In a bid to bring down international language barriers, Vodafone launched its interpretation service earlier this month. But, at over £6 a minute inc VAT, it doesn't come cheap.

Designed as a multilingual go-between for Vodafone users, the service offers businesses the convenience of 24-hour access to translators via an operator. Conversations can be interpreted on the fly into any of 32 languages.

Defending the service's pricing, Vodafone's Libby Pritchard called it an "extremely competitive" rate. "Fixed line alternatives are available for a similar price," added Pritchard, "but the advantage with this service is that you can use it any time, any place."

The mobile telco claims its service is also more economical than hiring an interpreter. "A call is usually only a few minutes long, and hiring an interpreter could incur an hourly rate," said Pritchard.