RFP Resources

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Please contact us if you have any questions or want additional help with your Language Services RFP.

RFP Guides

Download one of CyraCom’s helpful RFP Guides to learn what to look for in a Language Services Provider. Choose the guide that best fits your industry: Healthcare, 9-1-1, or Business. Each guide includes sample RFP questions about:

  • Phone & Video Interpretation
  • Information Security
  • Account Support
  • Translation & Localization

Healthcare

Business

9-1-1

Pricing Template

Download our RFP pricing template and customize it to fit your needs. The pre-formatted spreadsheet includes helpful instructions, notes, and explanations, as well as individual tabs for each language service you may require:

  • Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI)
  • Video Remote Interpretation (VRI)
  • On-Site Interpretation (OSI)
  • Translation & Localization

Articles

Interview: RFP Tips & Tricks from CyraCom’s RFP Manager

What you’ll learn:

  • Tips for people with limited experience issuing an RFP for language services
  • What information to include in your RFP
3 tips to get the best responses to your language services RFP

What you’ll learn:

  • Tips to make your RFP easier to respond to
  • How to optimally organize your RFP
Language services RFP pricing template & tips

What you’ll learn:

  • Tips to create a straightforward, easy-to-complete RFP pricing template
  • Download the ideal language services RFP pricing template
How to compare language services RFP responses

What you’ll learn:

  • The top questions you should ask language services providers
  • What to look for in RFP responses
ARTICLE ONE

Interview: RFP Tips & Tricks from CyraCom’s RFP Manager

If your organization’s procurement team is writing a language services RFP (Request for Proposal), you want to create an RFP document and process that produces clear, concise responses from language service providers (LSPs).

Our RFP Manager, Nicole Coen, and her team have read, reviewed, and responded to hundreds of RFPs for interpretation and translation services. We interviewed her to hear her recommendations to make it easier for you and other evaluators to read and compare providers.

Hi Nicole! Thanks for sharing your RFP knowledge with us. Let’s start with a few tips for people with limited experience issuing an RFP for language services.

Thanks, I’m happy to help! One of the first things I’d recommend is researching language services terminology. Many RFPs refer to interpretation and translation as synonyms when they’re very different services, which can make it challenging to determine which services the needs.

We also see many requests for remote interpretation without specifications for phone, video, or options. The language services industry has changed significantly in the past few years, so it’s important to know about new services and vocabulary.

Finally, think about whether your pricing template matches language services industry norms. Most LSPs use per-minute pricing for interpretation and per-word pricing for translation. Make sure to include questions about fees, equipment purchase/rental pricing, and added value so you can better compare providers.

Recommendation: Clearly define which services you’re looking for, such as document translation, video interpretation for ASL users, or teleconferencing to communicate with healthcare patients.

How can organizations issuing an RFP make the process easier for responders?

The timeline for the RFP process can significantly impact the quality of responses you receive. Having more time to craft our RFP response allows us to customize answers to your company’s needs and values.

If you allow LSPs to ask questions at least a week before the deadline, they can recalibrate answers with customized solutions and recommended services. Rushed changes leave more room for errors and lower-quality content.

Recommendation: Think about the RFP timeline from the responders’ point of view—did you allow enough time for them to deliver everything you asked for?

What information do you wish RFPs included every time?

It’s always helpful to know:

  • A business’ average interpretation usage (minutes per month)
  • Which LSP they currently use
  • Any challenges they’re trying to overcome by choosing a new vendor

For translation services RFPs, it’s super convenient when the client provides samples or detailed information about the project, especially for eLearning or video projects. Understanding exactly what you need helps us deliver accurate solutions and pricing.

Recommendation: Be specific about your needs wherever possible and set clear expectations. Tell responders what you care about most, and they’ll tailor their responses to meet that need.

Are there resources organizations can use to write an RFP for language services?

Yes! We provide RFP guides to help craft questions and know what to look for in an LSP:

We’re currently creating new content for procurement teams, and offer many resources for healthcare and business organizations on our website. CyraCom’s blog has a ton of information about all aspects of language services. For anyone new to language services, I’d also recommend subscribing to our Language Access 101 course.

If you have more questions about writing an RFP for interpretation or translation services, we want to hear from you!

Contact our team at getstarted@cyracom.com for a free language services consultation.

ARTICLE TWO

3 tips to get the best responses to your language services RFP

What’s the best way to receive comprehensive responses to your language services RFP? We’ve gathered tips and tricks to help you write and organize your Request for Proposal for optimal responses. Read on to learn how to improve your RFP document and get the best responses from language services providers (LSPs).

1. Provide valuable information

When you provide more information about your goals, challenges, and current language services, language providers can better customize RFP responses to your company’s needs. Make sure to share:

  • Average interpretation usage (minutes per month)
  • Number of employees and facilities the contract will support
  • Customer service and reporting requirements
  • Which LSP you currently work with
  • Your top 15 languages

For translation RFPs, you may want to provide samples of the work to be translated, especially for video, website, and eLearning projects. Share as many details as possible by answering these questions:

  • Which languages do you need?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Do visual elements include text that needs translation?
  • Does the final product need to meet certain formatting specifications?
  • For videos, do you need captions, subtitles, voiceover, or dubbing?
  • For website localization, which pages/sections of the site need translation?
  • For eLearning, how many modules are included?

Finally, think about other communications within the process. If you allow potential respondents to ask questions, do so early in the RFP timeline and respond promptly. Taking these steps allows respondents to modify their responses.

2. Organize thoughtfully

The structure of your Request for Proposal can significantly impact the quality and clarity of responses you receive. Your selection committee will need to read, analyze, and compare responses—provide clear guidelines that make it easier for readers to comprehend. Ask respondents to use a distinct labeling system for each section and question or provide an outline you’d like them to follow.

Separate questions about various services into different sections (and remember, interpretation and translation aren’t synonymous). For example, divide phone, video, on-site, and teleconferencing interpretation questions into individual sections, then separate your required translation services such as document translation, eLearning localization, and braille transcription.

Think about what’s most important to your organization and ask for that information first. For example, if you primarily need interpretation solutions but ask many questions about translation first, responders may misunderstand your goals.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Provide a checklist to help responders verify that their response includes all critical components using your preferred structure.
  • If your RFP includes forms, ask responders to put them in an appendix so your selection committee can focus on the proposal content.
  • For government RFPs, tell responders where you want them to include the Statement of Work.

3. Use simple language

While most RFP respondents expect language with a formal, legal, or contractual tone for terms and conditions, it’s helpful when RFP documents are written using plain language. Simplify the language in your RFP wherever possible—instructions, company background, and supplemental information, for example.

Asking straightforward questions using uncomplicated language helps responders know exactly what information to provide about their language services. Confusing or overly wordy questions may confuse responders, meaning they may not deliver the information you need.

Check out our RFP Guides for more sample questions.

Want more language services information?

Subscribe to CyraCom’s blog or contact our team at getstarted@cyracom.com for a free language services consultation.

ARTICLE THREE

Language services RFP pricing template & tips

Cost is often the most significant factor in choosing a language services provider. But how do you know you’re getting the best value for your investment? If your organization plans to issue an RFP for language services, review our tips and download our pricing template to help you compare vendors.

Essential information to include in your RFP pricing template

Make sure your language services RFP pricing template has the following elements:

  • Required services & products
  • Languages and dialects
  • Anticipated annual volume in minutes
  • Clear instructions for completion

Tips for your RFP pricing template

Purple Number 1

Use separate spreadsheet tabs for each language service

Individual tabs for OPI, VRI, OSI, translation, and equipment can minimize confusion and highlight which vendors offer the most value for each service.

Purple Number 2

Allow vendors to add rows for additional costs

RFP pricing templates should allow vendors to showcase all aspects of their pricing model. Limiting rows may not give you the full picture of how your investment will be spent.

Purple Number 3

Avoid grouping languages together

Many language services providers charge different rates for Spanish or American Sign Language (ASL) compared to other languages (LOTS). Translation services RFP pricing templates should allow for extra space or rows, as per-word pricing can greatly vary by language.

Purple Number 4

Provide space for vendor comments

Allowing vendors to clarify, describe, or add context can provide a better understanding of their pricing model or any added value opportunities.

Purple Number 5

Include total cost formulas for multi-year contracts

Some vendors may offer a “discounted” price for the first year of a contract, but make up for the loss in the following years. Asking for the total price of the contract can help your team evaluate the true investment without distracting gimmicks.

Purple Number 6

Ask vendors to include a list of fees

“Nickel and dime” fee charges add up over time. Your RFP pricing instructions should ask vendors for transparent pricing, including how you’ll be charged for account support, contacting an operator, or rushing a translation project.

Purple Number 7

Format spreadsheets with printing in mind

If you need to print pricing information for your records, make sure your template fits on standard 8.5” × 11” We recommend using narrow margins and landscape orientation to allow space for additional/wider columns as needed.

RFP Pricing Examples

Let’s review a few RFP pricing examples to see what works well and what could be improved.

  • Pros:
  1. Clearly formatted to match standard interpretation pricing (Units of Measure [UOM] match standard per-minute pricing)
  2. Spanish and ASL pricing separate from other languages
  3. Requested translation languages specify audience (ex: Mexican Spanish vs. European Spanish)
  • Cons:
  1. Tiered pricing may not match the vendors’ typical offerings and create complicated pricing
  2. Column for 0-50k minutes missing
  3. Translation section unclear, as columns describe minutes used per month
  4. No description to differentiate “World” and “Rare” languages

Example 2

  • Pros:
  1. Detailed categories for each product or service allow vendors to provide detailed pricing information
  2. ASL and Spanish are separated from other languages for all services
  3. Space is included for vendor notes/comments, allowing for clarification
  • Cons:
  1. Separate pricing for different locations isn’t standard for the language services industry
  2. Doesn’t account for implementation, account management, and other common fees for language services
  3. Devices section doesn’t specify how many devices the RFP issuer intends to use, but asks the vendor to estimate the number of devices needed for each location

Example 3

  • Pros:
  1. OPI & VRI sections formatted clearly with space to provide different rates based upon volume of interpretation minutes
  2. Translation section allows for different per-word pricing based on Translation Memory matches
  3. Vendors can include comments and additional services
  • Cons:
  1. Separate pricing for different locations isn’t standard for the language services industry
  2. Doesn’t account for implementation, account management, and other common fees for language services
  3. Devices section doesn’t specify how many devices the RFP issuer intends to use, but asks the vendor to estimate the number of devices needed for each location

CyraCom’s RFP Pricing Template

After reviewing dozens of RFP pricing examples, we’ve created a simple, easy-to-modify template for your next language services RFP. Our template includes instructions and explanations to help you customize the spreadsheet to meet your needs.

ARTICLE FOUR

How to compare language services RFP responses

Once you’ve learned how to write an RFP, sent it out into the world, and received responses, it’s time for your selection committee to review and evaluate potential partnerships. What criteria should you look for? How will you compare language services providers?

Here are four critical evaluation themes to consider:

Quality of Service

Investing in high-quality language services helps ensure your customers, clients, or patients can effectively communicate with your staff. So how can you determine if a language services provider (LSP) will deliver the level of service you need? Check RFP responses for information about:

Trained, reliable interpreters

Using an LSP with consistent, trained, and culturally competent interpreters can help reduce risks and non-compliance. As you review vendor responses, consider:

  • Which training, coaching, and ongoing education tools does the LSP employ?
  • How does the LSP ensure interpreters provide accurate and efficient service?
  • What are the minimum requirements for interpreters to work for the LSP?
  • What’s the average connection time to reach an interpreter?
  • How does the LSP handle call volume surges?

Quality-assured translation

You need a translation partner that exceeds industry standards and delivers accurate, culturally appropriate projects. Look for:

Externally-verified business practices

Qualified LSPs often hold accreditations from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), including Quality Management System, Information Security Management, and Translation Services. Learn more about ISO accreditations here.

Account Support

Beyond high-quality language services, you need an LSP that offers excellent customer service to your staff. While all companies promote robust support systems, compare these details in each RFP response:

Data Security

Linguists regularly handle sensitive information. You need detailed information about the LSP’s security measures to protect your organization, patients, or customers from a data breach or HIPAA non-compliance. Verify each LSP’s ability to safeguard confidential information:

  • How does the LSP protect Private Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII)?
  • What operational security protocols are offered?
  • Does the LSP email sensitive information to translators?

Transparent Pricing

Language services pricing isn’t as simple as comparing the cost per minute—you need to know the value you’ll receive. Think about:

  • What’s the difference in pricing for video and phone interpretation for spoken languages?
  • Does the LSP offer fast, free translation quotes?
  • What are the fees or add-on costs for working with each LSP?
  • What’s included in each LSP’s permanent rates?
  • What added value/free-of-charge offerings does each LSP provide? (i.e. custom reporting, dedicated account/project managers, support materials, client portals, etc.)

Need additional help with your RFP?

We’re here to help. Contact our team at getstarted@cyracom.com to connect with our language services experts.

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