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When your business needs interpretation, there are a few decisions to make. You’ll need to ensure your customers receive excellent customer service from those qualified to interpret or competently speak those languages. Here’s some information to help you decide the right path for your business interpretation needs:

Option 1: Hiring bilingual employees

You’ll need to examine whether the benefits of hiring bilingual employees to help communicate with limited-English proficient (LEP) customers outweigh any disadvantages. According to survey results from Intercom, 85% of support managers say it’s challenging to find reps who speak more than one language. Here’s a helpful list of questions organizations should answer before hiring bilingual employees.

Did you know CyraCom offers a Language Proficiency Assessment in more than 45 languages?

This assessment provides an easy way to determine how well someone speaks their second language. The assessment uses the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) standards, a US federal organization that coordinates and shares information about language-related activities. We also offer an Interpreter Skills Assessment, which is available in more than 20 languages.

Option 2: Partnering with an LSP

Investing in phone interpretation performed by qualified professionals saves you the hassle of recruiting, hiring, assessing, and retaining bilingual employees. Plus, you can:

  1. Offer more languages as needed: Working with an LSP gives you access to interpreters hundreds of languages to call as needed to help those who speak less-common languages.
  2. Improve brand loyalty through multilingual customer service: Forbes reports that poor customer service costs businesses more than $75 billion a year. 75% of CSA Research survey respondents said they’re more likely to purchase the same brand again if customer care is in their language. For a company that provides good service, 66% of customers would be more loyal, 65% would be willing to recommend the company to others, and 48% would spend more money.
  3. Boost performance metrics: Unclear communication can automatically reduce your employees’ ability to offer support and resolve customers’ issues. ICMI partnered with us (formerly our subsidiary Voiance) to determine that after introducing a language interpretation service, first-call resolution (FCR), average handling time (AHT), and overall quality were positively affected by 36%, 20%, and 32%, respectively.

How to choose an LSP

With many options available for interpretation services, how do you choose the best one to work with? Vet potential LSPs by asking questions about:

Dedicated support team

Whether you have a question, need to resolve an issue, or want to review your data, you’ll need to know who to contact. Your LSP should supply an experienced, knowledgeable primary contact, such as a dedicated account manager, who simplifies access to the larger support team and ensures all your services work harmoniously.

Quality interpretation

High-quality phone and video interpretation require three key components:

  • Trained interpreters: Using an LSP with consistent, trained, and culturally competent interpreters can help reduce the risk of repeat calls and unsatisfied customers.
  • Reliable availability: If the LSP relies heavily on independent contractors rather than employees, they aren’t legally allowed to schedule interpreters and cannot reliably ensure interpreter availability and shorter wait times. Ask providers how they combat this issue.
  • Information security: Interpreters regularly handle sensitive customer information. You need detailed information about the LSP’s security measures to protect your organization and customers from a data breach.


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Lindsay Lawson

Lindsay Lawson

An experienced researcher, writer, and editor on language services-related topics, specializing in interpreting and translation services, how language works.