The social distancing measures put in place all around the world to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 are having an undeniable effect on the global economy. Businesses have had to close their locations and begin operating fully online, while others have to rethink their whole business model in order to persist through these challenging times.
In a recent article published on the World Economy Forum’s website, Brian A. Wong, vice president of Global Initiatives for Alibaba recalls how very similar conditions impacted the development of Alibaba as the e-commerce leader it is today.
Nineteen years ago, the SARS outbreak forced Alibaba’s employees to leave the office and continue working from home. That’s when the young company launched Taobao, an online marketplace that would eventually become the largest in the world.
Like SARS, Covid-19 is accelerating a process of digital transformation in all industries. And the language services sector isn’t falling behind. While most language services providers (LSPs) are experiencing a decrease in requests for interpreting services, there’s a subsector of companies that are thriving. As a Nimzdi report notes,
“[T]here is one thing we know for certain: this crisis has given exposure to remote interpreting. The current situation provided the perfect opportunity for VIT [Virtual Interpreting Technology] providers to showcase the benefits of their remote solutions, and for skeptics to try them out and perhaps loosen their resistance to them.”
The virtual Interpreting Technology Providers consulted by Nimzdi reported an increase in interpreting requests ranging from 20% up to a record-breaking 250%. Is this a hint towards the future of the language industry?
Remote Solutions by Born-Digital Companies
Language services providers aren’t strangers to remote work. Many LSPs have been enjoying the advantages of a remote workforce for years. Hiring and operating remotely allows them to source multilingual talent from all around the world, and makes it possible for them to hire mother-tongue linguists regardless of their availability in the company’s area.
On the other hand, apps make the process of hiring a pre-vetted interpreter from a reputable company easy, cost-effective, and fast. With app stores filling up with machine translation apps that don’t guarantee clear, quality translations, it was only time until language services providers caught on and created their own solutions. These solutions thrive on combining the expertise of language professionals with the easiness and practicality of an app.
One of these solutions is Day Interpreting, a cross-platform remote interpreting solution created by Day Translations. Day Translations is a renowned LSP with over 12 years in the market and offices across 5 continents.
Day Interpreting can be accessed through a cross-platform app or a toll-free telephone number. Day Interpreting allows users to request the services of an expert interpreter instantly. Users pay per minute of interpreting, with no contract and no signup fees required. For instance, on the Day Interpreting cross-platform app, the user can choose to top up their account via Credit Card or Paypal. Once their account has balance, they can request interpreting services from the app, and pay the interpreter as they go, with their account balance. Users pay for what they get. No extra fees, no upfront costs. Meanwhile, corporate clients can choose to pay after receiving the service. And those relying on the app on a regular basis can reach out to the company to craft a monthly plan that fits their needs. To better serve organizations, Day Interpreting also offers integration into their own communication infrastructure, so they can seamlessly receive the assistance of an interpreter.
Day Interpreting relies on a powerful cloud communication platform, built for high volume and low latency communications. Its backend provides enterprise-grade security, protecting the privacy of users and interpreters alike. This security standard makes the service HIPPA-compliant, so it was initially marketed as the most convenient interpreting solution for telehealth vendors. The platform currently offers on-demand access to over 100 certified interpreters, covering commonly requested languages, such as Spanish and Japanese, as well as a wide variety of minority languages, including Oromo, Sylheti, Kinyarwanda, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Ilocano. Perhaps this is Day Interpreting’s greatest competitive advantage.
Is VIT Here to Stay?
During these trying times, technology has proven itself to be businesses’ greatest ally.
Virtual interpreting technology providers were already active before the pandemic – for instance, Day Translations’ interpreting platform was launched in 2018. But maybe, VIT companies were seeing something that their competitors were not seeing, and it only took a certain conjuncture for this particularly convenient way of delivering interpreting services to rise to the top.
Whether these types of services will continue to be the preferred option after social distancing measures have relaxed, only time will tell. But, when it comes to expedience and cost, their advantages are impossible to ignore.
Some companies continue to operate online, and the pandemic has caused an increase in the demand for telehealth solutions, and when it comes to facilitating clear and effective cross-cultural communication, interpreters can’t be substituted. But the channels through which they offer their services must be rethought and reinvented. Over the phone interpreting was a great breakthrough that allowed interpreters to be available instantly, wherever they were needed. Apps, convenient, portable, and always available, are a fitting successor.