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Survey Reveals Buyers of Telephone Interpreting Services Place Quality and Speed Before Price

From 9-1-1 calls to insurance claims to courtroom trials, telephone interpreting (TI) services are used every day to enable individuals to communicate across language barriers. Market research firm Common Sense Advisory surveyed 144 organizations that purchase the phone-based services. The findings, which include the respondents’ vendor selection criteria and the highest, lowest, median, and average prices across multiple industries, are detailed in the firm’s June 2009 report, “Telephone Interpretation Procurement.”


The overwhelming majority of respondents (84.8 percent) said that interpreter qualifications were ‘very important’ to them, making this issue the most important consideration for TI buyers. “Price is always a factor when it comes to choosing a telephone interpreting provider,” comments Nataly Kelly, lead analyst for the study. “However, our research found that interpreter qualifications and connection speed matter more to most buyers.”


The 36-page report reveals detailed price breakdowns and distributions for five of the largest vertical markets: health care, financial services, public safety, legal services, and utilities. The firm found that average prices for telephone interpreting ranged from US$0.99 to US$1.36 per minute, depending on the industry in question. A third of the respondents (33 percent) reported paying between US$1.06 and US$1.25 per minute.


According to the results, health care buyers were even more likely to say that interpreter qualifications were critical to their vendor selection, with nearly unanimous ranking of this item as “very important.” However, price was a critical consideration for this group, too. The report also includes 127 recommended questions for requests for proposals (RFPs) related to technology, risk/liability, and interpreter qualifications, to help buyers with the vendor selection process.


“Telephone Interpretation Procurement” continues Common Sense Advisory’s research and insight into the area of telephone interpreting services. The report is available to members of Common Sense Advisory’s research. More information is available at www.commonsenseadvisory.com.
Submitted On: 1/11/2011

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