If you need someone personally present (or participating remotely) for a live event, conveying meaning between English and another language, we can help you find interpreters. This is a distinct service from translation, which deals with written languages, though some interpreters also translate. We are not currently offering interpretation services, but will be happy to point you in the right direction. (See the list at the bottom of this page.)
It only takes one session to see the difference between communicating through an untrained bilingual helper vs. communicating through a professional interpreter with a vast vocabulary and toolbox of linguistic skills!
The main interpretation specialties in the US are medical, legal, community and conference. Most interpreters have experience in more than one specialty, especially for less-common languages.
Most users of interpretation feel more comfortable working through on-site interpreters, who are able to gather more non-verbal cues and contextual information from the speakers. However, if no local interpreter is available (especially for less-common languages), interpretation by phone or video conference is a viable option. In fact, some interpreters work exclusively this way and cover requests nationwide.
Depending on the situation, your interpreter may choose to work in one or more of three modes. Consecutive means one person speaks at a time, then pauses for interpretation into the other language. This is common at smaller meetings, medical visits and depositions. Simultaneous means that the speaker continues uninterrupted while the interpreter continues rendering the message into the target language to listeners on headphones (or whispering). This works best for large meetings at which most attendees understand the speaker's language. Sight translation means that the interpreter looks at a document written in one language and then speaks in the other language. (There are also certain special settings that call for hybrid modes.)
When you contact a provider of interpretation, make sure to discuss the assignment so you can get the right interpreters:
The two main ways to find a skilled interpreter are: 1) directly hiring a freelancer through the directory of a professional association or a government registry, or 2) using an agency to book, schedule and pay a subcontracted interpreter. The former tends to cost less and gives you greater control over who is assigned, but takes more admin time; for example, you may have to call and email many potential interpreters before you find someone who is available for your booking. The latter option may cost more but frees you from handling all of the details.
Associations and Government Directories