05 Dec

RFP Guide

 CyraCom RFP Guide 



Complete Language Services Request For Proposal (RFP) Guide and Sample RFP

Introduction to CyraCom’s Guide

Our goal in this Request for Proposal (RFP) guide is to utilize our industry expertise to assist you in finding the most appropriate language services provider for your facility’s specific needs.

The guide will explain and demonstrate the process of creating a comprehensive language services RFP. You will be able to view a
sample RFP and learn the best practices of language services RFPs. As the guide progresses, explanations and further information
accompany sections and questions.

A Language Services RFP for You

Many healthcare facilities utilize RFPs as a standard procurement practice to ensure a competent and healthcare-focused
language services provider is selected. RFPs enable easy comparisons between all potential language service providers because
they facilitate consistency in response format.
However, since creating a quality RFP requires time and a significant amount of resources, organizations sometimes purchase
language services without an RFP, especially if language services do not generate significant costs.

After you have carefully considered your available resources, we encourage you to use this RFP guide as a starting point for issuing
an RFP.

Issuing an RFP

Some points to consider in your process:

  • Become informed: Without detailed knowledge of services available, you
  • might not ask the right kinds of questions.
  • Analyze your needs: What are your current language service pain-points? How many patients do you expect will use the services? How would a language service provider fit into your overall language access program?
  • Contact providers: Contact service providers, ask them about their medical-based language services, and solicit their input to help you write the RFP.
  • Prequalify: The more RFP responses you receive, the more your review periods will require significant time and effort. You may wish to prequalify your potential language service providers (LSP) and send the RFP only to those that have made a favorable impression.
  • Determine award criteria: The best price might not give you the best value or lowest overall cost of ownership. Determine what is important for you and your patients and communicate this to the LSP.

Table of contents:
After a cover page, most healthcare organizations include a table of contents. A clear presentation of the information
will help your organization receive better responses with fewer questions. Following is a sample format for the
presentation of the information:

I. Introduction to the RFP

A. Executive Summary of RFP
B. Contact
C. Reason for RFP
D. Goals for RFP
E. Evaluation Criteria
F. Checklist for LSP Deliverables
G. Important Dates and Deadlines
H. Formatting and Submittal Guidelines
J. Other Rules, Regulations and Restrictions for RFP (disclaimers, contract award, etc)

II. Language Service Provider Questions (Over-the-Phone Interpretation)

A. LSP Executive Summary
B. LSP Overview and Financial Condition
C. Interpreter Quality Assurance Practices
D. Implementation and Training
E. Account Management and Client Service
F. Performance Metrics
G. Telephone, Data and Interpretation Technology
H. Security and Compliance
I. Data Reporting and Invoicing
J. Pricing

III. Attachments

A. Implementation Plan
B. Pricing
C. Sample Invoice and Reports
D. Interpreter Code of Ethics, Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure
E. Languages Served
F. Insurance Certificates
G. ISO Certificates
H. Other Procedural, Contractual or Legal Documents

Introduction to the RFP

A. Executive Summary

The executive summary contains your organization’s background and intentions for the RFP, which allows you to provide the framework
for responses you will receive from LSPs, such as CyraCom. For example, even though the terms “interpretation” and “translation” are used interchangeably, each supports a specific communication function. Interpretation supports verbal communication; translation supports written communication. Definitions and clarifications, such as this one, set the theme and tone of the RFP. An example executive summary would look like this:

{SampleOrganization} is selecting a preferred LSP for the provision of healthcare-focused language interpretation and translation
services. Our objective is to select the provider that most fully meets the requirements identified in this RFP, including a strong desire to
increase {SampleOrganization}’s capabilities for effectively communicating with and caring for LEP patients. The selected provider will

  • Over-the-Phone Interpretation
  • Video Remote Interpretation
  • On-Site (In-Person) Interpretation
  • Document Translation
  • Language Assessment

{SampleOrganization} expects to award a contract pursuant to this RFP in accordance with the enclosed project time frame (Section I.G).

B. Contact

Every organization has rules surrounding contact during an RFP. Depending on the rules in place, you may allow clarifying questions to be asked at any time or submitted by a set deadline. Contact instructions could look like the sample text below:

Any questions or other inquiries from your facility concerning this RFP must be submitted by 1/10/20XX by email to Susan Sample
( who will be each potential LSP’s point of contact. All questions and inquiries will be answered by

For details on the submission of the RFP response, see the Formatting and Submittal Guideline section (I.H)

C. Reason for RFP

Stating the reason for issuing the RFP will help those responding better address your needs and concerns. An RFP is a start to what could be a very productive partnership, and beginning that process with uncertainty or lack of clarity could have detrimental effects later on. This section also provides a good place to describe what kind of language services are required, which will enable the potential LSP, such as CyraCom, to provide your organization with optimal, custom pricing information. Below is a sample reason section:

{SampleOrganization} serves an average of XXXX LEP patients per month.. Our current LSP’s contract is set to expire by 6/15/20xx, and
we are looking for an LSP to help {SampleOrganization} achieve the most from language services. Our diverse patient population, as
gathered from our previous 12 months of data, visit our facility at the frequencies listed on the next page:


D. Goal for the RFP

Listing your organization’s stated goals will help your organization achieve those goals through the RFP. A strong listing of goals would look like this:

Through the selection of a provider for language services, {SampleOrganization}’s seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Achieve high-level patient satisfaction by providing world-class language interpretation and translation services
  • Ensure and increase quality of patient care and health outcomes
  • Ensure compliance with federal law and Joint Commission standards
  • Ensure timely and consistent data management and reporting
  • Achieve lowest overall total cost of ownership by partnering with a world-class language services provider

E. Evaluation Criteria

Providing potential LSPs with evaluation criteria will assist you in receiving information that suits your needs and indicate to responders what information is most critical to you. Without this section, your organization risks receiving responses that focus on the wrong information or are delivered in unhelpful formats. A set of evaluation criteria based on a point system remains one of the most effective ways to evaluate an RFP. Find sample evaluation criteria section below:

All proposals will be evaluated by {SampleOrganization} staff. {SampleOrganization} will select an LSP in accordance with the evaluation criteria set forth in this RFP. The evaluation of the proposals shall be within the sole judgment and discretion of {SampleOrganization}.

As a result of this RFP, {SampleOrganization} intends to award a contract to the provider whose response conforms to the RFP
and whose pricing and service offerings present the greatest overall value to {SampleOrganization}, after all evaluation criteria is
considered. The combined weight of the evaluation criteria is greater in importance than cost in determining the greatest value to

F. Checklist for Language Service Provider (LSP) Deliverables

You may have a well-written RFP, but without a checklist, RFP responses may lack vital documents that were not clearly stated as deliverable with the RFP. Additionally, removing any confusion about the formatting or specific organization of an RFP will allow responders to focus on developing the best proposal for your organization. Here is a look at a sample deliverables checklist:

All final RFP related deliverables are due via email by 3/15/20xx. Each final RFP response should include the following and be emailed
to Susan Sample (

LSP Questions (One PDF or Word file)

One final version of each LSP’s RFP response should include the below sections when emailed to
The file must be sent in PDF or Word (.doc or .docx) format.

A. LSP Executive Summary
B. LSP Experience, Expertise and Value-Added Services
C. LSP Financial Condition
D. Interpreter Training Quality Assurance Practices
E. Account Management and Client Service
G. Technological Infrastructure
H. Security and Compliance
J. Data Reporting and Invoicing

Attachments (Each as a separate image, PDF or Word file)

Each of the following attachments must be included in an email to, along with the Language
Service Provider Questions file. Some of these files will be created by the LSP and sent out, and others are supplied within
{SampleOrganization}’s RFP document and must be signed and returned.

A. Implementation Plan
B. Pricing
C. Sample Invoice and Reports
D. Interpreter Code of Ethics, Confidentiality, and Non-Disclosure Agreements
E. Languages Served
F. Insurance Certificates
G. ISO Certificates
H. Other Procedural, Contractual or Legal Documents

G. Important Dates and Deadlines

Including a summary of the dates and deadlines will provide structure and guidance for both your
organization and the LSP. An example of a set of reasonable timelines would look something like the table below:
{SampleOrganization} anticipates the following general time frames in connection with issuance of this RFP, review and analysis of
proposals, award of a contract, and implementation of the selected services:

Following our review of proposals, {SampleOrganization} will promptly notify each LSP regarding our desire to conduct (or not conduct)
further negotiations with their organization.

H. Formatting and Submittal Guidelines

Taking a moment to define the formatting and submittal requirements will ensure that you receive an RFP formatted to readily address the needs of your organization. Formatting and submitting guidelines are important; {SampleOrganziation}’s guidelines are listed below:

Proposal Format

  • Your RFP response must be prepared for clarity and ease of readability
  • Your RFP response content should provide concise and relevant answers, with an emphasis on completeness and clarity of content
  • Proposals must be submitted electronically only
  • Incomplete proposals or those that are not prepared in accordance with this RFP will be eliminated from the evaluation process
  • All potential providers are required to present proposals using the same headings and categories as outlined in the RFP to ensure
  • a fair, equitable, and timely evaluation.
  • {SampleOrganization} reserves the right to reject any and all proposals submitted that fail to conform to the requirements of the
  • RFP and to request additional information from any provider submitting a proposal

Proposal Submittal Guidelines

You must email an electronic copy of your proposal, and any supporting documentation in Microsoft Word (.doc or.docx) or .PDF
format, to Susan Sample:

J. Other Rules, Regulations and Restrictions for RFP(disclaimers, contract award, etc)

Many organizations have rules specific to their RFP process. This will vary from company to company, but below are some common sections that your organization may consider using:


{SampleOrganization} has attached standard terms and conditions for all RFP participants for review; you must accept these or offer full
details of changes you would like {SampleOrganization} to consider, otherwise your proposal will be disqualified.


You are hereby advised that {SampleOrganization} is not committed to any course of action as a result of its issuance of this Request
for Proposal and/or its receipt of a proposal from you or other providers in response to it. In particular, you should note that
{SampleOrganization} may:

  • Reject any proposal that does not conform to instructions and specifications which are issued herein
  • Not accept proposals after the stated submission deadline
  • Reject all proposals, if it so decides
  • Award a contract in connection with this RFP at any time
  • Make no award of contract

You are also advised that {SampleOrganization} will not reimburse your organization for any proposal preparation costs or other work
performed in connection with this RFP, whether or not your firm is awarded a contract.


II. Language Service Provider (LSP) Questions (Over-the-Phone Interpretation)

A. LSP Executive Summary

In this section, the LSPshould summarize its intentions and differentiating qualities, setting the tone of the RFP response.

B. LSP Overview and Financial Condition

An excellent LSP does not have poor financials. While some providers may be able to provide low-cost solutions, always check to make sure that they have outstanding financials and would be able to continue servicing your organization even in hardship. Often, RFP issuers ask for at least one of the following:

1. Please provide last two years of financial statements
2. Has your company, as it currently stands, experienced any financial difficulties, such as bankruptcy,
financial restructuring, default on loans, or decrease in bond rating or stock price? If any of the above have occurred,
please explain in detail.
3. What is your current equity/debt ratio?
4. What are your current debt ratings/recent downgrades?
5. What is the nature of any recent new or proposed financing?

C. Interpreter Quality Assurance Practices

The methodologies behind interpreter recruitment, training and monitoring can have drastic effects on your facility’s language service efficiency and patient/customer satisfaction. Ask tough questions like:

1. Where are your interpreters located?
2. Do you employ or contract your interpreters?
3. Will any of these services be subcontracted to another company? If so, what percentage (including languages) will be
subcontracted? Are these subcontractors based in the US? If not, where?
4. How are your interpreters recruited?
5. What kind of training, shadowing, or side-by-side assistance do your interpreters receive?
6. What are your interpreters’ post-training activities?
7. What are your interpreter quality monitoring processes and at what frequency are they conducted?
8. What kind of healthcare-specific training do your interpreters receive?
9. What are the rewards/consequences for outstanding/poor interpretation performance?
10. What differentiates your organization’s interpreters from other providers?

D. Implementation and Training

1. How will you ensure a smooth transition?
2. What is your process for implementation?
3. How will you train our staff on the use of your system?
4. What kind of support material is available?
5. What kind of services can your organization provide at no additional charge?

E. Account Management and Client Service

The way your account is managed will contribute to a fully developed partnership and attentiveness. Make sure to inquire how the LSP intends to work with you, as it will provide distinct insight into the potential provider’s culture. Ask questions like the following:

1. Who will manage {SampleOrganization}’s account?
2. What kind of regular contact will you maintain with our organization?
3. How will your organization enhance {SampleOrganization}’s use of language services through account management?
4. How can your client services be contacted?
5. What proactive measures does your organization undertake to provide outstanding service?
6. What are your procedures for customer complaints or commendations?
7. How will you review the success of your services?
8. What white papers or resources demonstrate your organization’s leadership in the language services industry?
9. What value added services can you provide beyond price per minute?

F. Contact Center Metrics

Metrics are the bottom line measure when it comes to efficiency in language services. An organization’s listed price does not cover the hidden costs associated with metrics. Under performing metrics may create increased costs through inefficiencies including higher wait times, abandoned calls, and language selection confusion. Challenging questions about call center metrics include:

1. What kind of metrics does your organization regularly report?
2. How are these metrics measured?
3. How will these metrics add to {SampleOrganization}’s overall efficiency?
4. How does your organization achieve these metrics? What processes does your organization have in place to ensure metrics are met on a consistent basis, even in the event of unexpected surges in call volumes?
5. What kind of reduction in Average Handle Time can your organization help {SampleOrganization} to achieve?
6. What is your company’s Average Speed of Answer (ASA) for Spanish and other languages?

G. Telephone, Data and Interpretation Technology

Technology and infrastructure directly affect an LSP’s ability to serve your organization efficiently. Lacking the proper technology can result in downtime, unavailability or poor call quality. When asking about technology, ask the following questions:

1. What is the nature of your organization’s communication system?
2. Where are your call centers and all other parts of your communication system located?
3. What is the percentage of uptime your system has had in the past 12 months?
4. How many actual minutes of downtime did your communications system experience in the past 12 months and how did it
impact service delivery?
6. How does your organization maintain services in the event of a power outage or natural disaster? What if this scenario lasts for
several days?
7. What technologies are utilized to ensure excellent audio quality?
8. What technologies are utilized in your interpreter call centers to increase the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of language
service delivery?
9. How do your organization’s investments in technology add value to {SampleOrganization}?

H. Security and Compliance

In a medical environment, security and compliance are of the utmost importance. Below are some relevant questions on these topics:

1. What security measures protect {SampleOrganization} and our patients’ information?
2. With which federal laws and other agreements are your interpreters required to be in compliance?

I. Data Reporting and Invoicing

Data reporting and invoicing can provide the strongest means for changing, improving or predicting trends in your organization’s language services. Whether it is due to a natural disaster, gradual demographic changes in your patient/customer base, or the results of multicultural marketing campaigns, changes in language services will occur. Strong reporting capabilities will help your organization be prepared and capitalize on these changes. Here are some sample questions:

1. What kind of online reporting does your organization provide? What is viewable in the reports?
3. When do invoices become available online, once they are processed?
4. How many users may access online reporting data?
5. How do reports add value to my organization?
6. What kind of training, instruction or guidance is available for utilizing reporting effectively?
7. Does your organization regularly provide custom reports?

J. Pricing

1. What is your pricing model? How do you charge for interpretation/translation?
2. What other possible fees might our organization encounter and under what circumstances?
3. What kind of discounts are you prepared to offer?
4. Please include pricing for any other services that you think might benefit {Sample Organization}


III. Attachments (Over-the-Phone Interpretation)

A. Implementation Plan

Request that an LSP include a sample implementation plan along with their proposed process for examining reporting requirements and all parts of your interactions leading up to and following the implementation date.

B. Pricing

With your organization’s historical usage data (volume and language mix), a provider can provide a formal pricing offer, including any
additional costs or discounts. Request that they send a pricing attachment outlining all costs associated with their service, including any
additional costs outside of price per minute of language services.

C. Sample Invoices and Reports

Ask the LSP to include samples of their invoices and reports. This will give you an idea of what to expect from their reports. Specify that they attach pictures of reports that allow you to sort, filter and manipulate data. Obtaining a real, interactive view of their reports and not a concept mock-up of a report will better inform your decision.

D. Interpreter Code of Ethics, Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements

Any leading LSP will have these documents. Your organization will need to examine the documents before starting an official business
relationship in any capacity. An RFP response provides a good opportunity to gain insight into the internal values and standards of a potential LSP.

E. Languages Served

Ask for the LSP’s language list. This will enable you to match up their list of served languages to yours and offer you the chance to make sure that the provider can meet your individual language needs before entering an official business relationship.

F. Insurance Certificates

Any organization you partner with will need to prove that they have the appropriate levels of insurance in place to support the business and meet your organization’s risk requirements. Request these as an attachment.

G. ISO Certificates

ISO is an international organization that certifies quality processes for other organizations. If an LSP claims to be ISO certified, request proof.

H. Other Procedural, Contractual or Legal Documents

Your organization may have other forms, agreements or standard documents that all LSPs must sign and return. Place these at the end of your RFP document and request that each provider return them to you as an attachment. These will vary from organization to organization.


Posted by Andy Bielat In Comments Off

About This Author

Hello everyone. I'm Andy, Marketing Coordinator at CyraCom. I’ve been in the healthcare language services industry for three years, and I’ll be using my research expertise to bring you information and analysis on overall demographic changes in the US, LEP profiles, and relevant clinical studies and how they apply.

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