8 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Language Services Provider

What is important when looking for a new language services provider? Is it price? Is it a particular service? Whether you’re just beginning to offer multilingual customer support or you’re ready to switch providers, it’s important to make informed decisions about a new partner. When you’re armed with the right questions, it will help you deliver the quality results you are looking for. 

Here are 8 questions to ask a language services provider to ensure quality language support:  

 

Understanding Customer Support:

Is your language services provider truly able to offer customer support when it counts? Here are a few questions to ask to make sure you don’t get left on hold.

Can I access support when I need it?

If your language services provider offers 24/7 language services, you want to be sure that you are able to get customer support 24/7 as well. If you have an issue that requires customer support after business hours, you don’t want to be left hanging for an answer. Ask your language services provider if they offer customer support 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

Do you charge a higher rate for on-demand services used outside of regular business hours?

While many language service providers offer 24/7 support, some vendors may charge different rates after regular business hours. When looking for a new language services provider, be sure to ask if there are higher fees associated with after-hours usage, especially for on-demand services like telephonic interpretation or video remote interpretation. Language barriers can come up when you least expect it, so you’ll want to consider if there is any additional cost associated with a language services provider who charges after hour rate for on-demand services.

 

What happens if there is an emergency?

Not every situation that requires an interpreter will be planned in advance. Thousands of limited-English speakers call 9-1-1 and visit emergency rooms every day. Find out if a language services provider has the capacity and ability to support unexpected or emergency language needs. For example, if an emergency comes up that requires an on-site interpreter, find out if a potential language services provider can support emergency requests.  

BONUS TIP: In the event of a national emergency, find out what systems are in place to ensure there are no outages in interpreter services.  

 

Understanding Language Support

It’s possible that your language needs may only require one service, like telephonic interpreting. Or maybe the bulk of requests are limited to a few languages. You want to be able to scale your use of services as you need them and be sure your language services provider is able to meet your needs, not just today but in the future, as your language access requirements change. Is your provider is ready for changing needs? Some questions to ask:

 

Can they support the languages you need?

The U.S. Census Bureau Reports at Least 350 Languages Spoken in U.S. Homes. While you might have frequent requests in a few languages, you want to choose a language services provider who can meet your needs as they grow. When looking for an interpreting company, ask about the languages they provide and be sure to factor in future needs.

 

Do they have complete language services?

Maybe today your needs require only telephonic interpreting services, but as new needs arise, consider a language services provider that offers a complete range of services like Telephonic, Video, In-Person and Written Translation Services. If you have to work with multiple vendors to meet your needs, it can often lead to problems, frustration for staff and customers, and higher costs. When you know you have access to the services you need under one roof – it will be more efficient for your organization and will help you to provide the best possible language support for your clients, patients, and customers.

 

Do you offer support materials for your staff?

You want to be sure that language services are easy for your staff to use. Support materials help increase overall customer satisfaction, increase efficiency, and support your staff in communicating with both interpreters and Limited-English proficient populations. Regardless of industry, organizations need more support to properly service limited-English speaking customers. Ask a language services provider what kind of support materials are training are available and whether there are additional charges for this support.  

 

Understanding Quality of Interpretation and Translation Services:

Every industry is different and has their own unique needs. Not just anybody should be interpreting and translating for your industry. The best-qualified person – with specific knowledge of your industry and specialized terminology – should be there to support your needs. Here are some ways to ensure that you have access to the highest-quality language services:

 

Does your language services provider use certified interpreters?

For specialized industries like healthcare, ask a language services provider about the certifications and training required for interpreters. You want to be clear that linguists have the specific knowledge and training to ensure quality interpretation and mitigate risk. Using certified interpreters who are trained in your industry will enable you to provide trusted language support for your customers.

 

How do they monitor for quality assurance?

While there should absolutely be a process for hiring quality interpreters and translators, you want a language services provider that can demonstrate consistent quality monitoring. Ask about the process and how quality monitoring is documented. Your customers’ satisfaction depends on the quality of the support they receive. Be sure that your vendor has a dedicated process for ensuring that quality.

 

Affordability of interpreter services is a key component for any organization – but armed with these questions – you can ensure that quality of services is at the forefront of your decision. The truth is, not asking these important question may be much more costly in the long run (financially and for your reputation).

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Looking to provide high-quality, cost-effective language services for your customers? With over 99% of our current clients happy to recommend us, you’ll see why we’ve continued to grow. Telelanguage provides professional interpretation and translation services to over 1,400 organizations throughout the United States – across all industries. Contact Telelanguage today for a free quote. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality language services that we have been providing our customers for over 27 years.

 

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