In-House Linguists: The Crown Jewels of Every LSP

During the last year or two, I’ve been reading a lot about the companies in our industry, and when I say that it is not only out of curiosity but also to learn about the different paths companies decide to take in business. It is amazing how similar and at the same time how different we are when it comes to management models. Some of us decide to stick to LSPs only, others to end clients, some decide to invest in technology, while others go for boutique human-delivered services. However, one factor or should I say a very important group of people always sticks out never mind the direction you choose and this group is the true foundation of our translation industry. The people I am referring to are linguists.

Why I choose to talk about in-house linguists? 

I do believe that there is plenty to be said about the current dynamics of professional translators and their relationship with LSPs during the last few years. Especially with the rising popularity and international recognition of the significance linguists and translators hold in our everyday lives. 

I shouldn’t say “everyday lives” probably as in the last few months we’ve seen fine examples and heartbreaking moments of interpreters and translators walking the thin line of being professionals and being human at the same time. We’ve all heard the interpreter whose voice broke while interpreting the speech of President Zelensky, right?

Where am I going with this? 

Straight to the point with another question here: au contraire to the above we’ve also seen posts on LinkedIn where translators, linguists, and even phonologists have been offered “peanuts” for their skills and there is an honest outrage about that. 

You may also like:  What is Language Interpretation and The Different Types of Interpretation

With recent technologies access to freelancers has never been easier for LSPs to handle. The latest software and contemporary TMS’ offer what previously the LSPs who work mostly with other LSPs – handling the diversity of linguists, filtering out the less skilled, creating pools of good quality translators that fit your customers’ requirements, following deliveries, etc. 

This, however, opened up a whole new challenge for linguists to tackle, which a lot of them weren’t even prepared to do. What I am talking about are the soft skills needed to market yourself, put your services in the spotlight, negotiate your own payment, do the job, take the feedback and then do that quite a number of times to be successful. That sounds familiar, right?

Are linguists SLVs?

The reason I am posing the question is that this is exactly what linguists have to turn into in order to work for themselves. And we have to say that most of them are completely unprepared to meet the cold reality. Thus their outrage!

We all get emails from freelancers in our inboxes on a daily basis and they all look the same. Most of them don’t even bother to check if your company offer’s the language pair they are skilled in. 

I personally check every one of these because I know how difficult it is to put yourself out there and I realize there is a real person on the other side. But I know that 99% of these are not the people we are looking for and I think that this is the case with a lot of us. It doesn’t mean these people don’t have the skills, on the contrary, they do but they just didn’t target the right people. 

You may also like:  What is Copyediting and What Does a Copy Editor do?

I will stop here because there is plenty to be said but it is not relevant to what I would like to showcase today. As the article’s name suggests I intend to touch base on the value of in-house linguists and LSPs. 

Call me old-fashioned but I love LSPs with in-house linguists probably because I work for one…

Are LSPs the “home” for in-house linguists? 

in-house linguistsWhen I was managing only the Marketing department at 1-StopAsia we had to do a lot of thinking about our company values, mission, vision, etc. It might sound by the book but the thing is that is one of the most difficult tasks to complete. You have to put in very few words the whole idea behind your company. After a few months of brainstorming and consulting we came up with: 

“We want to be home to the best Asian language experts worldwide – and the go-to partner for LSPs who need Asian language translations.”

We did this about 4 years ago but to be honest, it is valid for over 20 when the company started and I’d like to think it is going to be so for the next 10 years ahead. It doesn’t mean we are there already but it gives us a beautiful goal to aim for, right?

Human LSPs and their in-house linguists 

When we look for our potential LSP partners, we can always see and read on their websites and marketing materials statements how good their in-house linguists are, the pools they use, etc. And I must say we at 1-StopAsia are not an exception. I am thinking that this is going to change very soon and you’ll probably see in the next few months ahead, how we will slowly shift our brand voice to match our beliefs. I think it is not important how many or how good your in-house linguists are anymore. 

You may also like:  Machine Translation Quality Assessment

What matters most is what you do for your linguistic family!

How you care about them, how you train them, and what you do for these people to stay with you for the long run and grow together. 

Because at the end of the day if you bring enough value for them to work together why would they prefer to be freelancers? Especially with the current trend of working from home or from anywhere around the world.