Malin Namdal, head of refugee services in Kvam, uses TikkTalk to book highly educated interpreters.

Kvam is a medium-sized municipality along the Hardangerfjord in Western Norway. The municipality has taken in about 30 refugees per year for the last two years, and every week there is a need for interpreters.

– When refugees first arrive we use interpreters a lot. After that, we use interpreters when needed, says Malin Namdal. She is the head of refugee services in Kvam and one of the people in the municipality who uses interpreters the most.

Namdal explains that she books interpreters from several agencies and that she finds individual interpreters to be of varying quality.

– One of the best things about TikkTalk is that we know the full name and qualifications of the interpreters we use. That means we are more in control, she says.

When using traditionally interpreter agencies, Kvam only learns the first name of the interpreter, without any information about qualifications, she explains.  

– This week, for instance, I know I will have a complicated conversation with a refugee. That’s why I have used TikkTalk to book a specific interpreter with plenty of education and experience.

 

Almost no interpreters in the municipality
Namdal explains that getting interpreters to travel to Kvam is costly and time consuming.

– Our municipality is located far from where the interpreters live. I think we only have one interpreter in all of Kvam and he’s retired. That’s why we use a lot of phone interpreters, she says.

Because of the strain on resources, the municipality is only able to book in-person interpreters for particularly serious conversations which are flagged well in advance, she continues.

– If we only have a short notice before an interpreter conversation, it’s unfortunately impossible to get interpreters to travel here.

To improve communication during interpreter conversations, the municipality is now looking to trial video interpretation.

Read also: Why the asylum centres at Hemsedal use TikktAlk

 

Happy with TikkTalk
Namdal says she has only used TikkTalk in recent months, but that she is already very pleased with the system.

– I will definitely keep booking interpreters through TikkTalk. The automatic system is working brilliantly, she says.

 

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