When businesses seek out translation, interpretation, localization, and other language services, there are many ways they can meet their needs. And in some cases, a shorter-term solution, such as leaning on an internal employee or hiring a contractor ad-hoc, might be tempting.
But at LinguaLinx, we’re a bit biased toward the full-service language services provider (LSP) model—we’ve seen it work wonders for over 1500 clients over the past 20 years. There’s simply no other way to cover every language imaginable needed across 99% of the world’s languages.
That said, you shouldn’t just take us at our word (no matter how many languages we speak).
Below, we’ll break down the benefits of working with an LSP long-term into two categories: value-adds, which get better over time, and major pain points you’ll be thankful for avoiding.
Establish a Uniform Voice, Across Contexts
On the positive front, working with an LSP long-term will provide you with immense value right from the start of your relationship all through the months, years, or decades you work with one.
The best time to start working with an LSP is the moment a pressing language need emerges.
If your organization is operating in a purely monolingual context, it might be hard to imagine a need for translation, interpretation, or localization popping up overnight. However, the value of international communication is well-established, and you never want to miss out on a business opportunity because of an inability to meet a prospective client or partner where they are.
- Mandarin, spoken by over one billion people worldwide
- Hindi, spoken by over 600 million people worldwide
- Spanish, spoken by over 500 million people worldwide
- Arabic, spoken by over 300 million people worldwide
Beyond just making your website available in any of these tongues (or others), you also need to ensure that content is consistent across your various pages—and across different languages.
Working with a trusted LSP partner is the best way to guarantee that, at scale.
Volume and Complexity of Language Services
Consistency becomes exponentially more challenging over time as the sheer amount of content you need to make available across different languages balloons seemingly out of control. Every new asset needs to be cross-referenced against all others to make sure your voice is uniform.
Volume is one reason many organizations may turn to an automated solution at scale.
But then, there’s the added factor of language complexity or difficulty. Namely: what happens when a need for translation emerges suddenly in a language that defies automatic translation?
Google Translate does work in at least one capacity with over 100 languages. However, it lacks full functionality across all seven of its key features (type, write, talk, snap, see, offline, and transcribe) for many languages. For some, it sports only one function (i.e., only type).
Machine learning for automated translation requires an abundance of written texts in the target language, which in some cases is hard to find. Specifically, it needs to learn from translations between tongues, which can be tough to track down even for languages spoken by millions of people today (in particular, African languages with rich oral traditions, like Ewe).
With a long-term LSP partner, you’ll have coverage for just about any language there is.
Flexibility Across Diverse Cultures and Use Cases
A quality LSP partner also provides assurance beyond baseline translation.
To communicate across cultural boundaries, you need to do more than just transliterate, or substitute individual words or phrases for their (seeming) equivalents in other languages.
You’ll also need to localize your translations, making them authentic to readers and listeners through an intimate understanding beyond dictionary definitions and textbook rules. While an individual translator may be able to provide this sensibility for one or two cultures, it’s unlikely that they’ll have such familiarity across many. For that, you’ll need to partner with an LSP.
On a related note, partnering with an LSP will give you access to specialists who know the ins and outs of a specific industry, within one or more cultural and linguistic contexts. For example:
- Specific assumptions that could be crucial to accurate legal and medical translation
- Cultural associations and connotations that can make or break tourism/travel content
- Common idioms and expressions, which can lead to marketing gaffes when ignored
Individual translators or smaller firms are unlikely to offer the same depth of experience across various industries, generally preferring breadth of applicability in a more generalist approach.
Working with an LSP allows for unparalleled flexibility across all languages and use cases.
Avoid Growing—and Adapting—Pains
Beyond providing positive value, partnering with an LSP long-term can also mitigate or prevent several pain points both directly and indirectly related to translation and other language needs.
At the most basic, logistical level, partnering with an LSP streamlines all language concerns into a single relationship. Once a strong partnership is established, there’s no need to worry about recruiting, hiring, and retaining internal staff or outsourcers to handle language responsibilities.
Sometimes, organizations will ask multilingual employees to translate, even if this kind of task falls outside the scope of their job description. Not only is this ineffective; it can be inefficient:
- Speaking a language, even fluently, is not the same as being a trained translator
- Untrained translators make mistakes that, without oversight, may not be caught
- Staff tasked with translating need to have their primary responsibilities covered
Put differently, this kind of ad-hoc reliance is a bandaid or quick fix, not a real solution.
But working with an LSP gets at the root cause of language pain points and treats them with professional diligence and industry-standard best practices. Simply put, it solves the problem.
Quality Assurance Through Certification
Ultimately, the biggest indicator that an LSP will be a successful long-term partner—and the most effective approach to meeting your language needs—comes down to their certification.
One of the biggest differences between LSPs and other solutions, like individual translators or automated solutions, is that you can verify the quality of the former through an international standard. ISO 17100 lists requirements for translation services, including but not limited to:
- Specific resource requirements, like experience minimums for individual staff
- Step-by-step requirements for translation and review of translated materials
- Additional procedural requirements for pre-production and post-production
To verify compliance, LSPs undergo rigorous assessment from third-party certification bodies who also need to be certified (according to another rigorous ISO standard known as CASCO).
In short, the process guarantees that an LSP you partner with long-term is dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s—that diacritics are all in place—so that you can focus on what you do best.
Get a Quote for Language Services!
As you can see, working with an LSP as a long-term partner will provide value for your business by providing unparalleled dependability across all language services and optimizing operations.
Are you looking for a partner to meet your translation, interpretation, and localization needs?
We’d love to get in touch and talk about how LinguaLinx can meet your specific language needs across any communities you’re looking to engage. Consultations are free, with no obligations.
With LinguaLinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message being misunderstood. You know you're in good hands with our ISO 17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.
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