On the surface, video remote interpreting (VRI) platforms offered by different language service providers can seem similar to one another. In general, you open a program on a mobile device or stationary computer, select the language you need, and connect to an interpreter over a video call. So choosing a VRI solution should be straightforward, right?
Not necessarily. Assuming all solutions are the same without considering some key factors might come with unintended consequences, like poor video, audio, or interpreter quality; unavailable resources; and an inflexible design. It pays to do your homework. After all, you wouldn’t buy a car without comparing competitors’ gas mileage or safety ratings.
Following are four things to consider when looking for a VRI solution, so you can choose the right platform for your organization’s needs.
1. A complete, quality language service package
Compared to over-the-phone (OPI) services, which have had a few decades to establish itself as a trusted source for language interpretation, VRI is a relatively young technology. As such, the language selection for VRI generally isn’t as robust as OPI services. Most reputable language service providers will have interpreters available for on-demand video calls in a number of languages, but if you are in need of a language not offered through video, you’ll want a way to access OPI quickly — and you’ll want the same quality to boot.
When you’re vetting the VRI solution, don’t forget to also pay special attention to their OPI services; there is a good chance that your VRI provider will offer OPI integration into your platform. If their telephone business isn’t very established, it doesn’t mean they offer poor quality, but it might mean they haven’t had the years of experience other providers have had to home their interpreter selection process, and time to build customer longevity, satisfaction, and, ultimately, trust.
2. HIPAA compliance and security
It would be remiss not to mention security in this list, as nearly every business needs to protect their proprietary information (not to mention their customers’ privacy). Healthcare entities in particular need to pay special attention to their systems to ensure they’re following applicable laws and regulations, like HIPAA, to safeguard medical records. Checking security measures on the platform itself isn’t the only thing to look for. Make sure the language service provider you partner with is doing their due diligence and is in full compliance with HIPAA standards themselves, follow security best practices in their own facilities and with their own infrastructure, and have solid processes in place to handle their customers’ data.
3. Implementation flexibility
Implementing a VRI solution can run the gamut from simple and easy to complex and difficult, depending on many varying factors at your organization. Some will be able to flip the switch immediately, while others will need time to acquire buy-in from different departments and to work out logistics of a system-wide rollout. Whether you’re transitioning to a different provider or starting services for the first time, it’s important to partner with a language service provider that will work with you where you are. Consider the following when looking at different platforms:
- A customized plan. Not every plan will work for every organization. Your provider should tailor an implementation proposal to meet your needs instead of shoehorning your organization into a one-size-fits all offering.
- Training. This is an essential component of any deployment. Everyone learns differently, so look for a language service provider that offers an array of training modalities. Think on-site, webinar, videos, conference calls, written materials, or any combination thereof.
- Cost of implementation. The cost of a full implementation, including a specialized plan and training, should be nominal or free. Compare implementation costs to ensure you’re not getting unnecessarily gouged.
4. Integration considerations
If and how a VRI solution can integrate with your existing infrastructure is a question that should be asked early in your conversation with any language service provider. This isn’t a necessity, of course, as some organizations may want a stand-alone solution that doesn’t interact with their in-house system and tools. Some solutions, like CLI’s, offer the best of both worlds. Using a web browser, you can access our platform on any device, which means it’s accessible with existing equipment or on self-contained devices or carts
Regardless of whether or not you choose to integrate your VRI solution into your environment, there are other critical factors to consider: how you staff will be using the platform, will it easily fit into your current workflow, do you have a good strategy in place, and who is responsible for back-end management.
Have any questions about which VRI platform is right for your business? Contact us! With over 22 years of experience providing on-demand language services, we are seasoned language experts with the knowledge you can count on to ensure you’re choosing the right VRI solution.