What should you look for in a language service provider?
Whether your business operates in a diverse marketplace or you’re looking to expand to global markets, it’s imperative to be fluent in the languages your customers or clients understand.
Language service providers (LSPs) are critical to simplifying communication in today’s global business environment. Communicating with service providers in their first language minimizes errors due to language nuances. Marketing to customers in a language they understand can improve sales, increase website conversion, and streamline expansion to global markets.
At LinguaLinx, we understand just how important it is to find a quality LSP that will help you communicate to your audience without compromising the integrity of your message. But we also know how challenging it can be to find one—or even know what to look for in your search.
5 Qualifications You Should Prioritize When Shopping for an LSP
1. Experience with Global Markets
If you’re trying to reach customers in specific global markets, your business language needs to localize, or speak to and from the subtleties and nuances in their languages and cultures.
Cultural fluency in your marketing language increases the chances that you’ll capture your customers' attention. For example, translating your website is crucial to reaching customers who speak different languages and appealing to their specific cultural needs.
Some cultures are more receptive to relatively “aggressive” marketing, whereas others might respond better to more subtle or empathetic language that caters to their cultural norms and expectations.
You need to put out a message that your target audience both understands and relates to.
A survey conducted by Common Sense Advisory showed that as many as 72% of consumers prefer to spend time on websites that provide information in a language they can understand. Over 50% would buy a product based on the language used on a website rather than price.
These expectations only hold, though, if that language is adequately localized. A native speaker of a language may not consider a poorly translated or non-localized translation to be their language.
Make sure to prioritize cultural competency when evaluating LSPs.
2. Experience with Complex Languages
Depending on the specific languages you’re working between, you’ll also want to seek out LSPs with wide coverage in complex tongues. Regardless of the relative simplicity of languages you need covered directly, a broader and deeper understanding across languages means greater flexibility for any unforeseen translation needs. Think of a sudden hire or lead in a new country.
The ideal LSP should understand the technical and cultural intricacies of translating material into and out of complex languages that modulate speech based on the listener or reader, like Arabic.
For example, when translating to Arabic, an LSP may need to account for “code-switching,” where a translator might need to change the variety of Arabic spoken in a conversation.
Or, on another level, localizing a message for a more generalized Arabic-speaking audience might require “leveling,” which reduces the extent of specifics used in regional dialects.
To optimize your message, your LSP needs to have experience speaking to global audiences.
3. Experience Across Industries
The success of any translation project will also depend on the experience of a language service provider in that industry. Specifically, the LSP must understand how best to relay messages to the target audience without compromising the integrity of industry-specific business language.
For example, translating legal documentation requires an LSP to understand the conventions of legal language and the broader legal system of your target marketplace. This is critical when:
- Drafting patent applications
- Developing mergers and acquisition
- Authoring certificates
- Creating employment contracts
On the other hand, effective translation of marketing documentation may require your LSP to understand the nuances of product manuals or tutorial videos in a given local context.
Working with an LSP whose experience spans multiple industries increases the strength and accuracy of translations. Your audience will be impressed when an expert authors professional documentation based on the wording and terminology used to express ideas and concepts.
4. Professional Certifications
As with any other industry, your language service provider should be certified to provide translation, interpretation, transcription, or any other language services you need.
Certifications that Show High-Quality Processes and Deliverables
- ASTM F2575-06 certification, which shows that a translator meets the quality assurance standards required to conduct high-quality translations that contain minimal errors and meet the needs and expectations of their intended recipients.
- ISO 17100 certification, which indicates a translation service provider (TSP) meets the requirements for quality translations and is compliant with industry-defined standards.
- International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) compliance, which is required when translating documentation such as technical data related to space or US defense.
Compliance with the industry standards required for language service provision demonstrates an LSP's commitment to providing quality services and protecting you on applicable legal bases.
Importance of ISO 17100 Certification
Although all the above certifications are essential for providing language services, ISO 17100 certification is arguably most crucial to the quality of professional translations themselves.
When a language service provider complies with the ISO 17100 standard, each aspect of the translation process meets the minimum quality assurance requirements necessary to meet a client’s needs. The LSP would be liable to legal action or reputational damage if you receive a poor quality translation that defies industry best practices or legislation.
5. Flexibility and Multitasking
Multitasking is critical when it comes to providing language services—especially interpretation.
Interpretation involves concurrently listening to speakers, thinking about their ideas, and conveying the message in one or more languages (spoken, written, signed, etc.) in real time.
Since interpretation occurs in real time, your LSP must be able to think fast and multitask when conducting simultaneous or consecutive interpretations. Multitasking is critical in situations like:
- Board meetings for multinational organizations
- Diplomatic and international conferences
- Lectures to multicultural audiences
- Tours of popular tourist destinations
- Interviews in corporate settings
- Parent-teacher conferences at all education levels
- Medical consultations at healthcare institutions
- Legal meetings such as court depositions
Finding a qualified and experienced LSP to provide interpretation services will simplify communication with customers or stakeholders and eliminate language barriers.
Get a Quote for Language Services
As you can see, there are clear qualifications you should be prioritizing when searching for an LSP. Reaching a more diverse customer base in new markets doesn’t have to be challenging.
At LinguaLinx, we believe in breaking the barriers across language divides.
We are an ISO 17100-certified LSP with experience across multiple industries. We translate 98% of the world’s languages, making us well-prepared to help you penetrate most global markets.
Partnering with us can help you meet your language services needs without compromising your integrity. That all starts with a consultation, free of charge and with no strings attached.
If you’re thinking of hiring a language service provider, contact us today!
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- The Difference Between Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpretation