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Global Watchtower
Common Sense Advisory Blogs
O Innovative LSP, Where Art Thou?
Posted by Nataly Kelly on October 28, 2008  in the following blogs: Business Globalization, Best Practices, Translation and Localization, Technology, Market Data
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In early September, we issued a call for participation to invite thousands of LSPs to participate in a new report that would profile some of the more creative and innovative suppliers. Typically, when we announce a new survey on anything from an acquisition to quarterly business confidence, we see hundreds of responses within a matter of hours. Six weeks later, a grand total of just three -- yes, three -- agencies have responded. Here are some highlights from the "out-of-the-box" responses we received:

"We developed a model showing the path of an organization's maturation when implementing multilingual communications."

This concept was actually quite novel when we first introduced it in 2006. Since then, the localization maturity model (LMM) has been utilized by a great many businesses and academics throughout the world. So, while imitation is the finest form of flattery, we can't exactly declare this LSP's offering to be a true innovation.

"We try not to differentiate ourselves based on 'lower price'."

That's a step in the right direction. Our research has consistently revealed that price is not the most important factor to customers. However, this LSP told us that its process set it apart from competitors, a story we've heard time and time again. Not exactly ground-breaking. 

"We actually work ONLY with in-house translators."  

We're getting warmer. This LSP is on the right track in showing some signs of creativity by talking about a specific model, rather than traverse the vague territories of quality and process. The problem is, we've visited quite a few suppliers that work exclusively or primarily with in-house translators, including CLS, Spanish BackOffice, and Xerox. Because we're aware of other companies who've "been there, done that," this doesn't pass the innovation test either.

Does this mean that there simply aren't any creative language service companies out there? We know that can't be true. After all, we recently profiled four unique firms -- Adaquest, CSOFT, DotSub, and ProZ-- in "Language Industry Movers and Shakers." We are also profiling some stand-out suppliers in the health care space for an upcoming report.

Still, it is surprising to us that so few translation companies accepted our invitation to step forward as industry innovators. Market differentiation is essential in order to have a competitive edge, especially in the translation industry, where the barrier to entry is very low, and any person with a computer can claim LSP status.

So, we're re-issuing our invitation to suppliers of language services to tell us why they are unique, for potential mention in a forthcoming report. Tell us why your firm stands out from the pack -- if, in fact, it really does.


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