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Artificial Intelligence for Interpreter Bookings Now Available to Language Services Buyers
Posted by Hélène Pielmeier on May 3, 2016  in the following blogs: Interpreting
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The interpreting technology front has been particularly active lately. After LanguageLine announced the release of a new video remote interpreting solution, thebigword launched a new interpreting management product called IMS Direct. Announced today, the software-as-a-service solution (SaaS) is for buy-side organizations and addresses the need for automation in interpreter assignments.

Since 2010, thebigword has been using internally an interpreting management system that automates fulfillment of on-site and over-the-phone interpreting requests. The software’s strength is artificial intelligence to enable the fulfillment of on-site interpreting bookings in minutes thanks to matching technology and SMS messaging communications. What the company is doing is making the product available to buy-side organizations as a solution that they can white label for their use and manage their own teams of on-site interpreters.

Why is this availability to buyers so important? Innovation on the interpreting management front is slow-going due to a fragmented market. More so than for translation services, providers that specialize in face-to-face interpreting tend to have a very small regional footprint. Providers often use low-tech systems, such as manual spreadsheets, or off-the-shelf solutions – many of which are old, dated systems. The savvier ones develop their own solution, but as it becomes their competitive advantage, they don’t sell it to other providers or even to their own clients. With this release, thebigword is enabling its clients to optimize their own scheduling.

Mark Clayton, Director of Technology at thebigword, underscored the value of IMS Direct to the company’s clients. “Organizations with in-house booking teams, for example, governmental bodies and health care institutions, want access to our technology because they have manual processes based on spreadsheets and emails.” Clayton continued, “Our data shows that it takes an average of 12 minutes to source an assignment manually, but we found that we could automate 80% of our own interpreting bookings. Buyers that are able to replicate that success can increase capacity or access a significant saving in resources.”

While thebigword’s move may seem to empower clients at the detriment of revenue from selling interpreting services, we contend that it’s a smart play. Once the company penetrates an organization with its technology, thebigword becomes the logical go-to provider for overflow work that the client’s supply chain can’t handle with its own resources. In addition, the per-booking fee levied on each assignment also creates a non-negligible revenue stream with organizations with high volumes of assignments.

Have you developed your own interpreting management system? If so, contact us. We are currently conducting a series of interviews and system demos with companies that developed interpreting management systems, as well over-the-phone and video remote interpreting platforms.


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