How to Choose a Provider for NLP Annotation Services
Communication is a key part of human existence, or any living being for that matter. Humans have taken it a step forward with the development of languages, which makes it quick and precise.
With the help of their magnificent brain, human beings are able to communicate with ease, even when the incoming or outgoing messaging is not perfectly formatted or structured. In written communication, such as emails and text messages, even though we may use abbreviations, leave out the verbs, play around with the structure of sentences, we are mostly able to send and receive the right message.
Verbal communication, perhaps the most common form of messaging, takes the level of difficulty a notch higher. The precision of characters in written forms could be compromised. Two people might pronounce the same word differently. Hence, an additional layer of comprehension is required to interpret what is being said.
And the complexity could grow even more when you throw different languages and scripts and grammar and structures in the mix. That being said, for the most part, human beings are able to communicate effectively.
The language and messaging systems humans use to communicate with each other is also known as ‘natural language.’
Open communication also underpins the relationships oWorkers maintains with its clients, starting at the contracting stage. The oWorkers methodology of offering a choice between different pricing arrangements is well known and appreciated. In fact, new prospects positively look forward to receiving the alternate suggestions and working out the cost benefit for themselves.
Use of language in computers
We have witnessed computers getting smarter with time. Computers are driven by software. Software is a set of instructions, or commands, written in a manner that can be understood by the computer, to enable it to execute the actions it is required to.
These instructions are documented, or written down, or, in a way codified. Once written down as a set of keystrokes, they become precise. When you press a ‘T’ key on the computer keyboard, it will always be a ‘T.’ This removes ambiguity from the language and allows a computer to read it precisely.
In addition, these instructions follow a predefined format, or syntax, again for the purpose of ensuring that the computer is able to understand it the way it is meant to be understood, and not leave any room for doubt or vagueness.
With a multicultural and multinational team in each of its locations, the result of an active policy of creating a global workplace, oWorkers is now reaping rewards in the form of a multilingual team that is equipped to handle requirements in over 20 languages.
Relevance of NLP annotation services
Despite the advancements in digital technology, computers struggle to understand unstructured or unformatted textual information.
And guess what, most of the communication happening around us is in the form of unstructured and unformatted language between humans, either verbally, or even in written formats. Vast amounts of unstructured data is being generated every moment, most of which going unharnessed.
As the usage of machines has expanded to cover more and more routine and mundane tasks, it has become necessary to find a way for them to ingest, or take in, unstructured information, make sense out of it and take the actions required.
That is, in a way, one of the next frontiers that digital technology is working to address and lies at the intersection of multiple disciplines like software, linguistics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), deep learning, analytics and others. Natural language processing is helping release vast amounts of knowledge stored in natural communication happening around us all the time, and enabling organizations to put it to work for them.
With the ability to handle them efficiently, companies are expected to substantially reduce their current cost of processing. Not very different from the savings they get when they outsource to oWorkers. Some say their costs reduce by up to 80% when they work with oWorkers.
How does it work?
A computer cannot simply take in data and learn from it. It has to be spoon fed; in other words, it has to be prepared in a manner that ingesting it will deliver information and learning to the computer.
The process of enriching natural language data is done through the process of annotation; adding or tagging bits of information, or metadata, to relevant sections. This marking up is done in a language that can be understood by the computer and, with its help, it begins to understand the ‘true’ nature of the tagged data.
It goes without saying that the better the quality of this annotation, the better the results the program will deliver when put to use. NLP annotation services, thus, constitute a critical link in the sequence of steps for developing the capability of machines to understand human interaction.
oWorkers has, over a period of time, developed close working relationships with technology companies. One of the major benefits is that oWorkers is able to leverage their technologies, in many cases, for client projects, that they would otherwise not be in a position to access.
Selecting the right partner
With the need to understand, interpret and put to work unstructured information rising as a competitive advantage for many companies, the demand curve for NLP annotation services is rising. Though doing it yourself is always an option for everyone, the activity being a specialized one, and many BPO providers having established themselves in the space, outsourcing seems to be the preferred option for many.
Instead of rushing in and burning a hole in the pocket by making rushed, unsuitable choices, it is advisable to take a step back and understand how you should go about the task of selecting a vendor. The ensuing paragraphs suggest what companies should be looking for when their objective is to select a partner for these services, and minimize rework and cost while doing so.
Prior experience and knowledge in the field
Of course, this is the basic hygiene disqualifier. For a specialized activity, it is advisable to select a provider with experience in the field.
But then, how did the first provider get the first assignment for NLP annotation services? They would not have possessed any prior experience at that point.
Indeed. Sincere, interested parties can also be considered selectively as other benefits might be possible through such an association, such as beneficial pricing. Since they are interested in partnering for the sake of building work experience in the area, better terms can be expected from them, though greater monitoring will be required.
With a track record of providing NLP annotation services to its global clients, oWorkers remains a top contender for outsourced work in this area. It is committed to working in the area of data related BPO projects, resulting in its recognition as one of the top three providers in the world, not a small achievement for an eight-year old company.
Access to human resources
People remain key to the success of a BPO company. They are, in fact, what distinguish BPO providers from other types of companies. Tasks that can be automated have, most likely, been automated by corporations. They are reaching out to you for activities beyond that automation, that need to be done manually.
With oWorkers, you get access to a steady supply of the best resources available in each of the delivery locations it operates from. This comes from a deep commitment to local communities, resulting in recognition as credible employers. The hired resources are trained for projects based on aptitude, and assigned to work as soon as they are ready. The strategy of working with employed resources, and not freelancers and contractors, has paid rich dividends for oWorkers. The supervisory layer, which ensures the quality of delivery, has been created from promoted frontline resources, demonstrating the commitment of oWorkers towards career advancement.
Technology and Security
Constituting the backbone of the BPO industry, technology has enabled large volumes of work to be performed from any part of the world. But it also comes with enhanced risk of data being compromised with a few keystrokes. Hence, security is an important requirement and should be ensured.
BPO providers, because of their ability to bulk up volumes, are often able to invest in natural language processing technologies that individual clients, on their own, may not be able to. The fact that for the BPO provider it is an investment in revenue generation while for the outsourcer it would be an investment on the cost reduction side of the Income Statement, may also be an influencing factor.
As mandated by their ISO (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) certification, oWorkers employees sign and operate under an NDA and work in monitored facilities. The facilities are monitored and secure. Physical access-control based segregation can be implemented if the process requires it. oWorkers is also GDPR compliant. Of course, it helps that they have many technology companies as clients.
Speed of service and response
In a world that is ‘always on,’ the speed of processing becomes an important competitive advantage. The faster something is done, the greater the customer satisfaction. Equally, it frees up the processing unit for more work, thus increasing capacity.
Digital technology has already made it possible for a lot of work to be done on computers from any part of the globe, connected through the ever-expanding network of the internet. That in itself delivers significant response time benefits. The outsourcer hands off work when they shut shop at night, which is the time the vendor, on the other side of the world, is just beginning work. They complete the work while the client is asleep and hand it back just as they start work on the next day. It is as if the work has been magically done while they were asleep.
Add to this the oWorkers ability to operate on a 24×7 basis, in each of their centers, all 12 months of the year. Their three global delivery centers deliver to exacting turnaround time expectations, including overnight processing. With an operation running 24×7, 365 days of the year, clients can decide what speed they want.
A commercial engagement for NLP annotation services cannot be completed without pricing being a factor. The issue with pricing often is that it is given disproportionate importance by the two parties. Of course, as one of the few measurable indicators, it might be justified, but what you are getting for the price is equally important. And also, what you are not getting in it and may need to pay for additionally.
While it may not be, prima facie, the outsourcer’s concern, if the price appears to be ‘too low,’ it should also be a cause for concern. You don’t want a partner that cuts corners at every step because of the need to somehow squeeze out a profit out of the low quote. Eventually, your business will suffer.
With an efficient operating engine, oWorkers offers the best pricing for its services. As an example, its ability to attract a steady stream of walk-in job applicants reduces the need to advertise for hiring. The cost saved eventually reflects in the pricing it offers.
General Management and financial health
Taking on an outsourcing contract is an act of responsibility. It requires capability and commitment, as well as financial health. What an outsourcer can do without is a provider who is unable to invest in the business as their financial health does not permit it. Dire financial straits will also distract them from their core work. The selected partner should be able to demonstrate financial health, profitability and the ability to invest in the business.
The senior management defines the focus and attention of others in the company. Hence, a senior team active in the discussions and knowledgeable about the work their company is doing is a positive, as is a demonstrated ability to project manage new contracts and transition them to success.
oWorkers is registered locally in all the global centers it operates from and has been a consistently profitable enterprise. The management team has over 20 years of hands-on experience in the outsourcing industry.
The oWorkers advantage
With oWorkers, you get a lot more when you partner with them for NLP annotation services.
You get a vendor with centers in multiple geographies that has the added advantage of operating as a Business Continuity Plan by switching it to an alternate location in case the primary location cannot be accessed.
You get a team of Quality Analysts (QAs)m who act as the eyes and ears of top management and ensure that quality issues do not impact your business. oWorkers delivers over 98% accuracy, across a variety of projects and measurement systems and tools.
You also get an opportunity to create positive social and economic change by creating employment opportunities in the marginalized communities where oWorkers draws most of its workers from.