Essential Factors to Consider in an OPI Partner
Once you learn of the business benefits of using over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) services, your #1 question may be what to look for in an interpretation provider. In this well-established industry, there is a seemingly endless choice of translation and interpretation agencies, known as language service providers, around the world.
To help you narrow down your options, we’ll look into the must-have characteristics of a high-quality phone interpretation agency and review the most important features that make a big difference in the quality of services you receive.
Availability and Scheduling Flexibility
If you’re looking for OPI services, your company is likely either global in nature or offers essential services like health care. For this reason, you place a high value on 24x7x365 availability.
- Round-the-Clock Schedule: Your provider should be at your disposal whenever language services are needed – days, nights, and weekends.
- Flexible Scheduling for Global Conversations: If your business crosses multiple time zones, flexible scheduling allows smooth communication between any language and country.
- Rapid Connect Times: The best interpretation providers clearly communicate their average connect times so your customers, patients, and employees can count on prompt multilingual assistance whenever they need it.
Language and Dialect Selection
In order to serve a diverse clientele, hiring an interpretation company with a wide range of available languages and dialects is a wise choice. For example, in practical terms, there is no such thing as universal Spanish, and it really helps to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with any Spanish speaker, whether they’re from Spain or Argentina.
Thinking Beyond Today
Agencies with a large selection of OPI languages commonly offer a comprehensive menu of language services. Sometimes, over-the-phone interpretation is just the first step in a years-long relationship with a language agency – and it’s good to know that should your needs evolve, you can count on your same trusted partner to grow with you.
Finally, agencies that offer a wide array of languages are generally able to optimize some of their fixed costs, which most likely translates to a more competitive price for you.
Robust Telephony Infrastructure
Dependable real-time interpretation starts with a strong telephony infrastructure; reliable providers are capable of handling high call volumes while ensuring consistent quality. These agencies offer high-definition audio and robust backup systems to guarantee clear, uninterrupted service, even during peak times.
We’ll focus on technology recommendations in an upcoming issue of this article series, so stay tuned.
Review Provider Certification and Compliance Standards
When selecting an over-the-phone interpretation provider, ask about their compliance and certification standards – these speak volumes not only about the quality and integrity of their interpretation services but also protect your organization’s legal interests.
Key Certifications and Compliance Standards
- ISO 17100 – International standard for translator and interpreter qualifications.
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – Critical for medical and healthcare interpretation to ensure the protection of personal health information.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Ensures services are accessible to individuals with disabilities and/or difficulties in communication.
The Impact of Certification on Service Quality
Certified providers are more likely to have solid processes in place to select and train interpreters, protect confidentiality, and carry out quality control. This results in higher standards of professionalism and satisfaction for all involved.
Looking at Customer Service and Support Standards
When it comes to customer service, not all interpretation providers are created equal. Explore how the providers you are considering prioritize customer service and support. Ask for specific details and examples of their dedication to their customers.
The Role of Customer Service in Handling Issues and Concerns Efficiently
Although the best interpreting agencies plan ahead and have a solid infrastructure in place to avoid disruptions, problems can sometimes happen. You may not realize beforehand how important it is to have access to a reliable, responsive support team – but when your business and your customer satisfaction are on the line, timely assistance becomes paramount.
Quality Support as an Indicator of a Reliable Interpretation Service
High-quality support doesn’t just solve problems; it also prevents them. The best type of customer service and support is proactive, not reactive, systematically identifying and reducing points of friction before they affect service.
Evaluating Responsiveness and Resolution Times
A fairly accurate way to evaluate a company’s customer service dedication is to find those that offer clear and measurable resolution times, giving you peace of mind that support is available and will be handled expediently.
- Accessibility: Can you easily reach support when you need it, regardless of time zones or working hours?
- Communication: Does the provider offer multiple channels (phone, email, chat) to communicate with their support team?
- Resolution Protocol: Is there a clear process for reporting issues and tracking the resolution status?
Ask About Data Security and Confidentiality Measures
When choosing an over-the-phone interpretation provider, an important concern is the safety and confidentiality of your sensitive information; make sure you review the safeguards in place against data breaches.
Ask how long they keep records of the interpretation sessions, what their security systems are, and their approach to protecting data from unauthorized access.
Compliance with Data Privacy Laws
Lastly, it’s crucial that the interpretation provider complies with all relevant data privacy laws. This includes international, federal, and state regulations that govern the use and protection of personal information. Compliance ensures that the provider is held to a high standard of data management and follows best practices to protect your information.
Concluding Thoughts on Selecting Your Over-the-Phone Interpretation Service
Choosing the best telephonic interpretation provider to meet your needs requires some online research and a conversation with each provider you are considering.
- Given the importance and high stakes of multilingual communication, it’s worth spending some time thinking of your business goals and service expectations around over-the-phone interpretation. Importantly, what will it mean to your customers, employees, or patients when language and comprehension barriers are eliminated?
- Over the course of one or more initial consultations with your preferred candidates, try to evaluate their ability and dedication to serving your business now and into the future. They should always be willing to answer any and all of your questions.
- Then, dive into the services being offered; review the certifications, quality assurances, telephony infrastructure, downtime guarantees, confidentiality and, of course, interpretation standards. Having this information will empower you to make a confident, informed choice.
Next Steps in Your Provider Selection Journey
We hope this guide on how to choose a telephonic interpretation provider is useful in your journey. You can learn more about our over-the-phone interpretation services or schedule a consultation to discuss your particular language needs.