This is the fourth in our blog series on clichéd terms and phrases often used by LSPs (language service providers). We hope that you, the buyer, will stop when you hear one of these, ponder what is actually meant, and ask the right questions that will help avoid painful misunderstandings.
Who wouldn’t like to have a dedicated team taking care of localization for them? While this may sound tempting, there are so many shades of “dedicated” that it’s worth exploring what exactly is meant when an LSP offers to provide a “dedicated team”.
What LSPs say
“We will assign a dedicated team to your project.”
What LSPs mean
“…but note that they will also be dedicated to many other projects.”
Why it matters
As a localization manager, you want to know that you have a reliable and stable team that is:
A) fully committed to and engaged with your program
B) consistent, with the same team members from project to project, and
C) focused on your program without being distracted by other customers or responsibilities.
So basically, you want to know that your team is dedicated to your needs. But what does that mean? You will note that points A, B, and C above are all proper usages of this term, but mean slightly different things, so make sure you know which one(s) actually describe your account! Let’s take a closer look at these different meanings below.
Degrees of dedication
- A dedicated team can be one that is simply fully engaged and takes your work seriously; like the way a dedicated student studies hard for that final exam, or how athletes are dedicated to their sport. You should expect no less from the localization team that is working on your program. They need to be fully committed, driven, and hard-working. They need to be dedicated.
- A dedicated team could also be a team that is guaranteed as “your” team in the respect that you will be working consistently with the same people. This means that every project, every request, every email conversation will be handled by the same team members, who over time you will grow to know and trust.
This is like having “your” barber (or “stylist” if you prefer), whom you know and trust because they know exactly how you like your hair (and most likely know a lot more about you too). That barber is reliable, trusted, stable; that is your barber.
- The third possible usage could mean that a team is fully focused on your program and only your program. The barber analogy doesn’t fit here, as it is more like having a full-time personal assistant (unless that assistant also knows how to cut hair, in which case, my analogy still works).
The key difference here is that in this sense, your team is committed to your program and only your program. This is less common, as it requires a certain minimum volume of work to be able to support this level of dedication. For larger programs, however, it is not only common, but also pretty crucial to their success. This type of dedicated team is not distracted by other responsibilities, and therefore you can rest assured that your program is always their first, second, and third priorities.
You will notice that each of the examples above is a distinct form of dedication, though they build upon each other. Depending on the size and needs (not to mention budget) of your localization program, you will have to decide for yourself which level of dedication makes sense.
The point of this post, as with others in this blog series, is not to advise you on the best course of action to take, but rather to make sure that you are fully aware of what it is you are asking for and receiving from your LSP.
If your LSP uses the term “dedicated team”, make sure to ask them the following:
- What other projects will these dedicated team members be working on?
- What are your KPIs to monitor employee retention? (Unless the LSP is serious about reducing turnover, the “dedicated team” promise may not be feasible.)
- What is the team doing internally to become experts on my products?