So Google translates my page, but what if someone calls and I don’t speak her language?

This question came up at last night’s workshop, and it’s a good one:

Say that you put a Google (or other system) translation button on your website, or even create two or three different versions of your website in different languages. What happens if someone calls and wants to talk to you in–for example–Russian? You don’t know Russian.

One answer is to use a company that offers telephone interpreters:

  • LanguageLine:  Your customer calls a toll-free number and an interpreter picks up the phone and translates between the customer and your staff member.
  • AT&T Interpreter: “AT&T On Demand Interpreter, powered by Language Line Services… enables you to connect to interpreters from your cell phone in just seconds. Simply press *4 to reach a professionally trained interpreter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

If you post a mobile number on your website, you may be able to use translation apps:

  • Google Translate for Mobile will translate and speak texts out loud, but that’s not the same as translating a conversation on the fly.
  • Jibbigo, which is supposed to translate speech to speech as well as text to speech on mobile phones, was just acquired on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, by Facebook.

More to come as we learn more.