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Automated translation in customer dialog: No more searching for words

Automated translation in customer dialog: No more searching for words

Dealing with unplanned peaks is a challenge for service centers, especially if niche language markets are involved. Automated text translations offer a solution — but how do they work in practice? And what are the benefits for companies?

In service centers that deal with international customers, the same phenomenon occurs again and again: The contact enquiries in niche language markets suddenly spike, for example due to a rapid entry into a new market or other notable events — and there is no way to respond to the increased demand because of a lack of suitable resources. Especially not in third level support, where special expertise is required for complex queries. Even when the service center is well staffed, customer advisers from other regions are often unable to provide support due to the language barrier. Recruitment is another challenge for international customer service: It is difficult to find suitable staff for certain languages. Technological progress is now bringing a solution for both problems within reach: Automated translation of texts makes it possible for customer advisers to also deal with customer requests in a foreign language.

Digital translation tools and online dictionaries are, of course, nothing new. But until recently, translating coherent sentences with the correct content and grammar was an almost impossible task for machines. Through significant advances in the research and implementation of AI technologies by companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, translation technologies can now operate almost in real time.

Automated translation in practice

Several usage situations are plausible: If a customer sends their request to customer service via email, messaging service or chatbot, the translation tool translates it into the service employee’s language. They answer the query, which is then translated back into the original language.

Other options are also conceivable for contact channels other than the telephone or when using a speech system. For example, a written request that cannot be processed via a chatbot with automated answers to frequently asked questions could be transferred directly to the translation AI. Telephone enquiries could also be converted into machine-readable text using speech-to-text technology instead of being manually picked up by first-level support. The corresponding answer would then be played using text-to-speech technology. Or due to technological progress in the future, the customer and adviser would communicate with each other almost in real time as an AI system simultaneously translates between them. For additional quality control, it is common to use native speakers who double check the machine translated text. If this is carried out using a crowdsourcing approach, for instance, the checking process can be completed very quickly and at low cost.

Benefits for companies

Automated translation offers several advantages for companies. For one, it increases the operative excellence of their customer dialogue: Every customer can write an enquiry in their own language and receive a competent response in the same language. The service employees can be utilized more flexibly since they are no longer tied to specific language skills. And this innovative technology enables companies to grow and offer their usual high quality of service even in markets with niche languages.

Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
Image: © cleomiu – AdobeStock

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