£15m UK government contract win for language company

Global language services company thebigword has again won the contract to provide telephone and face to face interpreting and translation services to UK central government organisations including the DWP, Home Office, MoD, Probation, UK Border Force, NHS, HMRC, local authorities and emergency services of police, ambulance and fire. The contract is expected to create a further 100 jobs in Leeds.

John Williams, Switchboard Manager at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “When a patient who speaks another language walks through the door, we know we can get an interpreter who speaks one of 235 different languages on the phone in 30 seconds, thanks to thebigword. We make substantial savings, without having any negative impact on a quality patient experience, and receive a more flexible service.”

Larry Gould thebigword CEO, said: “I believe we won this contract because of our exceptional existing service levels to the government and because our linguists are highly skilled in handling sensitive issues. Interpreters may have to explain to a patient or family to prepare for end of life; describe horrific torture; help elderly or confused people to get the right benefits; or interpret challenging questions in a fraud case. This is about more than just language interpretation.”

Leeds-based thebigword has invested heavily in training and qualifications for its linguists including through the International School of Linguists Ofqual accredited Level 6 Diploma in Community Interpreting. This tests interpreting skills within a range of specialisms, including law, complemented by training in specific scenarios. Linguists who work with thebigword can pay for their qualification as they earn money in linguist work.

In addition thebigword has further invested in its high-tech call handling services enabling it to deliver 20,000 face to face bookings a month in the UK and USA, handling interpreter requests at the rate of a call every two minutes in 235 languages and connecting callers within 30 seconds to the right linguist.

Bill Dunbar from the DWP has worked with thebigword and said: “The web platform created by thebigword to help measure customer satisfaction is fantastic and already proving invaluable to shape our services. It helps to demonstrate that people are being listened to and we are then acting on their suggestions. It goes way beyond the numbers and is a really powerful customer-centric tool. It has already delivered a wealth of benefits.”

The preferred supplier contract has been awarded by Crown Commercial Service on behalf of the UK government. thebigword is the only company to have held all three government language service frameworks, which include sign language and lip speaking.

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