Certain aspects of translation and interpretation must be performed by humans. And some language services may never be automated.
However, language services work better when they’re supplemented by automation. Although things like professional publication and American Sign Language interpretation require a human touch, there are processes that can be automated (and should be automated) to free up human resources for doing the things that only humans can do.
But the automation doesn’t have to be entirely internal, for the purposes of increasing the efficiency of client-facing language services. Language service providers can offer automated language services to clients.
Additionally, actual translation and interpretation aren’t everything you need for proper language services. Real-time video and audio connections are the backbone of language services. People don’t need to translate or interpret anything if they can’t speak to each other.
Long distance communication brings up something else: the number of people and businesses that need language services is increasing. Regardless of how good automated translation and interpretation become, languages aren’t disappearing.
In fact, due to expanding global customer bases, the number of languages a company will need to speak is going up.
It’s estimated that by 2022, it will require 59 languages to reach 96% of the online population. Additionally, 71.5% of call centers find that customer satisfaction improves when interpretation services are provided.
That’s incredibly valuable to businesses, since 91% of unsatisfied customers will simply abandon a brand without ever complaining.
All this means that the demand for language services is only going to increase as companies look for ways to provide the best customer service and reach the largest online audience (especially since reaching people online is becoming more important than ever).
Therefore, the machine translation market is anticipated to reach a global market value of $980 billion by 2022.
That’s a lot of languages and a lot of people that need to speak more than one of them. That’s powering one big trend for language service providers: cloud adoption. Here’s why:
What is rapid cloud adoption and why is it happening?
Rapid cloud adoption is simply the process of moving language processing and machine translation to cloud-based servers.
This makes a lot of sense. Moving things to a cloud-based model reduces hardware management and maintenance for language service providers.
A cloud-based service also makes it much easier to provide language services to customers all over the world. Clients could conceivably access language services through their browser, if simple service delivery is the top priority.
For app developers and software providers, it can also remove the need to store apps and software locally on a customer’s computer, though that may not be the best solution for every provider.
In short, moving language services to a cloud-based model is a more efficient way to deliver language services to clients and enable employees to supplement their efforts with automated language processing.
Unfortunately, not everything can be moved to the cloud. Migrating to the cloud is only viable for services that can be performed by centralized processing, such as:
- Automated document and text content translation.
- Text translation for multilingual SEO.
- Talk-to-text services.
- Remote interpreter connections.
The list goes on. But any language service that can be performed or augmented with computer processing can typically be at least partially moved to a cloud-based model.
However, regardless of how you deliver your services as a language service provider, there are a few key features that will make your service as perfect as possible.
How to deliver the best language services possible
Before we get into this, not every feature will be great for every language service. For example, language services that deal primarily with text documents may not have a huge need for real-time video.
But, if you have access to all of these features, you’ll be able to offer the best possible language services.
Real-time voice analytics and sentiment analysis
This is primarily for talk-to-text applications. Many languages have words that sound the same, but have different meanings (hey there, English!). Other languages have words which have nearly the same pronunciation, but the meaning changes with inflection.
And, even if all languages were simple, you’d need real-time voice analytics to turn talk into text in real time.
So talk-to-text services require real-time voice analytics and sentiment analysis to produce accurate text from voice conversation.Real-time voice analytics and sentiment analysis require media streaming for certain use cases, primarily use cases involved with phone conversations.
WebRTC and video calling
Interpretation services are a staple in the deaf community. So any language service provider that wants to offer a complete suite of interpreted languages needs some sort of real-time video capabilities. There’s almost no other way to interpret visual languages for phone calls.
Integration of SMS messaging
Over 80% of Americans use text messages for daily communication, and a whopping 99% of texts are opened, with an average reading time of just three minutes. The immediacy and convenience of text messaging makes it a perfect channel for customer support.
That’s why language service providers are beginning to incorporate SMS into their core offering, from initiating calls with a secure link sent via text, to appointment reminders that reduce no-shows and maximize efficiency. SMS messaging is a must-have for any company wanting to take a true omnichannel approach to customer experience.
How to get the features you need
As you may have noticed, these features are provided by your carrier. Also, your ability to utilize these features in your language services depends largely on the API from your communications carrier. A poorly designed API will derail a lot of functionality.
So you need to ask your communications provider a few questions before you get on board with them. Here’s a quick checklist of questions to ask a potential communications carrier:
What API support do you have?
The only thing worse than a poorly developed API is a poorly supported API. That might sound hyperbolic. But if the API is poorly designed, you probably just won’t use it.
But if the API is good, you’ll want to use it. Your developers get saddled with the task of figuring out how to make the good API work the way you want. So, 24/7 developer support, great API documentation and SDKs in your programming language of choice are important for efficient app development.
How reliable is your network?
Obviously, it’s unacceptable to have a translation or interpretation service fail in the middle of an audio or video call. Particularly when you're dealing with sensitive data in heavily regulated industries like healthcare, legal and financial services.
So, it’s important to find out how reliable your carrier network is before you connect any services to it. A good carrier network should provide a 99.999% uptime SLA. And your carrier should have backups and redundancies built into their network architecture to maintain connections in the event that there’s a hardware failure somewhere.
Who controls your network?
Interestingly, many communications providers outsource network connectivity to third party operators.
The issue with this is that the carrier doesn’t actually have complete control over an outsourced or partially outsourced network connection. So it’s tricky (maybe impossible) for the carrier to fix problems or guarantee any performance from a third party network.
If your carrier owns and operates their own network, you can be confident that they can actually deliver the performance and reliability that they claim.
Choosing a carrier
Ultimately, the carrier you work with has a huge impact on the services you can provide and the quality of those services.
That impact gets even bigger if your language service relies on cloud-based language processing and machine translation.
So it’s super important to find out if your communications provider offers key features and that their network is reliable and capable enough to be the backbone of your language service.
Be sure to investigate and ask some important questions before you sign on the dotted line and tie yourself to a carrier, because it might be tough to make a switch later on.
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