3rd Aug 2012
Our preparation for the Olympics had to be a little more thorough than most organisations. Not only did we have to think about our internal staff but also the thousands of interpreters who we work with throughout London and the UK. As one of the top suppliers of interpreting and translation services to the NHS and local Government in the UK, it was imperative that it was ‘business as usual’ and that all of our interpreters arrived in a timely manner for much critical health or social care appointments and that we were able to cope with any increase in demand due to the large influx of none-English speakers to the UK.
We have been working on increasing our interpreter database for over a year, particularly in London where we have several clients and where the majority of the events are taking place. We have also been increasing the number of ‘rare’ language interpreters to ensure we are able to meet the need during this time.
Thankfully, our policy has always been to recruit locally based interpreters to reduce travel time to an appointment and any potential difficulties in arriving on time such as traffic, tube delays etc. This has been incredibly useful when preparing for the Olympics as a lot of the hard work had already been done.
Furthermore, our total management portal ORBIT™ used by our booking coordinators, uses Google maps to identify all the interpreters for a particular language closest to the venue of the appointment and therefore they are able to select the closest based interpreter, often within walking distance!
Nevertheless, we carried out an Impact Assessment Policy looking at any potential difficulties faced by our organisation during this period. We have combatted these by:
- Advising all interpreters to leave more time to travel between appointments
- Adding automatic reminders to the booking confirmations that they receive reminding them to check their travel route.
- Checking travel routes for our interpreters and advising them of the quickest routes to avoid congestion
- Checking all the bookings that we have for the following day and identifying any key areas which will be particularly congested due to events
For our internal staff, we have implemented shift work and different start times depending on the journey staff have to take to work.
Due to our in-depth planning and preparation, our service during this time has been as much of a success as the opening ceremony!