Language service providers (LSPs) vary greatly in size, scope, and character, with each company bringing something different to the table. After all, there are thousands of providers competing in this USD 26bn industry.
Among the many decisions that need to be made when searching for the perfect LSP is whether to hire a single-language vendor (SLV) or a multi-language vendor (MLV) to help propel the business forward.
So what’s the difference?
An SLV is a small-scale language service provider that provides translation and localization services in only one specific language combination, typically where its office is located.
An MLV is a larger LSP that offers their services in multiple languages. These companies are usually better equipped with the technology and tools to handle larger-scale projects.
Working with an SLV may often mean getting a more personalized service. By comparison, MLVs may have hundreds or even thousands of active clients fighting for attention. Either way, having a single point of contact will help you get your questions answered much quicker.
SLVs also have the benefit of being highly skilled in and focused on their particular language pair, which tends to ensure high-quality output. Smaller companies are also likely to be more flexible and will integrate easily into the existing workflow of your own team or business.
In addition, the cost of using an SLV tends to be somewhat lower without sacrificing quality.
As SLVs are usually located in the target language area, they possess a deep cultural and linguistic understanding of the market. This enables them to properly assess the quality of work produced and deliver exceptional results.
Independent businesses or local offices may find this type of translation and localization partner suitable for their needs.
On the other hand, MLVs are in a better position to meet complex needs as they are more well-equipped and have adequate resources.
For larger or global projects, which require translation into multiple languages, choosing an MLV will often prove to be the appropriate choice.
If your company has translation and localization needs spanning multiple disciplines, you are more likely to benefit from working with an MLV. This is because they often have subject-matter experts across various fields, which gives you a higher chance of being paired with an expert in that particular discipline.
MLVs also have much larger teams comprising project managers, account managers, and technology specialists to name a few. The multiple capabilities an MLV has to offer means that they are able to handle your project in its entirety and deal with all aspects of coordination. This will allow you to enjoy a relatively stress-free experience throughout.
Last but not least, some MLVs have offices across the globe. That makes it much easier for clients to reach them at a convenient time.