Is it better to have an LSP to handle your Asian translations?

The question we are asking today is about the advantages and disadvantages of having an LSP for a partner when it comes to translation services. It is one that has been addressed many times already. However, with the growing demand for Asian languages, we feel it is important for us to share our five cents on the topic. The truth is that as a company working with other translation companies, we’ve been in the shoes of both sides – approached by loads of smaller companies who’d like to work with us and at the same time receiving hundreds of CVs of freelancers monthly.

As an LSP working for other LSPs in a very niche market (Asian languages) we’d like to share with you some of the advantages which you might consider for choosing the proper solution for your own company.

Cultural barrier with freelancers from Asia

And believe me, it is like the Great Wall of China when it comes to communicating with people from the East. Why does it matter?
You already know that resources in any language have to be local, meaning people who work and live in the country for the language they translate.
If you are looking for efficiency when it comes to delivering your projects on time to your clients, the cultural barrier can be a real problem. It takes more time to understand, negotiate and process a job for a PM that is not experienced in working with people from the East.
What an LSP has as an advantage here is that their own teams have already learned the drill and they can remove this burden from your shoulders.
One of the main reasons we have a special structure different from other companies is exactly that, because communicating with our own partners easily and effortlessly in their “own” language makes it much easier for them.

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Latest technology for your clients without investment for your company

It might actually sound a bit cheesy, but it is true at least from our point of view as a language service provider.
Have you stumbled upon a case where you need a translator, let’s say, in Simplified Chinese as well as in the medical field? You already know it is not an easy thing to do but then your client requests this to be done only in one specific CAT tool, which he has already invested in and can operate with. Along with that, they use a specific TMS where they insist the project be assigned and delivered. That makes taking the job quite a challenge for you.

The thing is LSPs invest a lot of time in order to gather all the latest technology and be up to date with it. That means that we take the time to study the tools, set up the proper operations and train our teams, so they can flawlessly work with it.

Another big advantage of having us on your side is that you can benefit from our own portfolio. If you know what we can offer to you, then you can offer the same to your potential clients and thus diversify your portfolio.

Larger volumes, bigger clients

Is it better to have an LSP to handle your Asian translations?
You sometimes have this really great opportunity to work with clients that are way higher caliber than your current ones. And this will give you the chance to develop your company. However, what stops you is that you might be afraid you are going to get a bigger bite than you can chew. This is where a reliable language service provider can come in handy with their resources and higher volume capacity.

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I am not saying you need to stop using freelancers. On the contrary, for me the right formula is the proper mixture of having a good pool of freelancers along with a number of chosen LSPs. Walking the fine line between freelancers and vendors always makes you more flexible in regard to your own clients.
My advice is to deliver the less complicated languages with freelancers and offer the more complicated ones, like Asian languages with a carefully chosen LSP partner.

In conclusion, I have to say that I’ve chosen only a few main directions for this article mainly to keep it short and concise. There are plenty of other factors that will point you in one or the other direction in the future. The purpose of this article is not to point you in the direction of using only one LSP as a partner. It is to create an awareness of when an LSP can be a solution when you need that little push forward in order to make progress. When I say progress, this covers both – progress for your company and your clients at the same time. After all, the more we do for our clients, the more success they will have, which is our most important goal, right?