Does your business need telephone interpreting services? What about localization, document translation, or video remote interpreting?
OK OK, we’re admittedly a little biased.
In reality, it can be a tough decision, especially if you’ve never worked with a telephone interpretation, document translation, or language services company before. And we know the cost and implementation of multilingual support can seem prohibitive or out of reach. But before you write it off, keep reading. We’ve outlined 8 reasons why the benefits will certainly (certainly) outweigh the costs.
1. The U.S. is becoming more diverse by the day
You’ve likely seen this statistic: In the U.S., 1 in 5 people over the age of 5 speak a language other than English in their home. This number, 67.8 million people as of the 2019 American Community Survey, is bigger than the entire population of Italy. Individuals who speak Spanish at home, around 41.7 million, nearly eclipsed the Spanish-speaking population of Spain. This is a 140% increase from Census data gathered in 1990. (If this is all new to you, it’s pretty neat, right?)
And this growth is not going to stop, either. It’s predicted that, in 2050, there will be more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. And while Mexico is the top origin country of individuals who come to the U.S., individuals arriving from Asia are expected to become the largest group entering the U.S. by 2055, according to Pew Research Center. And this represents only a small handful of the 350 languages spoken in the U.S. today!
2. To improve your customer experience
If you type “good customer experience” into your Google search bar, you’ll get a whopping 3,820,000,000 results on any given day. It’s something businesses want and equally, if not more, it’s something customers expect.
Providing a good experience builds trust and, in turn, creates loyal customers who bring in more customers who bring in more customers. (It’s true — 77% of people are more willing to share a positive experience they’ve had with a brand.)
And language plays a role here. In a study of SaaS (software-as-a-service) users, when a company provided support in a customer’s native language, 70% of respondents stated that this made them more loyal to the brand. Conversely, in the same study, 29% of businesses admitted that they lost business because they didn’t offer language support.
3. And your customers want to shop in their language, too
The Common Sense Advisory (CSA) surveyed online shoppers in 29 different countries, including in North America, and found that 76% favor buying products in their own language. Forty percent even stated that they would never buy from a brand that doesn’t offer information in their language.
Also a good reminder: Just because some people may be proficient in English, doesn’t mean they want to conduct business or shop that way. In this same study, 60% of people who are confident reading in English still prefer customer care interactions in their native language.
4. Language services could be your differentiator
As we’ve seen so far, customer service is important to your customers and so is the ability to make purchasing decisions in their own language. These two are closely linked to revenue and building long-lasting customer relationships. So it would be easy to assume that most businesses would offer language support, right?
Not exactly. In a study by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), only 19% of contact centers provided multilingual support, and that support was limited to voice. But depending on your business, customers want more options, like email, chat, and self-service.
Remember those population stats from number one above? That’s huge buying power. Offering multilingual support presents an opportunity for businesses looking to attract new customers or position themselves ahead of competition.
5. Less stress for your employees
You wouldn’t leave your employees without a cash register at your store, a headset in your call center, or a chair in the office, would you? Of course not. You can think of language services the same way. It’s a tool to help your employees effectively do their jobs.
In addition, your employees don’t want to disappoint customers. And they don’t want to end up in an awkward situation trying to communicate in the rudimentary French they haven’t used since 8th grade. These situations are bound to end in either a miscommunication or frustration — for all involved.
Multilingual support can remove the language barriers between your employees and customers, allowing your employees to confidently perform their job and your customers to feel valued and heard.
Offering multilingual support is especially important in contact center environments and those businesses wishing to expand internationally. And trust us: Your employees will thank you.
6. To avoid breaking the law
If you work in a sector that receives federal funds (healthcare, government, legal, law enforcement, education, or health insurance sectors, for example), you may be legally required to provide language services to people who don’t speak English and to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. A few of these laws include:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Executive Order 13166
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
States may have their own requirements as well, as do some regulatory bodies in certain industries.
If you do not accept federal funding, and after careful research, you’ve found that your state’s requirements don’t apply to you regarding language access to non-English-proficient individuals, you may still be required to provide auxiliary aids or service to people who are deaf or hard of hearing under the effective communication provision of the ADA.
7. To supplement your existing language services
Let’s say you’ve thought about language services a lot, have done the math, and have hired a bilingual employee or two. (If you have, congratulations!) But what happens when one or both go on vacation? Are tied up in long calls? Are on a break?
Supplementing your existing language services with additional support can help when your bilingual employees are not available, or when you see an unexpected surge in callers who need assistance in another language. But before you start seeing nothing but dollar signs, move on to number 8!
8. It’s not as expensive as you think
Really, it’s not! Remember: You don’t have to hire a bilingual employee for every language your customers speak.
If you’re looking for telephone or video interpreting, either to handle the bulk of your interpretations, just a few a month, or overflow, you can contract with a language services company. And the good news is that you only pay for the minutes you use.
If you’re looking to build a knowledge bank in languages other than English, document translations are usually priced by word count, per project, but they can also be priced per page, per hour, or at a set rate. Localization generally costs per word, per page.
If you need help finding out what language services you need for your business, give us a holler. We’d love to chat with you about your interpretation and/or document translation needs!
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