7 Things You Need To Know About Language Service Providers 

February 9, 2022

Society’s today is a truly global one, where companies are expected to operate around the clock to achieve success. All businesses ranging from individual enterprises to international corporations accelerate their globalization process by cooperating with language service providers to help them across national boundaries by translating and adapting their content for all types of audiences. If you intend to resonate your brand in local markets with a close and appropriate voice, this article will be a guideline to help you fully understand the language service providers and how to deliver a successful content localization project with them. 

What is a language service provider? 

A language service provider (LSP) is a company, agency, or individual who offers language-related services such as translation, proofreading, interpreting, desktop publishing, etc. In the rise of technology and the Internet, these services become even more important and strategic to international companies as it gives must go far beyond the word translation you get from the search engine. Colors, images, and symbols should be culturally adapted, and metaphors, graphics need to be appropriate for the country setting.  

How will an LSP benefit you? 

A language service provider will deliver you valuable work such as: 

  • Make sure that all your website, product information, labeling, marketing communication, etc are presented to target audiences at a professional standard that reflects your brand image. 
  • Native linguists, who deliver your message, will complete the translation. This will also naturally allow them to implement cultural assessments, adaptations, and modifications if required for marketing replication. 
  • Preparation of instruction and reference materials for the translators to assure that your requirements are vividly delivered. 
  • Ability to meet your various translation needs and to apply better and more streamlined ways of completing your project. 
  • Ability to handle all your diverse file formats and maintain their quality when reproducing the content in a new language. 
  • With a wide range of subject-matter linguists and freelance translators, LSPs can easily scale up or down at any time to meet your fluctuating demands. This, in turn, allows you to concentrate on your company’s core products and services instead of a complicated recruiting process. 

Which type of language service provider is appropriate for you? 

There are several types of LSPs categorized primarily on structure and services. 

Freelance Translators 

These are individual people who provide the service, commonly are appropriate for dual language translation rather than multilingual work. With small to medium word volume projects, they may complete them at reasonable rates. But when it comes to more sophisticated tasks, you may have to reconsider your LSP. 

Single language Service Provider (SLSP) 

An SLSP provides services with a specialty in a limited number of languages, which are often small providers associated with a customer-centric approach to projects. In addition, these companies typically possess a vast number of internal linguists and reviewers. Hence, they are able to accurately identify the regional intricate words, metaphors, idioms, jokes, and sarcasm in the target language.   

Multiple-language Service Provider (MLSP) 

An MLSP can manage and localize your projects into various languages that belong to specific areas. These medium-sized companies have several representative offices on particular continents and are able to provide the service to clients who want to penetrate some countries on the continent. When cooperating with these language agencies, your message will be in a higher level of consistency as their resource varies in different countries and the time for administrative issues will be eliminated. 

Massive Multiple-language Service Provider (MMLSP) 

MMLSPs are the localization industry’s heavy hitters. They are able to cover nearly every language in the world. These are international corporations that handle large-scale projects directly from the customers before assigning them to smaller language vendors. Since they have to sustain a large structure and program, their rates are commonly higher than other types of LSPs.

What should you ask your language service provider for a streamlined localization process? 

 To help ensure a successful outcome, here are 6 questions to ask your LSP before stepping into the process. 

Do translators have related experience in my industry? 

Different industries will have unique challenges when adapting content. Legal materials will require the expertise of a Lawyer, meanwhile, medical documentation will need an experienced professional to review as only subject-matter experts could understand the details, nuances, and special requirements of that content. 

Some questions you should take into consideration include: 

  • How long has the LSP been working in translating your industry content? 
  • Do linguists have knowledge of the field and experience working with similar projects? 

What fees come along with translation services? 

The price for each service of each LSP is various, some will charge per language translated, while others will charge depending on the number of words translated. Carefully discuss with your LSP to find out if there is any hidden cost before you officially start the project. 

Some questions about the fee you should ask your LSP include: 

  • Can you give more details about your pricing structure? Do you charge per language, per word, or per project? 
  • Are there any projects or word minimums? Are the management fees in the general price yet? 

What is the metric to evaluate and qualify the translators of the LSP? 

We can’t deny the convenience of hiring volunteers and freelance translators. However, starting your global expansion on the free translation or competent efforts might lead to poor quality. Professional LSPs should have an evaluation process in place to vet qualified linguists to ensure that only top-notch talents will join the project.  

Some questions for reference include: 

  • How to know if a translator is suitable for the project. Are there any particular testing procedures for specialized fields? 
  • What is the content of the test? What percentage of linguists do not pass your testing process? 

What is the revising process for translations that do not meet quality requirements or project goals? 

No matter how proficient are the translators, they still may involuntarily create some mistakes, which result in the failure to meet your brand’s expectations. Additionally, there is always the possibility that the output will need extra work or a touch of creativity and similar activity. Hence, LSPs should develop a process to manage these similar situations and facilitate necessary revision agilely, so that your team doesn’t have to start an internal review process. 

Some questions for reference include: 

  • What is the current process for revising content that fails to meet our goals? 
  • Are any additional fees pop up with editing or recreating content that misses the agreed quality standards? 

How is translated content delivered? 

In the era of technology, we have vast tools and software to safely store and deliver files. Especially, content for your new products in the new target market should be strictly preserved and protected from rivals to avoid any disadvantageous situations. Hence, ensure that your LSP has secure storage for your output, or their technology could integrate with your existing tech stack.  

Some questions to think about include: 

  • What tools or software will they use to store and deliver the output? 
  • How secure is the process to ensure that your source files are completely unrevealed by any unauthorized person? 

How to choose the right language service providers? 

After listing a number of questions to ask potential LSPs, you should identify the metrics to evaluate their ability. To help you make the right choice, here are 5 factors to consider when choosing the suitable one. 

Language capabilities

Clearly identify your linguistic requirements to how many and which languages you need to make your content available in and which LSP can provide that for you.  

  • If you merely need 2-3 languages, you can assign your projects to freelancers or SLSP so that you only have to work through one contact point. 
  • If you need to translate your content into several specific languages, working with MLSP will be a viable option. MLSP will have more extensive linguistic resources in various languages to handle your content. 

Furthermore, cooperating with one MLSP will be easier for administrative activities rather than multi-managing. This approach will help you oversee the process of ten separate SLSP or freelancers, due to the diversity in languages. 


While penetrating a new market, you definitely want your products or services to become familiar with the locals by accurately speaking their native language. Only experienced and subject-matter translators can complete. Hence, while considering the appropriate LSPs, ask them to provide a documented quality assurance process and the resumes of translators who will grasp your projects. Of course, the translator might be with plenty of years of experience, but the second set of eyes won’t hurt to assure outstanding results throughout the entire project and prevent any poor-quality translation. 

Support and communication 

LSPs’ role is likely to present your brand creating its identity for international markets. That means you should develop smooth and effective communication any time you need it, especially when an emergency arises. Therefore, find out whether their customer service is reactive by identifying if they’ll provide a single point of contact. With LSPs having significantly different time zones you should empathize that they may not respond to you promptly.  

Tools Matter 

A lot of LSPs have integrated machine translation to accelerate their processes. Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools pave the way for translators to work better and accurately deliver a top-notch translation for a fraction of the cost. However, professional linguists will not overuse the tools as it may lead to nonsense sentences and literally translated idioms. Therefore, you should find out more about how they will apply these software in the processes. Of course, you should ensure that translators have adequate tools to work with all types of file formats either. 


There is a wide range of prices for you to choose from. Should you go for the most expensive solution, or try to drive down your cost on LSP? Even if you are on a tight budget, don’t completely rely on the one with the lowest price. Otherwise, you risk working with a questionable LSP, lack of management skills, get the poor-quality translation, or even worse, reflect the wrong image of your brand and damage your reputation.  

Here are 5 things about LSPs that you should take into consideration when finding localization services that match your requirements. Carrying out proper research to find the appropriate fit for your business may take substantial resources and a lot of time, why don’t you connect with the experts at Wise-Concetti to streamline the process? 

Read more:5 Tips to Identify and Avoid Translation Scammers 


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