Cost and Integrity
Over my recent Sunday morning coffee/newspaper routine – I read an article entitled ‘How a Project Went Wrong’.. It was stunning and difficult to comprehend. Contractors had worked in a local high school removing asbestos without following safety protocol, contaminating the environment and sending poisonous toxins into the air. I thought of the children and teachers going through their day innocently breathing in and out….
But what was even worse? – this happened repeatedly.
Shocking violations from vendors that had previously been cited for creating dangerous environments, ignoring industry protocols. Yet these same businesses were awarded additional contracts – in the same school district – Horrified as I again thought of these children breathing in killer chemicals…I dug further to find out ‘why’.. and there it was – because they were the lowest bidder.
Sixteen years ago, when my business was just an idea of ‘how to do it better’ – I had encountered far too many bilingual individuals acting as Interpreters or Translators with no formal training or certification. Along with too many agencies I worked for that had no vetting process or support those of us in the field.
So my grandiose idea of transforming the experience for those utilizing interpreting services, along with visions of creating a more supportive and professional environment for the Interpreters themselves was born. My ‘win/win’ scenario was now my business plan.
But I also found quickly that my plan came with a cost. With so many contracts dependent on only that bottom line ‘lowest bidder’.. it became our responsibility to prove that having higher standards actually lower customer costs in the long run.
To our customers it means different outcomes depending on the environment:
In medical environments: Where Dr/Patient communication is so critical – It assures medical professionals that their Interpreters are familiar with medical terminology and understand the various medical environments. This allows for quicker diagnosis/treatments and less repeat visits. Resulting in a healthier patient and healthier Dr/patient relationship.
In business: There are a world of new markets available if language and cultural barriers are removed. Having accurate translations can open a flood gate of new opportunities, beginning with websites and social media and ending in business negotiations. Only having one chance to make a first impression to the world, that first impression has to be impeccable.
In education: Thousands of deaf and hard of hearing students utilize Interpreters from elementary school to post-secondary settings. Having a highly skilled Interpreter familiar with class content offers the best chance of success for students, alleviating repeating classes due to communication breakdowns. Not to mention happier and more successful students.
and the list could go on…but the point is
..when you have highly skilled, professional Interpreters and Translators that consider cultural and linguistic nuances, coupled with an agency experienced in making the correct matches, it is a win-win…even when the ‘bottom line’ cost may (initially) seem higher. Allowing you to create a healthy environment because you have the vision to look past the lowest bidder.