and had to adapt incredibly quickly as remote working became the new norm.

Essential services and workers having to take on additional safety measures and continuing to work incredibly hard and provide amazing service despite COVID19. Of course, well deserved praise for essential workers has been given, especially for our NHS and local councils who formed a united front to help protect the UK from COVID19 and treat those in need.

The NHS has done and continues to do an incredible job and all of their suppliers are proud to have supported the NHS especially during the pandemic. However, suppliers were also forced to adapt, having to figure out the best way to continue to support their clients without compromising on service.

DA Languages is one of the biggest providers of Face to Face interpreting to the public sector including the NHS. We currently support over 70 NHS Trusts with language services. As many practices, hospitals and GPs were forced to find alternative solutions so that patients could still access the care and support they needed. First of all, making sure that patients understand what is happening in the face of the pandemic was a key priority, making sure that all patients including non-English speaks and Deaf/Hard of Hearing patients were aware of the changes that the NHS were having to make.

Many communications went out via text, as well as letters, informational leaflets both via post and online publications. DA Languages provided translation for the COVID19 safety materials used across the UK and within local practices to support their communication to non-English speaking patients. As we have seen how BAME communities have been heavily affected by COVID19 it highlights how important translation and language services are in helping save lives and reach to communities who are at risk due to language barriers.

DA Languages translation team worked around the clock to make sure that all COVID19 materials were completed efficiently without compromising on our incredibly high quality. Supporting our clients on best practice for translation and understanding not only made sure that patients and end-users were receiving the correct information but also helping to reduce the number of calls to 111 and other helplines by translating FAQs and websites to help non-English speakers find what they need as quickly as possible.

Of course, we have seen in the rise of calls to both NSPCC and domestic abuse helplines during lockdown. While calls to NHS 111 and other medical practices fell as people became more aware of COVID19 it is clear to see the impact that the lockdown has had on the UK. DA Languages Telephone interpreting became a staple addition to helplines for both the NHS and charities as more calls coming in, included calls from non-English speakers. We have fully automated clients Telephone interpreting and on-boarded an entire NHS trust onto our Telephone Interpreting system within the hour in order to help accommodate the increasing number of calls. With an average connection time of 20 seconds, non-English callers don’t have to wait long in order to be listened to and understood, therefore speeding up their treatment and support.

Furthermore, as many appointments moved to phone and remote, Telephone interpreting became of common use within councils and GP practices as they could talk to clients and carry out full sessions efficiently and cost-effectively.

Naturally, as one of the top providers for Face to Face to the NHS, it is understandable to think what did we do to continue to provide language support that could match the benefits of Face to Face? DA Languages Video interpreting worked as the best solution given the benefits of everyone still being able to see each other, providing the feeling of the interpreter being in the room while remaining safe. Three-way video interpreting has been an excellent solution for our clients throughout the pandemic especially as remote working becomes more and more commonplace.

Moreover, our video interpreting solution allowed many of our clients to access even the rarest of languages at the drop of a hat without having to worry about getting an interpreter to a physical location. Video interpreting also adds another level of comfort for non-English and Deaf patients as they are reassured what they are saying is being heard. Furthermore, the simple act of talking to someone who understands your language can help provide much-needed support for patients especially when sensitive topics are being discussed.

Overall, DA Languages has successfully provided and innovated our remote service offering to incorporate the needs of our clients and help everyone no matter their language access the information and service they require. While we are slowly starting to see a rise in Face to Face interpreting and expect it to return to higher levels as the lockdown is lessened and COVID19 cases lower, we are proud of our remote services and how they have remained robust and adaptive for our clients throughout the pandemic.

If you are interested in any of our language services don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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