We are living in a new normal. Faced with providing essential services from a distance, many organizations are being introduced to professional interpretation and translation for the first time.
In coming weeks, we will be producing articles on how to evaluate potential language-services providers. We also encourage you to download our ebook, Five Critical Criteria for Selecting Your On-Demand Interpreting Partner. An effective language-access program begins with knowing the languages spoken in your region. If you’re curious, we recommend downloading our new infographic, The Most-Spoken Languages Across America.
On-demand interpreting is a new concept to many. “You mean I can just press a button and a professional interpreter will appear? I don’t need to schedule in advance?” Yes, this concept that was once only conceivable on “The Jetsons” is now a reality. With just one touch, you can get a professional interpreter in audio or video in more than 240 languages. This service is available on-demand - you can do it without having to schedule in advance.
The speed with which you can connect to these interpreters varies among language-services providers (LSPs). It’s an important issue because many times you may be trying to connect at a time when seconds count. Also, if you make a lot of calls, the seconds you save will add up and result in a lower bill at the end of the month. Most importantly, a faster connect time results in a better experience for you and the limited-English speaker.
Four Questions for Every Language-Services Provider
Here are four questions you should ask of every provider:
1. How many seconds does it take to connect to a phone and video interpreter? Can you describe how you measure the process?
When evaluating speed to an interpreter, it’s important to understand how the measurement is being taken. LSPs use various interpreter connect processes. Some go directly to an interpreter; some use a call agent to gather data before connecting to an interpreter; some use an interactive voice response (IVR) to gather that data; and many use a combination of each of these methods.
2. What are your annual average call volumes for audio and for video? How many interpreters do you employ?
The ability to consistently handle large call volumes demonstrates a capable infrastructure that can adjust to surges in volume. Additionally, an increase in call volumes can negatively affect speed to answer if the LSP is not properly staffed. The combination of call volumes and speed-to-answer is a reliable indication of outstanding performance over time.
3. For video interpretation, what is your video interpreter fill rate? In other words, how many requests are filled by video interpreters, versus an audio default interpreter?
Most video interpreting platforms have the ability to default to audio if the video interpreter wait time is excessive or no video interpreter is available at all. It is important to understand how often the video interpretation request is filled with a video rather than audio interpreter to ensure you will be able to receive the service you desire.
4. Are you scalable? To what extent can you meet increased demands?
LSPs that can scale to demand immediately will be able to support any number of calls at the same time. Make sure that the LSP has the capacity to handle thousands of calls simultaneously at any given time.
Language Interpreter Services from LanguageLine
LanguageLine is able to get you connected to our team of 11,000 professional, on-demand interpreters via audio or video in seconds. Our website has a tremendous amount of information about how we answer the questions above for audio and video.
We can also translate and localize your written content.
We do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It all starts with a conversation. Please contact us via our website or by calling 800-752-6096. We would like to learn more about the language or cultural challenge you may be facing.