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Internal Bilingual Employees and Outsourced Interpreters

Mar 31, 2014

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) recently surveyed contact centers on “The impact of Multilanguage Support on Customer Experience.”

Contact centers sometimes believe they must choose between either internal, bilingual agents or outsourced interpreters.

Is one choice better than the other?

First of all, ICMI’s data suggests that using either bilingual agents or outsourced interpreters produces great customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores: 72% said support in a customer’s native language increased their satisfaction with customer support, while 58% said it increased loyalty to the brand.

But is outsourcing multilanguage support through interpreters worthwhile?

Well, according to the white paper from ICMI:

82% of contact centers … say that CSAT scores for their external interpreters are better or equal than for their internal bilingual agents!


An Illustration of the ICMI data

What explains high CSAT scores for interpreters?

Well here is one theory: contact centers often recruit, train, and monitor their bilingual agents in English. Those bilingual agents may have poor language skills – but how would you know?

Interpreters, on the other hand, know the language and imitate your training. Interpreters are professional language conduits. Basically, their job is to accurately mirror all the great training you give to your agents but in a different language.

If you do not have an interpreter service – or you want a company like Voiance that has a minimum of 120 hours of interpreter training – perhaps it’s time you tried.

80% of foreign-born Americans speak a language other than English. Voiance Language Services provides multilingual support in over 200 languages to business and government. Our employee interpreters receive 120 hours of training, including language testing and instruction in listening and recall. Organizations use Voiance’s telephone interpretation to facilitate communication with customers. Voiance is a subsidiary of CyraCom International, Inc., the largest provider of Phone Interpretation that operates solely in the United States.