Earlier this month, Alfonso Interpreting & Transporting issued the following announcement.
I want to thank you for trusting in Alfonso Interpreting for your interpretation and transport needs. Workers’ Compensation and liability insurance continue to increase for us, while lower cost services such as Uber and Lyft have continued to rise as competitors.
Due to the increased cost, on January 1, 2020, we will no longer accept any new transportation assignments. We will continue to honor already established transport assignments until July 31, 2020. Alfonso Interpreting renews its commitment to providing top quality, professional and ethical language interpreting, translation and multilingual safety services.
Please call our office or me personally if you have any questions.
Since we incorporated almost 13 years ago, Alfonso Interpreting & Transporting has continued to evolve and transform itself. We began as subcontractors for the many national language agencies that existed at the time. Ninety percent of our work was healthcare interpreting and providing transport for injured workers that we interpreted for.
Early on, I noticed that national agencies were merging and being acquired. I observed many national agencies using tough negotiation tactics to pay its interpreters the very cheapest prices possible. Therefore, we decided to raise our fees and compete with them by seeking direct work.
Gradually, Alfonso Interpreting began to grow and thrive as most of our work became direct. However, a new trend began developing. Workers’ compensation insurance companies began to create policies to only hire national agencies. While all this was happening, we noticed massive need for legal interpreters. Emily, my wife and business partner is a South Carolina Certified Court interpreter. She began focusing on training our team of legal interpreters to fill this need.
Over the last 13 years, legal interpreting has continued to flourish; medical interpreting has remained the same over the last 5 years. We have found our very good clients and know our niche. So, I see healthcare interpreting as stable for the foreseeable future. I see no end to the potential for legal interpreting yet.
In addition to providing healthcare interpreters in the workers’ comp arena, we also provided transportation for injured workers. The idea was to pick them up and then interpret for them at the appointment. Transportation would serve as an additional service and revenue stream; we served as a one-stop shop.
I completed the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Acceleration Program a few years ago. I learned how to understand financial reports. For several years, our profit and loss statements show no profit or even losses in providing transportation. This is because the cost of commercial liability insurance is high. The fact that we provide transport creates liability, which dramatically increases the cost of our workers’ comp premium. Franky, I have been afraid to discontinue our transport service for fear that we might also lose some of our healthcare interpreting clients that prefer a package deal.
This is where things get interesting. About ten years ago, a client called us to provide an interpreter for an OSHA class. I had many years of safety experience and was both comfortable and competent to perform interpreting. I quickly realized that there was a need for qualified, effective safety professionals that could train in Spanish. Therefore, I went to Georgia Tech to become an OSHA authorized outreach trainer in both construction and general industry. I have also taken many courses at Greenville Tech in order to increase my knowledge in the safety field.
Now, my company provides bilingual safety services in addition to language services. For the last two years, safety has surpassed all other services we offer, and the growth potential is out of sight! Safety has outperformed our interpreting and translation services. I now feel confident streamlining our strengths and eliminating transportation.
At one point, we were developing so fast, I considered imitating national agencies. I had planned to cover the southeastern U.S. However, it felt unethical. I wanted to maintain the highest level of excellence and professionalism; a regional agency would be unable to maintain the kind of quality to which I adhere. Eventually, I would become just like the others.
Now we are a smaller statewide company that has a clear focus on our core specialties: Bilingual Safety, Interpreting, and Translation. We are the right size for clients who desire top quality expertise and responsiveness to their needs.
I believe 2020 will be a great year. This year, we were recertified as a minority/women-owned business by the SC Small and Minority Business Certification and Contracting. Soon, we hope to be a federally certified minority business. We have dedicated great energy in that endeavor. Also, since we will no longer provide transportation, our name Alfonso Interpreting & Transporting, Inc. doesn’t really make sense anymore. So, I believe it is time to rebrand and come up with a new name and logo.
By the way, if anyone can recommend me someone that could help with that, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! I hope you don’t mind the long blog this time.