Bilingual and Multilingual Call Centers

In the April issue of Connections Magazine we covered language interpretation services. These are large call centers that employ bilingual and multilingual reps who perform interpretation services over the phone. Typically, they have thousands of reps and can handle hundreds of languages. To use these services, the agent in the originating call center conferences the caller to a rep at the language interpreter. The interpreter relays communication between caller and call center agent; the call center agent documents the call for the client. Although this is a practical way to respond to language differences, it can also be cost prohibitive when used too often.

Another solution, when a commonly used language is involved, is to outsource the calls in an alternate language to a bilingual call center that covers that language. All calls in the base language (generally English) are handled at the primary call center, while calls in the secondary language (Spanish and French are the most common) are routed to the bilingual call center. The bilingual call center agent interacts directly with the caller and documents the call; there is no conferencing involved. The information at the bilingual center is then sent back to the first call center or directly to the client. The fees for outsourcing calls to a bilingual call center in this nature are often far less then using a language interpretation service. This is even more true if the outsource call center is in another country with a favorable exchange rate or lower labor rate.

See the listing of Bilingual and Multilingual Call Centers at

[From Connection MagazineJune 2003]

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