About my job as a telephone interpreter

My job as a telephone interpreter is varied and interesting.

I have dealings with compliance agencies, travel companies, roadside assistance, healthcare providers and chemical emergency helplines.

There are many more companies that subscribe to our services.


I need to know medical, legal and general terms in order to do my job proficiently.

However, I often have to spell names, locations and email addresses.

I use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet to spell names to English speaking customers.

I use the German Phonetic Alphabet for the German speaking customers.

However, there are different German phonetic alphabets available.

The Swiss, the Germans and the Austrians have slightly different versions.

The most common German one is the Din 5009 phonetic alphabet

If you would like to have an overview you can use this table below as reference.

Phonetic alphabet systems are extremely useful on the phone. The sound quality can be at times compromised. But the quoting of phonetic alphabets is more accurate than just listing the letters individually.

Find out more about phonetic alphabets on these websites:



International phonetic alphabet systems were originally used in military and medical settings. The radiotelephony procedure has been predominantly used in order to avoid errors that could be fatal.


Even nowadays, these international phonetic alphabet systems are handy especially during the pandemic.

My job as a telephone interpreter has been rewarding. When arranging medical appointments abroad I might have saved some lives.


Published by Maria

I am a German expat and I have been working in England for more than 30 years. Ich bin eine Auslandsdeutsche und arbeite schon seit 30 Jahren in England.

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