eTranslation Services

What is a Language Service Provider?

Most people new to translation are confused by terms like language services provider, translation company, translation agency, and localization company. While localization, and another term, transcreation, are part of translation services, the other terms mean the same thing.

If you want to stay current, you use the term language service provider (LSP), a broader term that is now more popular, as it encompasses a full-service organization, which provides translation, interpreting, localization, transcreation, transcription, subtitling, and more. “Translation agency” and “translation company” are now old and traditional terms.

An LSP works with several languages. Some companies specialize in a few languages, while others work with hundreds of languages, assuring clients that they can accurately translate their documents into the target languages they need.

What does an LSP do for you?

The term LSP or language service provider is not new, although it is more prevalent in Europe. It is now heard more often in the United States. Language service provider” is more applicable to many companies today that offer a more comprehensive range of language services other than translation.

A language service provider offers the following services:

Interpreting services means translating the spoken word. Interpreting services include different types – simultaneous, consecutive, whisper, escort, over-the-phone, video remote, and sign language interpreting. Simultaneous interpreting applies to conferences, lectures, symposia, meetings, and other large gatherings. Consecutive interpreting is suitable for smaller meetings, while whisper interpreting is for meetings between two persons. Court interpreting and medical interpreting are two services that require subject matter expertise.

Translation service is for written materials, such as blogs, websites, financial, legal, medical, and educational documents, books, magazines, manuals, transcripts of interviews, and more. Subject matter expertise and certifications are needed for medical and other specializations that require specific knowledge and terminologies.

Translation includes localization, which ensures that the content of a website, product information, software, games, and marketing materials look and sound local, adapting to local culture, traditions, and preferences. Localization considers the nuances of a particular country, area or group, and may entail changes in various elements, such as colors, formats, images, and fonts.

You may also encounter terms such as internationalization and transcreation, which lean more towards translation and creative writing. Internationalization is the preparatory step before transcreation, and the service is applicable for advertising and marketing, to ensure that the materials fully adapt to local culture.

A full-service language services provider may offer subtitling and captioning services, transcription services, and even voice-over services.

What to look for before engaging with LSPs

There are hundreds of LSPs in the United States and around the world. But finding the right one that fits your needs and your business can be difficult. You have to consider several factors, and the first thing you have to do is identify what you want and need to do. By doing so, you’ll be able to find the right LSP that suits your purpose.

Determine what you have right now and your expectations. If you are into business, define your business goals. Are you planning to develop your business in-country, or do you want to expand overseas? Are you targeting specific markets? When you know what you want and your goals, you will see whether you need a small LSP or a large provider with offices in several locations worldwide.

Elements to consider

  • The extent of your business expansion, which will determine the languages you need for translation. Consider your resources, such as people and working hours, as well as your budget.
  • What is your timetable? You have to determine how fast you can launch your product into the international market.
  • Your industry niche, since this will determine if you need subject matter expertise, such as the medical industry.
  • The number of documents that require translation.
  • Requirements for compliance with local regulations and laws.

Make the selection

You can ask colleagues for references. Or you can check the directories of professional organizations such as the Association of Language Companies (ALC), the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA), or the American Translators Association (ATA). Find an LSP that can work with you and grow with you.

Use of translation tools

Look for a translation company that uses translation tools, since it could be your localization partner in the future. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are indispensable for translators as they speed up the process, helping them achieve higher accuracy and consistency at a lower price.

Data protection

Data protection is of utmost importance today. You should check if the company has a privacy policy, system updates, data encryption, firewalls, and secure websites. You should also check if they sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and HIPAA compliance.


You should ask for references so you can find the right LSP. Make sure that you call the references they provide and speak with the contact persons. Tell the LSPs that you want references that are pertinent to your target markets and industry.

Can a language service provider help your business?

When you decide to go global, the two things that you should immediately consider are language and culture. A language service provider can help your business by ensuring that you have a proper connection with your target market. Using the right language will help your business reach a wider audience through localization. Translation makes your product and marketing collaterals, such as product information, labels, brochures, websites, campaigns, and flyers, are specific to the region.

LSPs are experts and understand the needs of the clients. Their experiences provide them with knowledge of different cultures so that they can assist you in cultural conformity. They work closely with the clients to ensure the proper delivery of intended messages in the target languages.

Get the best translation service from eTS, your professional language services provider

eTranslation Services understands your need for language services, especially as you venture into the global market. We have a network of professional, native-speaking translators who live in-country. Working with over 100 languages, we can provide you with experts in various fields to handle your translation, interpreting, and localization needs. You can send an email at [email protected] or give us a call at (800) 882 6058, so we can discuss what you need.


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