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What’s an LSP?

An LSP or Language Service Provider is a company that provides a large range of translation and linguistic services. What was once called a translation agency or translation specialist, today a Language Service Provider (LSP) can do more services than just translation.

Consider the wide variety of ancillary tasks that may be involved with a translation project:

  • Reading and editing unusual file types (like INDD, DWG, SRT, PSD)
  • Formatting documents after they have been translated
  • Recording voice actors reading the translated text
  • Managing large teams of translators or complex projects

LSPs do these tasks and more, so clearly an LSP does more than simply translate one set of words for another set of words in another language.

Do I Need a Language Service Provider?

You will need an LSP if you are trying to get something translated, if you want to make your content culturally appropriate for your international audience, or if you are trying to bring a new product to the global market.

Broken into three broad categories, LSPs can help you with:

  • Translation
  • Localization
  • Consulting

Design for Translation

How Do I Know Which Services I Need?

Determining which services you need from your Language Service Provider will depend on your business and marketing goals. But often, it isn’t just one service you need. Many of these work together to give you the best impression with your international customers.


At a minimum, if you are presenting products or information to a global audience, you will need your products and services translated, everything from documents to websites to apps.

One of the advantages of working with an LSP for translation, and not simply a bilingual friend or Google Translate service, is that an LSP builds a glossary of terms based on all the text you need translated. This will allow future translations for you to be quick and easy, since you have a glossary of common terms already stored. This is especially helpful if you have very industry-specific terms that need to be translated.
what's a language service provider?


The other great advantage of working with a Language Service Provider is getting the opportunity to localize your content. Often, translation is not enough for your international customers, Localization takes your translated content and reviews it for cultural context.

Translating just the words doesn’t necessarily mean the meaning or inferences will transfer. Sometimes a word might be used that doesn’t have a translated equivalent. Localization takes all this into consideration to make sure your content can be read and understood by the native population.

Localization considers regional influences and will encompass design changes to make sure your layout is what consumers in your new target market expect.


If you are launching a new product to a foreign market or want to expand your reach to new markets, speaking with an expert can often help get your marketing efforts off the ground.

LSP consultants can advise you on which steps to take and in which order, help design marketing materials for your new target audience, and consultants can advise you on the marketing rules and regulations of your new market.
people agreeing on a language service provider

Choosing an LSP

Deciding which Language Service Provider to work with can be daunting. You will want to look for a provider that has expertise with your new target market’s language, and you will want to make sure you choose an LSP that offers localization.

Asking your LSP if they have technical knowledge in your subject matter is also very important. Some LSPs (like us) have a large network of industry professionals that work with you during your translation project to make sure the technicalities of your industry are properly conveyed.

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Updated: 09/23/2020

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