Now that distance learning for students is widely accepted, you may have the need to communicate remotely with a student or parent who speaks limited English. This is a significant issue, as one in five U.S. residents speaks a language other than English at home.
Accomplishing this requires school personnel to solve the technology challenge of adding an interpreter to their video conferences for online learning.
There are two simple ways to incorporate a professional interpreter into a distance-learning video conference. These interpreters are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in more than 240 languages.
Before You Begin
Assuming your school has a LanguageLine® account, you’ll need your designated 800 number and your unique Client ID number. You can get these from your district’s language-access coordinator. For those who are not yet LanguageLine clients, we provide instructions below.
Once you have these assets, you’re ready to start.
Please note that in both versions below, the interpreter will join the call via audio only. The other parties will be able to hear the interpreter, but not see them.
Version 1: Place a call from within the video-conferencing platform
Most video platforms can dial out and place an outbound audio call to a third party. However, some platforms only make this feature available as a premium option.
The experience for the educator is seamless.
- On the video platform interface, they simply click the button that allows for an audio call to a third party. Often this can be initiated by clicking a button marked “Invite.”
- Select the option marked “Invite by Phone.”
- Enter the dedicated LanguageLine 800 telephone number. If prompted for a name for the new participant, type “Interpreter.”
- When a connection is made, follow these voice prompts to select your language and connect to an interpreter:
LanguageLine: “Thank you for calling LanguageLine. Please speak the name of the desired language.”
LanguageLine: “I understood Mandarin? If this is correct, say yes or press one to confirm.”
LanguageLine: “I am connecting you to a Mandarin interpreter.”
The LanguageLine interpreter will join the call within seconds. The educator should brief the interpreter on the nature of the conversation, and then the discussion begins.
Version 2: Use the conference-call feature on your phone to bring in an interpreter
This version is an alternative for those using video platforms that do not have a third-party dial-out option.
When you join a video conference, you are given the option to use your computer or phone for audio. In this instance, you would select the phone-audio option.
Most phones can add a third party using its conference-call or “Add Call” feature. Using this feature is easy.
In this instance, the teacher would first call the student or parent. Once that connection is made, they’d take the following steps:
- On their smartphone, the teacher taps “Add Call.”
- The teacher then dials the LanguageLine 800 number and inputs the access code.
- The teacher then hears a prompt saying, “Press 1 for Spanish. Press 2 for other languages.”
- After following the prompts to the appropriate language, an interpreter comes on the line within seconds.
- The teacher taps “Merge Calls” to connect both parties together.
Instructions for Phone Calls
There may be times when video is not necessary, and an educator will want to connect with a student or parent by phone. To do so, simply follow the instructions in this article.
Set Up Within Days
Existing LanguageLine clients can take advantage of these methods right away. All they need is their unique LanguageLine 800 number and Client ID.
For new accounts, a service like this can be set up in a matter of days.
This interpreting service is pay-as-you-go. You only pay for the minutes you use.
Non-LanguageLine clients who are interested in this service should contact us via this form or call 800-752-6096. We will quickly assess your needs and immediately provide you with potential solutions.
LanguageLine Can Help
LanguageLine has been the world leader in innovative language-access solutions since 1982. The company sets the global standard for phone, video, and onsite interpreting, as well as translation of the written word. LanguageLine is trusted by more than 30,000 clients to enable communication with the limited English proficient, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing communities. LanguageLine provides the industry’s fastest and most dependable access to more than 35,000 professional linguists in 290-plus languages — 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Please do not hesitate to contact us.