As we all know the public sector faces extreme budgetary pressure. Language procurement is no exception to this. As our population becomes increasingly diverse, the need for accessible language solutions grows.

We explore three solutions that can help the public sector to access language services around-the-clock, without compromising on quality.

1. Using a mix of interpreting solutions
Having an interpreter on-site for a face-to-face meeting is usually the preferred option. There is no doubt this kind of interaction is personal and that the presence of an interpreter can be reassuring for all parties. However, there are alternatives that can be considered.

Telephone Interpreting (TI) is usually routed through an automated phone system and can provide an interpreter on the phone in seconds! This has immediate cost advantages for public sector organisations because the service is cheaper than receiving an interpreter in person. Whilst Telephone Interpreting cannot be a replacement for every scenario, the response time is guaranteed to be quicker. So for instance, front desk staff in a hospital may require an interpreter to facilitate a quick conversation, in this scenario Telephone Interpreting support should suffice.

While a solution can be found, a single service is rarely the answer. A consultation with a Language Solutions Provider will help to find the most appropriate mix.

2. Booking interpreters online
For large organisations, booking interpreters is often undertaken by multiple people and usually over the phone. This may appear to work well but for overall budget management and booking visibility, it does not create an audit trail. When this procedure is moved online, every booking is detailed and saved which creates a trail of activity. Also, unlike a phone conversation, an online system can save and recall details so repeat bookings are easily made.

Going online will usually speed up the booking process by helping requesters to track their activity and giving management greater control over budget use.

3. System reporting
Once bookings are being made online there is the additional benefit of system reporting. The reports you receive will depend on the package you have agreed with your Language Solution Provider but these reports can be invaluable for budgeting and forecast management. Activity can be tracked across face-to-face and Telephone Interpreting so that the solution mix being deployed (see item 1) can be fully assessed. With this data close to hand, on-going consultations with your Language Solution Provider can focus on the activity and solutions that will attract further efficiencies.

There are many ways to save on interpreting without cutting key support services. We have already helped many public sector organisations with their language procurement through the development of targeted, tailored solutions.