You’re at a point where you’re about to partner with a Language Services Provider (LSP) to help your business grow in new territories. You’re going global, even if it’s just one small step at a time. It’s an exciting period, one you want to get right from the outset.
You’ve done your homework and know the LSP that’s the best fit for your business. You're ready to set sail on this new, crucial partnership, but a level of detail needs ironing out to ensure you start on the right foot.
At LinguaLinx, we want all of our clients to know exactly what they can expect from us and what we expect from them.
In this article, we’ll go over the process of working with an LSP. We’ll talk about the basic steps so you’re armed with the knowledge to forge ahead with your new linguistic partner into new markets.
Process of Working with an LSP
This is the bedrock of the project. Get this right, and you pave the way for a smooth process right through to delivery. Having said that, briefings only need to be as complicated as the project. If you’re translating a single document, there won’t be a lot of info needed.
If you’re taking your business and localizing into a different area of the world, with a lot of pre-existing content and new content being created, then spending the time to make the brief thorough is well worth it. Critical, in fact.
These are the questions to be answered in the brief:
- What’s the goal of the project? What’s the background behind the decision for the business?
- What’s the source and target language?
- What content needs to be translated, interpreted, or localized? What are the end deliverables going to be?
- What’s the workflow that the project will go through? Get a good understanding of the steps and when you’ll have the opportunity to provide feedback.
- What are the timescales? Get a project plan in place with key milestones and deadlines.
- How will communication happen? Who will lead it from your side and from the LSP so that it’s clear, streamlined, and with an effective feedback loop?
- What’s the budget?
- Are there future business needs that should be taken into account to maximize the investment in this project for the strategic goals of the business?
The Project – Translation, Interpretation, and Localization
You’ve covered all the details in the brief, and everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet. Perfect. Now this is where the work is actually done. The deliverables you need are created. This is usually the biggest and most complicated part of the project because it’ll involve the most people.
You (the client), the LSP’s project management team, linguists, and, depending on your needs, other suppliers such as web designers, digital and audio/video teams, and so on.
But everything will go smoothly because you had a great brief ,and there’s a clear project roadmap that everyone is following to get to the same destination.
Quality Assurance (QA)
The work’s done, and now it needs to be checked to make sure it’s right. Any good LSP will have a robust QA process because their reputation depends on it. But it’s a bit like having never sky-dived – you don’t know how to pack your own parachute, so you have to put your life in someone else’s hands.
This is why QA in the linguistic industry is different from many other industries. You, as the client, need to trust the LSP because, after all, you don’t understand the target language.
You may be able to tell that your content has been translated into Spanish, but your new offices are in Buenos Aires and not Barcelona. And Argentinian Spanish is very different from Catalan region Spanish. So, how do you make sure it’s the right Spanish?
Don’t worry. Your LSP will have a QA process that includes independent linguists who specialize in your target language on a regional, cultural, and even local community level, so the project ends up exactly as you want it. They should have a lot of happy clients who have gone through this QA process too, so you don’t just have to take their word for it.
How did it go? What was the process like? What went well, and what can be improved? We can only speak for ourselves, but as an LSP, we aim to become a boutique arm of our client’s business. Their linguistic department. This means having structure in how we work but tailoring it to each individual client and how they work.
The review process should go back to the brief and track how each area of that brief maintained its shape (or flexed a little, or even took a sharp right turn, all fine as long it was agreed) throughout the whole process.
Honesty and positivity are key here. The review is a two-way street, and the outcome should be an amended process or workflow that suits everyone.
Finally, when the deliverables have been living their own lives in their new culture, when your content is spreading its wings in a new market, how is it doing? How is it performing, and is it having the desired impact? Was the investment worth it? What has been learned since the content has gone live? What knowledge can be banked to be drawn upon in the future?
There are a lot of things to consider here, and sometimes it can be difficult to measure impact. But the metrics to look at, where possible, are ROI, market penetration, brand recognition, localization success, and other feedback from the new audience.
The review stage shapes future working practices. The measurement stage shapes future business strategy. The former is the understudy of the latter, but both have intrinsic value to the process.
The Best Way To Work With A LSP
It’s simple, really. Lean on them. They’re as expert in their business as you are in yours. And when you lean on them, it shouldn’t feel like pushing against rigid wood, but instead, like a firm memory foam mattress that fits to your body and supports you everywhere you need it.
If we had to sum up the process in a single sentence? Get the brief right. Make sure it’s detailed, agreed by everyone, and realistic. If the brief hits these three areas, then the project, QA, review, and measurement will all fall in line and bring you nicely full circle back to the briefing stage for your next linguistic chapter.
Get A Quote For Your Language Services Needs
If you’re looking for a quote for a translation, interpretation, or localization project, we’d love to sit down and talk with you about it.
With LinguaLinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message getting lost as it’s translated. You know you're in good hands as we’re ISO 17100 and ISO 9001 compliant, have over twenty years of professional translation experience, and have earned the trust of organizations around the world.
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