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Why Do Some LSPs Seem to Grow More Easily Than Others?
The market for outsourced language services and supporting technology grew 7.99% to US$46.52 billion from $43.08 between 2017 and 2018. When CSA Research analyzed 531 responses to our annual global market survey, we computed that 64% of respondents experienced an increase in revenue. However, all providers don’t share the same experience.  To

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CSA Research Business Confidence Survey: CEOs of LSPs Project a Strong 2018
In January 2018, CSA Research reported on the business outlook on 2017 and early 2018 based on a survey of 85 CEOs of the language service providers in our list of top 100 providers. In August and September 2018, we surveyed respondents on their mid-year results and their predictions for the rest of the year. This latest installment of the CSA Research

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Common Questions That LSP Sales Managers Face
Growth is an evergreen topic for language service providers (LSPs). Those that struggle to increase revenue want to figure out how to formalize their sales function, while those that already have positive sales numbers want to grow more or do it more sustainably. The fourth quarter is sales and marketing prime-time. Not only it is a critical to finish

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LSPs: Become Memorable by Being Relevant
Language service providers often tell CSA Research that they struggle to get visibility and brand recognition. They feel that their marketing and sales efforts fall on deaf ears so meeting sales targets becomes difficult. Most buyers receive e-mails and calls from legions of Language Service Providers (LSPs) that have undifferentiated messages. As

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Systematize Your Measurement Efforts with Formal Data Control and Analysis
Intel founder and former CEO Andy Grove wrote that, “Measurement against a standard makes you think through WHY the results were what they were.” Business-savvy organizations live by this dictum. They monitor various datapoints and develop key performance indicators (KPIs) – assessable values that show whether a company is meeting

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Organizing Sales Machines Capable of Repeatable Success
Despite the reluctance of some executives to hire and train more salespeople, growth for language service providers is closely tied to developing a high performing sales function. Using responses from CSA Research’s 2017 Global Market Study, we tracked the percentage of LSPs that reported a revenue increase over the previous year and compared

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The Journey to Project Management Automation
Automation has come a long way, leading now to its most advanced and buzzworthy state, artificial intelligence. AI refers to technologies that learn from training data and experience to perform tasks that would otherwise require human intelligence. When applied to a PM’s job, AI enables “lights-out” project management, in which software

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Build versus Buy for LSPs – It’s When, Not If
From their earliest stages, LSPs face the question of whether to build or buy the software on which they run their business. Triggers can include the need for differentiation, the need to tailor work processes for different customers and job types, or the requirement to stitch together disparate systems for monitoring and reporting. The question of

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Strong Websites Drive Sales: Strengths and Weaknesses of 305 LSP Sites
A strong website that delivers a clear and compelling message, tailored to your specific audience can help drive sales. It must succeed in both its content and its technical structure. In June 2017, CSA Research examined 305 websites from language service providers in depth. This number included all 191 of the top and regionally ranked providers from

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Blockchain's Future in the Language Industry
Blockchain is a method for concatenating blocks of transactions, which are stored securely using encryption in a distributed system that prevents bad actors from unlawfully changing records. Most media reports focus on blockchain’s use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, where it originated. However, the language industry will be more directly

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The United States Reverses Course on When Translators Are Employees: Sort of…
Note: This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice. For clarification of your legal obligations and rights, please consult with qualified legal counsel. Labor law is usually not the sexiest of topics, but once in a while something happens that has profound effects on the language industry. Following a series of state-level legal decisions

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Staying Alive: How To Be a Tech-Savvy LSP in 2017
Technology is crucial for language service providers (LSPs), not just for growth but even for survival in a rapidly changing market landscape. Earlier this year, we reviewed technology survey answers for 728 providers and interviewed a cross-section of 30 translation and interpreting companies in 12 countries. Using this combination of quantitative

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How Much Waste Goes On at Your Organization?
Like a leaky faucet, a process that creates losses here and there can amount to a big bill at the end. Yet, most language service providers pay very little attention to subtle waste, even when they abide by quality management systems such as ISO 9001. To achieve operational excellence, LSPs must systematically identify waste and strive to eliminate

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A Look Back: XTRF Leverages Venture Capital into Market Momentum
In April 2014, we wrote about XTRF’s first round of venture capital (VC) from Experior in Warsaw. Now two years later, we looked back at how this event changed the company, and by extension, the language industry. We reviewed data in our own research database and also spoke with XTRF management. We found that by internal or external measures,

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MarketFlex™: Evaluating Business Management Solutions for Translation-Focused LSPs
Selecting the right translation management technology can mean the difference between growth and stagnation for language service providers. But choosing a TMS to manage their myriad business, process, and linguistic functions requires a lot of work. LSPs have to evaluate both the features and functionality of shortlisted products and assess the software

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New Vendor Payment Option for the Language Services Industry
Paying vendors across borders has long been an issue for language service providers. These companies often use bank wires (through SWIFT codes, ACH transfers, or EFTs) to process payments to linguists in other countries. But these options are riddled with bank charges that eat away at the profitability of the recipients – LSPs or freelancers –

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Five Tips to Develop the Skills of Your Salespeople
Increasing sales is an evergreen topic for language service providers. Even when executives chart a solid course and have a solid sales structure and methodology in place, they always inquire on ways to get better and faster results when training rookies, bringing a struggling salesperson back on track, or trying to over-perform. Our research shows

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Are LSPs Ready for Performance Transparency?
Consumers and business buyers have become accustomed to information at their fingertips. They can check on the step-by-step progress of deliveries, view photos of their car as it’s being repaired, and learn about the performance of doctors, professors, and other professionals before meeting with them. Why should translation providers be any less

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Will Going International Help LSPs Grow?
Most language service providers consider international expansion sooner or later. Some do it early on, while some wait to be more established to proceed. LSPs open offices abroad for a variety of reasons such as growing the business, improving client service, or developing a competitive advantage via low-cost production centers. However, whatever their

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Low Salaries in Developing Nations Tempt Some LSPs to Offshore Their Production
Executives at language service providers need to invest wisely in people to maximize their compensation budget. For many LPSs, that means considering not only whom they hire, but where they work. In Common Sense Advisory’s recent survey on language industry salaries, we found that regional practices vary greatly. For example, you can hire 11 project

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Are You on Track to Meet Your 2014 Sales Goal?
As the end of the first quarter is approaching, language service providers (LSPs) should review their company’s performance for the first months of 2014 to see what they must do to meet their yearly sales target. First-quarter guidance is important because LSPs still have time to readjust and regroup for a great year. Is your company on track

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Are LSPs Better Off Being Generalists or Specialists?
At Localization World in Silicon Valley, California last week, a group of panelists led by Donald Plumley from Elanex discussed the business of translation. Jason Chicola (Rev.com), Norman Newton (ManpowerGroup Solution – Language Services), and Shannon Zimmerman (Sajan) exchanged viewpoints on topics such as the state of the supply chain, choices

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Call to all Marketing Managers in the Translation Industry
Common Sense Advisory today launched a survey on marketing strategies for translation industry professionals. Gone are the days when language service providers just advertised their services in their local phone book and spent the largest part of their budgets on mailers and tradeshows. The marketing discussion has evolved to attract customers via

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Time to Start Your 2014 Strategic Planning
For businesses that operate on a calendar year, October typically marks the start of the strategic planning for the following year. It’s a particularly challenging time for owners and executives who must manage to pull themselves away from the day-to-day operation of their company to focus on planning the future. In Common Sense Advisory’s

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Low-Cost Solution Arrives for International Payments
Cross-border payments create challenges for language service providers (LSPs) as well as the freelance community. Beyond simple payment terms, when an agency decides to work with a translator in a different country, the linguist has to agree to a preset payment currency, payment method, and bank transfer fees that are often to their disadvantage. The

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