3 Tips for an Effective Telephonic Interpreting Service RFP

May 18, 2016


Which steps are you taking to find your next telephonic interpreting service?

A well-crafted request for proposal (RFP) saves you time and secures the best service to fit your organization. Follow the tips below to improve your RFP and reduce the number of inadequate proposals you may receive.

As you consider these tips, we believe you will see how large-scale interpreter contact centers provide an effective path to increasing your revenue and pleasing your customers.

1. Research the data of your non-English calls

Before drafting your RFP, learn how your organization currently handles limited-English calls. Consider points like:

Availability: During which hours do you operate and need access to the service? If you operate 24/7, your telephonic interpreting service should as well.

Languages: Which languages do your limited-English callers speak? A great interpreting service provides the languages you need to assist every customer.

Usage: How many minutes of interpretation per day do you estimate for your organization? You might multiply your current limited-English calls by your average call time for an informed estimate.

2. Formulate questions that discourage cut-and-paste responses

Interpreting service providers may respond to multiple RFPs at once using very similar proposals. Increase your chances of receiving a proposal truly tailored to you by framing each RFP question in terms of how the interpreting service will help you reach your organization’s goals. Be particularly specific in areas where an interpreting service proposal could be vague, such as:

Implementation: By which date would you like the service to be operational, and can the service provider meet this demand? How will the service provider ensure a smooth and seamless transition? You may find a project timeline and project manager from the service provider useful.

Interpreters: All interpretation services speak highly of their interpreters, but what specifically are they measured against? Do they receive special training or certification? Are they monitored for quality assurance beyond an initial assessment?

Reputation: What do others think about a particular interpreting service? Can the provider offer you references of existing—or even former—clients for first-hand feedback?

Reporting: Which service metrics would you like to know, and can the service provider measure and report on them? How much action from you do the service’s reporting and billing require?

3. Pay special attention to infrastructure, compliance, and security

Inadequate service may drive away your customers and attract unwanted attention from regulatory authorities. Your interpreting service should be especially strong in the following areas to satisfy your customers and comply with regulations:

Security: Data breaches can lead to massive fines and negative publicity. Which precautions does the service provider take to keep data and operations secure? Do interpreters work from home or on provider-controlled premises? Are they employees or only contractors?

Call Routing: Depending on where a call is routed, it may be intercepted by an unintended recipient. How and where are calls routed—do they stay in the US? How much direct oversight does the provider have over their routing? Is routing redundant? Is there a single point where failure may occur?

Compliance: Does the service provider hold any third-party endorsements? Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance, HIPAA Compliance, International Standardization Organization (ISO) quality endorsements, and other certifications offer you additional, objective assurances.

The tips outlined here could turn multilingual support into your newest competitive differentiator — one that you discovered via an effective RFP. Multilingual customers will appreciate the efforts you’ve made to serve them.

For more recommendations on finding your phone interpreter service, contact Brittney Smith at or call (520) 232-1653.

Written by CyraCom, LLC

Blogs filed under the CyraCom, LLC authorship are either collaborative efforts or originally authored by team members who are no longer with the company.