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Global Business 10.03.17 BLOG 

How to Choose a Language Services Provider

By Michael Edwards, Vice President, TransPerfect Connect

International Call Center

How to Choose a Language Services Provider

In part one of this two-part blog series, we discussed why it’s important to partner with a language services provider to enhance the multilingual capabilities of your contact center. In this second installment, we provide some helpful tips for selecting the ideal language services provider.

Communicating with your customers or clients can be challenging:

  • One in five US residents speaks a language other than English at home, according to census data
  • An estimated 36 million American adults report having some trouble hearing, according to the CDC
  • More than 300 languages are spoken in US homes

Choosing the right language services provider can help you meet the language needs of your customers. Here are four critical factors to consider:

1. Operational Security and Reliability

Many language services providers are small teams that come and go. Almost every company will say they are stable and reliable—don’t just take them at their word. Ask them to provide evidence, such as:

  • How long have they been in business? What type of services do they offer? (For example, TransPerfect has been providing language services for over 25 years. Those services include over-the-phone interpretation, video remote interpretation, onsite interpretation, language assessment, call center services, document translation, and website localization, to name a few.)
  • Do they utilize call centers or just work-from-home contractors?
  • How do they handle sensitive customer information?
  • Are their processes audited? Can you audit their processes on site?
  • Do they take calls offshore or keep them in the United States?

2. Interpreter Quality

Interpreters serve as an extension of your business. In most cases, your customers don’t realize that you are using an external service to handle their calls. Interpreters should be trained in your company’s industry terms and jargon. They should meet rigorous linguistic standards and have their skills assessed regularly. Here are a few things to ask:

  • What kind of training do interpreters receive?
  • Do interpreters have specific areas of expertise?
  • How are calls monitored for quality assurance and how often?
  • Is there a formal quality assurance program?

3. Visibility

A good language services provider should be a viewed as an extension of your internal customer service team. Since they are assisting with your customer and client calls, they should be able to give you valuable insight into your business. Be sure to ask these questions:

  • Do they provide an online portal so you can access your call information?
  • Is this data real-time only or archived?
  • Can you manipulate the data for your own needs?
  • Is this information secure?
  • Is there a charge to access this data?

4. Infrastructure

As an extension of your customer service team, you need to be able to access your language service provider quickly and reliably. Waiting on hold or being dropped from a call is frustrating and ruins your customer’s experience. Be sure to ask your language service provider the following questions:

  • What is the average speed of answer (ASA) you can expect? Will they put that in the contract?
  • How is ASA reported to you?
  • What is their percentage of dropped calls?
  • What types of system redundancy are in place to insure you can gain access to their services?

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