Why Linguistic Quality Is Not an LSP Differentiator
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Why Linguistic Quality Is Not an LSP Differentiator

It should be a given that localization firms provide accurate translations so their clients can successfully release their products to international markets, and that linguistic quality is one criteria you should be able to take for granted when you hire a translation vendor.

Why? All LSPs hire bilingual, native-speaking linguists, test their candidates and call their references. From there, all perform translation and review by separate resources. Every one promises the full gamut of language quality processes: checklists, automated tools that can check nearly anything you want and language quality forms that slice and dice the errors and score the translations. Many also offer third-party language quality review services where a linguist other than the translator reviews and comments on the work.

So, to be competitive, all LSPs better be able to offer high linguistic quality. (That said, quality benchmarks can still be missed; we are talking about humans here.)

If a localization vendor can’t understand, define, measure and deliver quality, then maybe they’d better think about their way of doing business.

Still, because all firms claim high-quality work, it is not a differentiator.

So, what are the differentiators?

Given all this, how should you choose one firm over another? We think there are three differentiators that matter. These can apply to any service, from getting your lawn mowed to hiring a consultant to figure out your HR benefits.

  1. They provide excellent customer service. Are they nice to you? Do they return your calls? Do they try to get you answers within a reasonable amount of time? Do they respect your communication style (email versus phone)? Do you feel like they care? Customer service is simple: be available, responsive and nice.
  2. They will always do the right thing. Do they do what they say? Do they follow through? Are they honest and hard-working? Do they admit when they make a mistake or when they don’t know something?
  3. They adapt with you. We all know that if anything is certain at all, it is that nothing will ever remain the same. This is true for the moods of a toddler, the weather and localization programs. Does your vendor change with you? Are they calm when change happens? Does your vendor come to the table with creative ideas? Solutions have to have a certain amount of elasticity; your needs can change as soon as the ink dries on that first proposal.

There are firms that hold tight to these values—attitudes of service, integrity and flexibility—at a corporate level, and certainly there are individuals within each firm who guide their professional lives by these principles. (RWS Moravia and our people, I’m happy to say, are among them.)

Final words: you still get what you pay for

So, there you go—only three differentiators really matter. Did you notice price isn’t one of them?

If you are just buying words, like you would buy paperclips or cans of beans, then price is your only differentiator. The other stuff simply cannot factor in when you choose to focus on low price alone.

Are you willing to sacrifice the three other factors above?


For more information about how we differentiate our services, don’t hesitate to contact us.