Multilingual Success: Leveraging Multiple Translation Vendors

For global companies needing professional translation and localization services, it’s a wise strategy to work with multiple language service providers (LSPs) rather than relying on a single vendor. While having one translation partner may seem convenient, utilizing several providers offers significant advantages that translate into higher-quality multilingual content, better pricing, reduced turnaround times, and minimized business risks.

Benefits of a multi-vendor strategy

There are 8 key advantages worth mentioning:

1. Specialization and Expertise
2. Flexibility and Scalability
3. Risk Mitigation
4. Cost Efficiency
5. Innovation and Best Practices
6. Improved Project Management
7. Enhanced Global Reach
8. Better Control and Oversight

Quality is vital when reaching audiences across different languages and cultures. Each LSP has specialized linguists, subject matter experts, and quality processes. By partnering with several vendors, companies gain access to a wide range of specialized translators across various domains, industries, and language pairs. One
LSP may excel at marketing translations, while another has unique expertise in technical content or software localization. Leveraging this diversity ensures nuances are properly conveyed.

Translation is as much an art as a science, with different linguists producing slightly varied interpretations based on their individual backgrounds. Companies can capitalize on this by routing different content types to LSPs that are proven experts in those areas. This blending of specialized knowledge drives higher linguistic accuracy and culturally resonant translations.

Beyond linguist expertise, engaging multiple providers enables companies to implement robust quality checks. Having different LSPs translate the same source material identifies discrepancies that can be resolved before publication. This arbitration process validates accuracy while benchmarking quality levels across vendors.

While quality is critical, companies also seek cost-effective pricing models. The language sector provides human expertise at a premium, but clients don’t have to settle for the first rates they’re quoted. Having relationships with several LSPs creates opportunities to compare pricing for different language combinations, content volumes, and service levels. LSPs understand their clients have options, motivating them to offer competitive rates to win larger shares of the translation program.

Perhaps most importantly, a multi-vendor strategy insulates companies from situations like sudden industry price increases or supplier viability issues. With multiple LSPs under contract, businesses avoid being held hostage to any single provider’s pricing policies if unacceptable adjustments occur.

For many companies, translation volumes can fluctuate due to product launches, marketing campaigns, or cyclical demands. A single LSP may not have enough linguist resources available to handle large projects, causing unacceptable delays. However, by having multiple pre-qualified LSPs, companies can dynamically reroute overflow work to different vendors for on-demand scalability to meet critical deadlines.

While capacity constraints restrict a single-vendor approach, over-reliance on one LSP also amplifies business continuity risks. If that sole provider suddenly closes, gets acquired, or suffers an unforeseen disruptive event, the client’s entire translation pipeline is jeopardized. Diversifying the LSP supply chain mitigates that exposure with contingency options to rapidly transfer processes to other vendors.

In addition to risk mitigation, a multi-vendor strategy fosters continuous improvement across quality, turnaround times, process optimization, and customer service. LSPs are incentivized to elevate their performance to retain their slice of the client’s business. This healthy competition drives better translation tools, workflow efficiencies, and innovative solutions that companies otherwise wouldn’t access.

From an implementation perspective, there are compelling advantages to a multi-vendor approach. If linguistic assets like translation memories are portable across providers, it encourages LSPs to optimize their processes around the client’s technology ecosystem. Companies can mix-and-match strengths, too, leveraging one LSP’s machine translation prowess alongside another’s multimedia localization specialties or robust linguistic QA capabilities.


As companies expand into new worldwide markets, a diverse group of LSP partners provides nuanced understanding into local communication preferences, cultural contexts, and geographic dialects. While one technically accurate translation may suffice, LSPs specialized in those locales ensure localized experiences authentically resonate on a deeper level.

With optionality across providers, businesses avoid complacency and over-reliance on a single LSP. Continuously benchmarking vendors against each other catalyzes performance improvements as providers aim to retain program shares. Well-defined evaluation criteria around quality, turnaround times, and customer service keep LSPs

To orchestrate a multi-vendor approach successfully requires robust processes for onboarding LSPs, soliciting bids, measuring performance against metrics, conducting audits, and managing multi-channel translation workflows. Deploying experienced vendor managers to oversee these processes unlocks the strategy’s full advantages.

In today’s fast-paced global business environment, a single-threaded approach to translation services is unnecessarily risky and restrictive. Building partnerships with multiple pre-qualified LSPs optimizes quality, pricing, scalability, risk mitigation, innovation, and overall performance. While juggling numerous vendors requires diligent
oversight, the benefits far outweigh any perceived convenience of a single translation supplier. A thoughtfully designed multi-vendor localization strategy aligns your multilingual content initiatives with corporate objectives like cost optimization, agility, brand consistency, and engaging global customers authentically.

Zofia Nowak
Zofia Nowak is Director of Operations at Sopoltrad.


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