Everything Translation
Everything Translation

What is a Language Service Provider? 

If you’re one of the many companies with an eye on global expansion, it’s time to start thinking about language service providers. Adapting content from one language into another with in-house talent isn’t always feasible for businesses. If the scope of a project extends to full-blown localization, an external provider is often the only way to go. 

Choosing the right language service provider is the difference between falling flat and finding your feet in new target markets. Below, we’ll look at what language service providers do, the benefits they can bring to your business, and what to look out for when selecting the perfect provider for your requirements. 

What do language service providers do? 

Language service providers (LSPs) are companies offering a variety of linguistic and translation services to clients. LSPs can vary considerably in size. Some are one-man operations, while others are far-reaching enterprises with thousands of linguists working all over the world. Because of this variety, not all LSPs offer the same menu of services. 

At a minimum, most language service providers will offer translation solutions, with more established agencies also providing transcreation and localization. Others also offer proofreading, revision, and evaluation services as part of the package or as a standalone service. 

While LSPs offer their services for one-time arrangements, the best offer an all-in-one solution that can be used to manage a project from start to finish, regardless of volume. 

What are the advantages of working with an LSP? 

Looking to translate your company website into a new language? Perhaps you have grander ambitions and want to target a new market with a winning localization strategy. In either case, partnering with a language service provider makes total sense. Below are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy when working with an established LSP. 

It’s a cost-effective approach 

While some language service providers may be limited to translation solutions, the majority of them offer a variety of other services. These can include things like captioning, subtitling, and interpretation services. All-in-one solutions can prove incredibly cost-effective, especially when you’re ordering at scale. 

Access to many language pairs 

While hiring freelance translators is always an option, workflows become complicated when you’re dealing with multiple languages. Independent linguists won’t have a direct line to each other, leaving most of the communications down to you. 

This can put added pressure on project managers whose schedules are already stretched thin. Using a language service provider overcomes this obstacle. What’s more, you’ll have access to a far greater array of language pairs, with experienced teams of linguists ready to go when you are. 

More versatile than in-house solutions 

One of the key reasons to consider using an external LSP is the amount of expertise that they bring to the table. Along with unrivaled insights into translation, localization, and transcreation, you benefit from cross-departmental teams with experience in everything from software to graphic design. 

More accurate than freelance translators 

Quality assurance is a big concern in translation projects. Managing multiple freelancers is not only time-consuming, it also creates a headache when it comes to QA. With an LSP, the first round of quality assurance is taken care of, allowing you to focus on more important tasks.

Questions to ask when selecting a language service provider 

Thinking of using a language services provider? Not all LSPs are created equal, and which one you pick will have a huge impact on the success of your localization or translation project. To help you make the right choice, consider the following when weighing up your options: 

What languages do they offer? 

When choosing a translation or localization service, this is without a doubt one of the most important questions to ask. Some providers will only offer localization and translation solutions for a handful of languages, while others may be able to work with dozens of language pairs. 

What kind of qualifications do translators have? 

This is one area where you’re likely to see a lot of disparity. Some providers will make a point of advertising that their translators are accredited, while others may rely on their own judgment when qualifying linguists.

Are there any case studies of past work? 

Does your business occupy a niche sector? Everyday terminology that you use might seem alien to the average person. This issue can be compounded during localization and translation, so it’s important that an LSP has experience working with clients from your industry. If possible, ask for case study evidence of past successes. 

What about pricing?

No two translation projects are identical, so localization and translation services with fixed pricing structures don’t always make sense. Fortunately, many providers offer flexible pricing models that can be molded to meet the needs of individual projects. First time using a particular LSP? Some agencies offer a free test as an incentive to new customers. 

What kind of software do they use? 

A typical language service provider utilizes a suite of tools and software solutions. At a bare minimum, a provider should have a robust translation management system, although more established agencies will use multiple programs and pieces of software. 

However, some software is better than others, with the best dramatically increasing output capabilities and speed of delivery. Time is of the essence when penetrating new markets, so look for providers who offer machine translation capabilities

Can you communicate directly with linguists? 

While some providers will offer a project manager as part of the package, you know your product and project best. In many cases, it’s far easier for you to communicate updates and ideas with linguists and localization experts, rather than go through a middleman. 

While having a single point of contact can be useful, being able to connect with language teams directly will simplify workflows and avoid miscommunications. Look for a provider that allows you to post updates within a translation management system if you’re looking for a direct line. 

What’s the QA process like?

While it’s always a good idea to invest in external quality assurance, choosing a language service provider with rigorous QA processes is a must. Constant rounds of quality assurance will ensure basic errors are kept to a minimum and industry-specific terminology is being preserved across translations. Many agencies include editing as part of the price, while others charge a premium for this and proofreading services. 

Which sectors regularly use language service providers? 

Just about every business with international reach will likely have used an LSP in the past. However, they’re more popular with certain sectors than others. Banking and finance, tourism and hospitality, and education are just a few examples of industries that regularly use LSPs. They’re also commonly used by the medical and tech industries, along with e-commerce enterprises.  

Looking for an experienced language service provider? 

With the right language service provider, it’s easy to adapt your content for new audiences. No matter the content type you’re localizing or the channels you’re targeting, an LSP brings unrivaled experience and cost-saving benefits to the table. What’s more, you can count on expedited service as standard, ensuring you always meet your project milestones on time. 

Looking for translation and localization services you can trust? With BLEND, you have a language service provider with extensive experience in adapting multilingual content for a global audience. With support for over 120 languages and a thousands-strong network of linguists, BLEND’s the obvious choice if you’re serious about global expansion. 

Ready to learn more? Start your journey today.

author post

Corinne Sharabi

Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.


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