Volume 30, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This article reports on the findings of a questionnaire survey of 465 telephone interpreters in Australia, focusing on what they liked and disliked about telephone interpreting, their perceptions of challenges in telephone interpreting, and their coping strategies. Just over half of the respondents liked working as telephone interpreters. Results also show that interpreters identified many favourable and unfavourable aspects of telephone interpreting. A key finding is that interpreters perceived many comprehension-related challenges (e.g., poor sound quality, a lack of non-verbal information), communication-related challenges (e.g., overlapping speech), and other challenges in telephone interpreting (e.g., low remuneration, casual employment, work-related stress). Importantly, interpreters adopted various coping strategies, including using high-quality headphones and requesting briefing or clarification to deal with comprehension-related challenges, explaining the interpreter’s role and intervening with clients as necessary to address communication-related challenges, and reducing working hours and exercising self-care to manage work-related stress.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Cheng, Qianya
    2015Examining the Challenges for Telephone Interpreters in New Zealand. MA diss. Auckland University of Technology.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Gracia-García, Roberto A.
    2002 “Telephone Interpreting: A Review of Pros and Cons.” InProceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference, edited by Brennan Scott , 195–216. Alexandria, VA: American Translators Association.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Hale, Sandra
    2011 “The Positive Side of Community Interpreting: An Australian Case Study.” Interpreting13 (2): 234–248. doi: 10.1075/intp.13.2.04hal
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.13.2.04hal [Google Scholar]
  4. Hale, Sandra , and Jemina Napier
    2016 “‘We’re Just Kind of There’: Working Conditions and Perceptions of Appreciation and Status in Court Interpreting.” Target28 (3): 351–371. doi: 10.1075/target.28.3.01hal
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.28.3.01hal [Google Scholar]
  5. Kelly, Nataly
    2008a “A Medical Interpreter’s Guide to Telephone Interpreting.” AccessedJanuary 10, 2018. 0842-442-442.ch/files/content/Angebot/Infothek DE/Allg.Info/Medical_Interpreter’s_Guide.pdf
  6. 2008bTelephone Interpreting: A Comprehensive Guide to the Profession. Bloomington, IN: Trafford Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Lee, Jieun
    2007 “Telephone Interpreting – Seen from the Interpreters’ Perspective.” Interpreting9 (2): 231–252. doi: 10.1075/intp.9.2.05lee
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.9.2.05lee [Google Scholar]
  8. Lee, Robert Joe , and Jeffrey A. Newman
    1997Pilot Test of Telephone Court Interpreting in Atlantic/Cape May-Essex-Hudson: Final Report. Trenton, NJ: Administration Office of the Courts, CN-998, April18 1997.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Mikkelson, Holly
    2003 “Telephone Interpreting: Boon or Bane?” InSpeaking in Tongues: Language across Contexts and Users, edited by Luis Pérez González , 251–269. Valencia: Universitat de València.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators)
    NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators) 2009 “Telephone Interpreting in Legal Settings.” AccessedJanuary 10, 2018. https://najit.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Telephone-Interpreting-1.pdf
  11. Oviatt, Sharon L. , and Philip R. Cohen
    1992 “Spoken Language in Interpreted Telephone Dialogues.” Computer Speech and Language6 (3): 277–302. doi: 10.1016/0885‑2308(92)90021‑U
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0885-2308(92)90021-U [Google Scholar]
  12. Ozolins, Uldis
    2011 “Telephone Interpreting: Understanding Practice and Identifying Research Needs.” Translation and Interpreting3 (1): 33–47.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Rosenberg, Brett Allen
    2007 “A Data Driven Analysis of Telephone Interpreting.” InThe Critical Link 4: Professionalisation of Interpreting in the Community, edited by Cecilia Wadensjö , Birgitta Englund Dimitrova , and Anna-Lena Nilsson , 65–76. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/btl.70.09ros
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.70.09ros [Google Scholar]
  14. Wadensjö, Cecilia
    1999 “Telephone Interpreting and the Synchronization of Talk in Social Interaction.” The Translator5 (2): 247–264. doi: 10.1080/13556509.1999.10799043
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.1999.10799043 [Google Scholar]
  15. Wang, Jihong
    2018 “‘Telephone Interpreting Should Be Used Only as a Last Resort.’ Interpreters’ Perceptions of the Suitability, Remuneration and Quality of Telephone Interpreting.” Perspectives26 (1): 100–116. doi: 10.1080/0907676X.2017.1321025
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2017.1321025 [Google Scholar]
  16. . In press. “‘I Only Interpret the Content and Ask Practical Questions When Necessary.’ Interpreters’ Perceptions of Their Active Participation and Personal Pronoun Choice in Telephone Interpreting.” Perspectives.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Wang, Jihong , and Jing Fang
    . In press. “‘Sorry. Could You Please Repeat?’ A Comparative Study of Telephone Interpreting and On-site Interpreting in Terms of Accuracy.” Interpreting.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error