By: Candace Bazile | Volatia - Interpreter management software applications rule the $100B global language services industry, but what should matter to your growing Language company, the features a software app has, or the benefits the software delivers?
The language industry is a fragmented marketplace with key challenges that can hinder growth. Language services providers (LSPs) face persistent obstacles to fulfilling on-demand interpreter work assignments, including the cost of recruiting qualified interpreters in real-time; vetting and training new staff members; managing workflow across teams, and scaling their businesses globally.
Exacerbating the problem are interpretation software applications that purport to organize, manage, and automate customer and workflow management processes with no specific configuration for the language industry. As a result, standard information management technologies do little to support the exact needs of on-demand interpreters, on-demand, virtual workflow scheduling, and tiered billing processes that accommodate segmented pricing, by language or geographic region.
These barriers keep LSPs from doing what they do best—providing diverse clients with high-quality translation, interpretation, localization, or transcription services when needed, at scale.
Addressing this juggernaut has become a Volatia operating principle. Volatia is an innovative ecosystem of connected LSPs who partner to share on-demand interpreters, industry best practices, targeted recruiting, vetting, and training services, using Volatia’s proprietary, global interpreter platform, terpX™.
terpX is our cloud-based workflow management software platform specifically designed for the language industry. Because of our continuous improvements, it offers the most advanced automation in the industry.
terpX handles interpreter assignment scheduling, on-demand interpreter services, customer service interactions, interpreter profile management, interpreter payments, and customer billing. Working feverishly to advance this tool helped us to disrupt siloed information storage practices that came from our days of piecing together several backend software applications that cannot speak to one another.
Our quest to simplify workflow and put a few more dollars back into our pocket pushed us to mature terpX, making it possible for LSPs in our network to share resources and tools that help them scale for explosive growth. So, we feel obliged to share the knowledge we've gathered along the way.
Our partners can now work smarter, overcoming barriers while advancing their businesses at a 30% to 50% cost savings. We call this “the power of singularity."
But what makes a software platform the tool of choice for LSPs? Is it platform features, bells, and whistles? Or is it how the system performs to benefit an LSP’s overall business objectives?
These are the questions we spent the last decade exploring and answering. Consequently, by sheer necessity, our findings translated us into a lean software developer and subject matter expert on the topic. We discovered, through trial and error, the fundamental importance of benefitting business objectives through enhanced daily software functionality.
As a guideline, we learned to apply six principles of measurement for assessing the critical benefits that any LSP needs from an interpreter and workflow management software platform. When you choose to assess or upgrade your current software platform consider these six principles:
Multi-purpose Functionality - Does the system you use, or are considering using, manage both interpreter profiles and interpreter work assignments? A thriving LSP NEEDS both in one integrated platform to facilitate cross-pollination of interpreter certifications with a customer’s assignment preferences.
Order Replication – Performance for the sake of performance prioritizes speed and power over form and function. Becoming a trusted voice in the industry requires an LSP to master the form and function of the interpretation and translation business. That means replicating a work order to several interconnected, public agencies, across a large enterprise footprint that a limited English proficient (LEP) individual interacts with, using as few steps as possible.
Recurring Orders – Likewise, the public life of an LEP in need of city and state resources is shaped by multiple visits to public health, human, and social services providers. Make sure the software that interests you also decreases scheduling errors by enabling your customer to set an order to recur over a period of time, in specific locations, in as few steps as possible.
Order Specificity | Expanded Order Settings – Do not be fooled by bells and whistles. An LSP needs to specify unique preferences for every order to ensure that all parties involved have a deep dive understanding of what is needed and what is being provided. A granular view of detailed information allows for better decision-making during crunch times.
Unique Messaging – To further eliminate order errors and cost overruns, ensure that your software upgrade empowers you to add and respond to detailed notes in each work order so that they're visible to all eligible end-users. There is no such thing as over-communicating a work request. Can your software integrate unique messages with static content to personalize every language services appointment?
Custom Reporting – Your software will benefit your long- and short-term business objectives if it can produce custom reports that include and go beyond language preferences, call volumes, and billing rates. Select a software platform that produces multifaceted, custom reporting on factors that move the needle in the language industry. You want usage reports in real-time, broken down by language, facility, division, and cost center.
If you keep in mind your desired outcome for every transaction, over the power and flashiness of marketed software features, you will select a software tool that interacts so seamlessly with daily business functions it becomes indistinguishable from the transactions it performs, and that's what we all want.
Business moves at the speed of thought. Ideally, to be industry-leading, interpreter platforms must leverage cloud-based computing, frontend customer software integrations, mobile application access, and time-saving automation that inspires productivity and thought leadership. This framework provides the perfect place to start your research.