Calling Helpdesks while Travelling

In this article in partnership with Day Translations we look at what happens when you need to call a helpdesk while you are travelling.

There are many websites around the world offering information and advice, particularly with regards to work and travel. The information is often avaialble in multiple languages online.

First of all, let’s look at the gold standard in offering multilingual helpdesk services: Japan. In Tokushima Japan, information for foreigners is offered in various languages. For example, foreign residents can access useful information in English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Helpdesk services available include legal advice, work/labour, government policies, emergency services, living in Japan, health and disaster notices (unfortunately they are rather common due to frequent earthquakes).

Information on daily life in Japan is available in 13 languages, so on top of the previous six languages mentioned, European and Asian languages such as French, German, Russian, Indonesian, Korean, Malasian, Thai are also available.

In Germany, for example, the Federal Office for Migration offers information via its website in German, English, Turkish, Russian, French and Arabic. Information included in the service relates to work and job searches, residence permits, learning German, recognising and certifying qualifications obtained outside Germany. The helpdesk is available in German and English.

In the Netherlands, for example, travel advice and consular services are available in Dutch and English.

As a final example, the popular website for rail travel in Europe Interrail provides booking information in several European languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch. The website allows people to book rail travel in 33 countries across Europe with discounts available for those who are under 27 years of age or over 60.

What if you are travelling in a country where there are much fewer options or even no translation in your language?

Getting a Remote Interpreter To Access Helpdesk Information

Connecting via a remote interpreter is a practical way to find out what information you can access in your own language.

Sometimes, for example, even when you can speak English as a foreign language and you find a website offering information in English plus another language (or multiple languages) that doesn’t include your mother tongue, you may not have a command of the vocabulary wide enough to understand the information or to ask questions.

In these cases using a remote interpreter can make your life easier, as you get the information you need translated in real time over the phone. This type of service can be particularly useful when you need to ask questions using specific terminology or technical language. A typical scenario is when you need to call a helpdesk to make an insurance claim or when you need to book an appointment with a medical professional and you need to explain what your problem is and what you need to do to solve it. Explaining symptoms of an illness in a foreign language can truly be a minefield; on top of everything else, you can’t afford to be vague or describe your symptoms incorrectly because that would result in the wrong therapeutic approach.

Say you are travelling but unfortunately you get a small injury. Your travel and medical insurance offers emergency helpdesk assistance. You need to call to check that you are covered for this accident so for peace of mind you use an interpreter to make sure that the insurer will cover your expenses. Filling a claim incorrectly or trying to claim on your policy for something that is not included in your cover can be expensive and can add stress to an already stressful situation.

Basically having an interpreter to help you out in a difficult situation can contribute to feel more in control and have a better understanding of what options you have.