How to Integrate Multilingual Translations Into Your Customer Support Workflows

October 19, 2021

In the fast-paced world of customer support, every second counts. Responding to customer requests across email, phone, and live chat requires agents to have sharp time management and prioritization skills. And let’s not forget, customer service leaders also have to dedicate much of their schedule toward workforce management, data analysis, and process optimization, among other vital tasks.

Factor in the explosive rise in customer requests that many companies have seen since the beginning of the pandemic, and support staff have very little margin for error in their busy days. That’s why you can expect these teams to take a deep breath and start asking questions anytime a completely new element enters the equation. “What can we do to quickly adapt to this change? How will this affect the customer-centric metrics we’ve been working to improve? What about our operational KPIs?”

Informing your agents they need to begin servicing a new language (or several) might have them concerned that you’re essentially throwing a wrench into their well-oiled customer service machine. In reality, today’s AI translation technology has reached a place where customer support teams can communicate outside their native tongue with virtually no disruption to their current workflows and processes.

Let’s take a look at why technology (especially machine translation) is typically the best option for empowering your customer support teams to service new languages, plus three must-have features for your multilingual translation tool.

Why is technology necessary for multilingual translations in customer support?

Because efficiency is the name of the game in customer support, it’s understandable that many managers first look to hire bilingual or multilingual agents to service a new language. Unfortunately, finding talent with strong customer service and linguistic skills is quite difficult: One survey from Intercom found that 85% of support managers find it challenging to locate reps who speak more than one language.

Aside from a general scarcity of multilingual customer service talent, it can be quite costly to maintain a full roster of native-speaking agents. For GetYourGuide this meant that staffing was thin for certain languages: If their sole Japanese-speaking agent called in sick, responses to customer queries for that language would have to wait until they were back. Their department leader also had the challenge of having to scale teams up to match the surge in demand during busy travel seasons — and back down again during the slow winter months.

With Unbabel’s machine translation technology, GetYourGuide was able to achieve the translation quality and efficiency of native speaking teams at one-tenth of the cost. This is a big deal for companies that are looking to break into fresh markets and provide a stellar customer experience right off the bat. Why should a new audience be subjected to longer wait times and frustrating gaps in communications while English-speaking customers receive fast, 24/7 support (see: language inequity)?

In order for customer service agents to serve a variety of languages without any constraints, the translation technology they use shouldn’t have a steep learning curve or require a significant time commitment on top of their existing duties. Preferably, the technology serves as an “invisible translation layer” that allows staff and customers to interface smoothly without having to give any thought to the fact that they are speaking completely different languages.

Must-have features for seamless multilingual translations

Not all translation technologies are created equal. Here are three essential features to look for in a solution to ensure your agents are able to effortlessly roll multilingual capabilities into their current workflows and achieve maximum visibility into translation data.

Plug-and-play integrations

Ideally, an effective translation solution should be able to easily integrate with the tools your customer service team agents already know and love: no need for in-depth training to get up to speed and no switching back and forth between multiple applications to make things work. Our AI-powered, human-refined machine translation technology comes with an ever-growing list of integrations for chat, email, and FAQ, including:

  • Salesforce
  • Knowledge Base
  • Live Agent
  • Service Cloud
  • Zendesk
  • Agent Workspace
  • Support
  • Guide
  • Chat
  • Freshdesk Ticketing
  • Intercom Chat
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Genesys Purecloud
  • Helpshift
  • Wix Answers
  • Zoho Desk
  • Dixa

Beyond that, it’s also incredibly useful for your language solution to feature an open translation API so that developers and more technical folks can develop custom solutions and integrations as needed. For example, when wanted to create a language-agnostic helpdesk platform from scratch, they leveraged Unbabel’s public API to integrate our Language Operations hub into their agents’ existing workflows.

Advanced analytics and language insights

Another valuable feature to seek out in your customer support translation technology is the ability to capture all language-related data and present the information in a practical, easy-to-understand way.

For instance, the Unbabel Portal provides actionable insights into KPIs such as translation volume, quality, turnaround times, and more, allowing you to break down individual agent and overall team performance to identify areas for improvement.

All of this data is further visualized in the Language Brain, a multidimensional interface that shows agents things like most used language pairs for each channel, turnaround time comparison across different filters, and the evolution of your most important metrics over time.

Machine translation technology that learns your brand’s language

For consistently high-quality language translations, your solution should also be able to learn and adapt to your brand voice. At Unbabel, our team will work with you to capture all of the nuances of the unique language used across your company’s communications to reflect the right tone. This includes:

  • Standard instructions that are automatically displayed to translators so they understand the context and subtleties that surround certain terms, phrases, and clauses.

  • Glossaries that define brand-specific language, such as product names, titles, locations, and other special keywords.

  • Customized rulebooks that include guidelines about how to translate certain types of content, the level of formal or casual language to use in different circumstances, character limitations for each channel, and any other important information.

While some translation services may capture part of this info once and call it a day, our team continually works with you to ensure that, as your communication standards evolve, so does the machine translation technology. We also have a worldwide community of editors who review and refine translation to ensure accuracy and authenticity across every single language. For example, an editor would understand the intent of a word like eita, which has no exact meaning and is used to express joy, concern, or surprise in Brazilian culture.

The true potential of language

The list of benefits for using machine translation technology in customer service communications will only continue to grow. With the rise of the LangOps team leading and connecting translation operations across multiple departments, many companies are gearing up to give their localization function an AI-powered update.

Want to find out how a dedicated LangOps platform can help scale multilingual support without compromising on quality? Schedule a demo of Unbabel to see the true potential of what language can do for your organization.

About the Author

Profile Photo of Phill Brougham
Phill Brougham

Director of Product Marketing at Unbabel, Phill Brougham spent the last five years working for SaaS businesses focused on applying artificial intelligence to solving real-world business and productivity problems. Throughout his roles, Phill’s focus has been on translating technological capability into clear, understandable value.