Choosing a Language Service Provider

Ten Key Questions to Ask

Selecting a qualified language service provider (LSP) can be a very tricky process. Now a $30 billion industry, the translation services sector encompasses tens of thousands of businesses that vary widely based on the languages they translate, range of services offered, number and capacity of locations, quality, customer service, internal capabilities and subject matter expertise. Here are a few tips on what to look for when selecting your LSP.


  1. Can it meet your needs?
    • When interviewing the LSP, be clear about your project goals. Choose a translation company that has specific knowledge of your business sector and the languages of the cultures you are targeting. Ask the company you are vetting to provide case studies of its work with other clients in your area. Before work begins, provide the LSP with examples of translations that demonstrate your desired tone and style, as well as a glossary of company-specific terminology.
  2. What is its background and financial status?
    • It is important to verify that the company with which you will build a relationship is financially secure and has an established history of success. Also, make sure that translation is its core business and that its staff includes native speakers with specific subject matter expertise.
  3. Is it accredited and certified?
    • Quality should be of the utmost importance when selecting your LSP. You should only consider agencies that have acquired the ISO9001 and ISO17100 certification for professional translation services.
  4. Does it have global offices in relevant locations?
    • It is important that the LSP provider aligns with your business. If your company has offices and clients in Asia and Europe, partnering with an LSP that has project managers located in these regions can help ensure that your global teams have access to direct contacts during their respective business hours.
  5. Is it accessible 24/7?
    • It is crucial to have ’round-the-clock service no matter where you are located. For example, there is a 12-hour time difference between Miami and Beijing. If a change is requested by someone in Miami in the middle of the workday, colleagues in Beijing won’t see that request until the next morning. This could cost you an entire day’s worth of translation work. Balance your project managers around the globe and you’ll save time, money and stress.
  6. Does it supply references?
    • Companies that have completed projects successfully will have happy clients who are willing to share their experiences. Ask the LSP to connect you with past or current clients so that you can speak to them directly.
  7. Will it sign a non-disclosure agreement?
    • It is common to ask a vendor to sign a nondisclosure agreement before allowing access to your confidential files. Your contract with the LSP should include signed NDAs with all staff and linguists assigned to your project.
  8. Does it have a solid quality control process in place?
    • Make sure that the LSP has a thorough-but-efficient process for reviewing the content and formatting of all translation projects.
  9. Is it affordable?
    • Everybody wants the highest quality of work at the lowest price. Bear in mind that cost is affected by your internal process, the complexity of the subject matter and the level of technical expertise required. Be sure your LSP is transparent in its pricing and that there are no hidden fees.
  10. Does it work quickly and provide easy access to translation projects?
    • It is key that your vendor be able to translate efficiently, reliably, and on time. A timeframe for completion should be clearly agreed upon at the beginning of any project. And, your LSP should make it simple for you to track the progress of your project at any time.


Going the Extra Mile

Specializing in outstanding service

As a premier language service provider with more than 2,000 clients worldwide, we believe in giving each company our complete creative attention to deliver exceptional service, no matter how small or large the project. Here’s just one example:

Protranslating was asked to create a series of original menus for a major cruise line that were customized to each of its travel destinations. These localized menus needed to be mouth-watering, accurate and consistent across nine different languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian and Russian. There was one additional challenge: Each of these menus had to be created and delivered with a three-day turnaround to dovetail with the ship’s itinerary.

To accomplish this demanding transcreation task, we rallied our troops. We recruited culinary experts in each language and trained our client’s staff in how best to format files for the final print-ready products. We even created a second set of annotated menus for restaurant wait staff, so they could better inform their customers about the diverse culinary offerings being provided.

We jumped on the challenge presented to us and did what it took to meet the deadline and deliver an exceptional product, which freed up the client to focus on creating exceptional food and travel adventures for its guests.

Click here to read all seven core values that guide us.