The Future of Multilingual Support: How AI Breaks Down Language Barriers in Customer Service

By Machielle Thomas

It’s foolish to believe that every customer is going to need support in one language and one language only. Our businesses reflect the world that we live in, which is diverse, abundant, and multilingual. Yet, so many customer support strategies often include serving customers in a handful of languages because that is largely, because of manual help, all they can do. 

The future of customer support can be different with artificial intelligence (AI). 

With customer support AI tools, multilingual customer service is possible. 

Ahead, we’ll go through how AI-powered translation works for both businesses and customers, where and why AI-powered multilingual services break down barriers for customers, and how this supports cross-cultural communications for a global business reality.

We want no more language barriers in customer support. Learn how AI-powered translation is helping businesses provide top-notch multilingual support and create a seamless experience for customers worldwide.

The rise of customer service AI

Customer support relies, quite often, on people to handle the queries and concerns of their customers. Live support agents must accurately triage and diagnose issues, find solutions, and wade through the aftermath of interactions by sorting notes, follow-up communications, or escalating calls to other departments. It’s too often a lot for one person, and that’s not even adding on the empathy required to handle customer support calls, and even those where the primary language spoken on the call isn’t theirs. 

With the rise of customer service AI, support teams were able to reconfigure where their support could be most useful and how AI tools could best contribute to that. 

Customer support AI is transformative for customer-focused organizations. Among many benefits, AI can help with the following:

  • Automation. From transcribing calls and notes to sending follow-up communications to workflows, AI helps streamline manual tasks with automation for speed, efficiency, and freeing up a support team member’s time.
  • Data. Support and customer-focused employees have access to real-time insights provided by customers, as well as optimized data flow for customer relationship management (CRM) systems. 
  • Personalization. With a few prompts, customers are able to get the information they need from generative and conversational AI tools like chatbots. Even on support calls with a live agent, AI can help deliver the right articles, information, or products and services a customer may need that’s tailored to their concern. 

Much of this is possible through AI technologies such as:

  1. Natural language processing. Understanding human language both spoken and written.
  2. Machine translation. Automatically translating language from one to another through a machine.
  3. Speech recognition. Processing speech to text, like transcribing live calls.  

How AI-powered translation works

AI-powered translation can happen because of machine learning algorithms that have been enabled to take a piece of text in one language and change it to another. The speed with which AI-powered translation works is on par with a person who innately knows multiple languages and can switch between them. It’s possible to to take that same principle and have text available in seconds for users. 

But it takes a lot for that to happen. AI tools need to have the information to correctly translate text from one language to another all while preserving important grammatical preferences and syntax, and even contextual nuances and casual ways of speaking. 

For the most part, once the algorithms have been set, AI will use patterns to determine the best way to produce answers in a language from another. 

There are a number of ways AI-powered translation can be deployed. Here are a few ways AI-powered translation can be integrated into customer support tools:

  • Chatbots. Customize AI chatbots for whatever your user may need like setting up multiple different languages to respond to customer queries in the language of their choice. 
  • Email. Similar to chatbots, you can send communications such as emails in the language of a customer’s choice.
  • Voice support. Speech recognition technologies can adapt to the primary language of the user. 

Benefits of AI-powered translation

There are a number of ways businesses and customers alike can benefit from using AI-powered translation technology and integration into customer support organizations.

Consider the following: 

  • Consistency of experience for all customers
  • Cost-effective solution to have translation services available in software rather than multiple live agents
  • Time-saving for customers and live agents to get answers in seconds in the language of choice
  • Scale customer support efforts by enabling translation that can be helpful for customers beyond one region
  • Personalized solutions for customers who do not speak the primary language of the business but can still receive the same service.
  • Global reach for businesses to attract customers from other regions and break down both language and buying barriers

Overcoming challenges with AI translation

One of the key ways to support better AI translation is by providing a wide and deep well of information from the company and beyond for the machine to learn from. This can help improve accuracy and decrease biases, as well as ensure the technology is reliable. 


Context is incredibly important in any language. There are cultural and emotional nuances that AI tools haven’t yet quite mastered. These challenges create an opportunity to continually use and iterate on the data provided by customer support organizations and customers in real-time to refine how AI-powered tools are interacted with.

Human oversight is a key way AI-powered translation can be more broadly supported in customer service organization. Stepping in to provide quality control over AI output and add a human, empathetic touch is helpful in generating trust and connection with not only the business deploying the AI tools, but with customers and the tools themselves. 

The future of multilingual customer support

With all of the considerations listed here, including technologies to adopt and how AI benefits both businesses and customers, you may ask yourself what else is left. There’s always ways to improve on a process, technology, or idea. To ensure multilingual customer support can remain truly multilingual and useful, here is where we need to go:

  1. Context. Machines aren’t going to get the complexities of a situation without having all of the context. AI is fairly limited in that regard. Customers may need to explain time and again what their concern is and still AI tools may not fully “get” it. A better understanding of a zoomed out picture of the situation is the next step in this journey. 
  2. Nuance. There are cultural customs and specificities that AI hasn’t quite grasped yet. With more time, context, as mentioned above, and human oversight to guide the machine to look for these patterns, multilingual customer support AI can be better equipped to handle nuance. 
  3. Bias. Information that gets prioritized over another often leads to a bias. This is true of how we see people and who gets spoken of first or in the best light. To combat that, the future of multilingual customer support will need to teach AI tools of such biases and provide a deeper well of information to pull from in order to avoid it. 

Conclusion

The world has always been multilingual and diverse. In business, we’re simply catching up to that reality. To provide true customer support, businesses need to invest in multilingual solutions that ask not the customer to change but the business itself to adapt to the needs of the customer. AI-powered translation and multilingual customer support is that solution. 

Dive in.

Interested in generative AI for customer support? Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

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