You Get What You Pay For – Part II

In our previous post, You Get What You Pay For Part I, we discussed the price-driven trend many have fallen into when selecting a language service partner. Metaphrasis is trying to change this discussion by highlighting all of the complexities that go into quality language services. It is important to understand when working with a professional company what determines the price and what value you are receiving. Here are some of the factors that help determine the price you pay for services.


Interpreters cannot be plucked off the internet and be ready to work. It takes responsible and knowledgeable people to know how to train new people or vet existing ones in our profession. Did we say profession? Yes it’s a profession. Interpreters consist of doctors, professional linguists, people with a passion to advocate for limited English speaking communities and those who embrace diversity. The starting point for this career begins with the intellectual capacity to produce language in two directions. However, an interpreter is more than his/her language skills. An interpreter is a person who manages the profound responsibility of the work with empathy, maturity, humility and tact. It requires a person who knows they will never be entirely faithful in rendering the message all the time and because of this, never stops learning and improving themselves. It takes a person who craves supervision, direction, guidance, peer-review, training and ongoing testing. This isn’t something that can be measured in price, but will most definitely be measured in results.

Assignment Distribution

Did you know some vendors assign projects to as many interpreters/translators as possible at a time utilizing portals without setting up any filters or identifying criteria?

Different industries require different expertise and training such as medical, legal, business conferences or educational settings. All of these settings call for interpreters and translators with specific subject-matter knowledge.

For example, interpreting in conference settings may require a simultaneous interpretation skillset and familiarity with the subject matter at hand, whereas consecutive interpreting is primarily used in medical appointments. Interpreters called for medical and legal interpreting are highly skilled and must be familiar with specific terms. A manufacturing brochure shouldn’t be assigned to a translator who mainly works in the education space. Get the drift?

At Metaphrasis, our trained Client Experience Team manages and identifies a targeted group of professional linguists for each assignment to ensure the highest quality experience possible. Factors in our linguist selection include language specialty, dialect, proximity to location, industry expertise, level of experience relative to the subject matter, previous experience with client and location, mode of interpreting, availability to name a few. Once the right candidate is identified then he or she is assigned accordingly. Is this a slower process? Yes! However, we believe it’s important to identify the right person for the right job to ensure client satisfaction.

All Professional Companies Work With the Same Interpreters

This may be true in some cases, however, did you know that some language service companies never get to meet the interpreters face to face?

We not only conduct interviews of trained interpreters, utilizing our own staff and not a third party, we also host a new interpreter orientation conducted by Elizabeth Colón, the founder of Metaphrasis. We believe it is critical that we meet each individual that will represent our company and ultimately your organization. We take the time to share our high quality standards and professional expectations and share the importance of complying with client policies and expectations. Having this conversation face to face reinforces the importance of quality and professionalism in anything we do. It also reminds them that because something may be acceptable to another company it may not be with ours. Our high standards have deterred some interpreters from joining our team. But we are focused on having interpreters on board with our same values.

In Summary

Are you looking for a true partner or just another vendor? In other words, do you want someone focusing on your business in a transactional manner or a strategic manner? At Metaphrasis, we consider ourselves a true partner. We take the time to align our services with your business goals and vision. This takes time, a lot of hard work and dedication, creative thinking and collaboration with our clients. In order for language service companies to sustain their commitment to quality and meet compliance requirements, clients need to understand that this incurs a cost, and at times, the cost needs to be shared by all parties.

Language access is not just a simple business transaction, and to serve customers better, we must change the way we do business. It is our hope that this article allows you to begin thinking about your organizations’ process when selecting language services. Ask the hard questions. Are you really getting the same quality service for a lower price? We encourage you to start a dialogue with us about your language access needs and we’ll show you how we can provide quality AND value.