A beginner’s guide to the Language Services industry

A business sitting down for the first time to think about producing a localisation strategy may be unfamiliar with the intricate terminology that is commonly used by Language Service Providers (LSP’s). With this in mind Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) has put together this simple guide for beginners to the industry.

Why consider language services?

Businesses may be wondering why they should think about localisation at all in their strategy plans. There are a number of reasons why a well thought out localisation strategy is a smart move for businesses with international operations.

It may be obvious to state, but there are large pockets of customers using the internet who need to be communicated with in their own language. Your company website is no longer just a need-to-have shop window to present your offer and values; it is your first tool of communication with the wider world.

Recently published statistics from the Common Sense Advisory (Can’t Read, Won’t Buy) show that 37% of online users spend more time on sites in their own language than they do on just English language sites, while 19% avoid English-language URLs altogether.

Localisation is where a linguist will go one-step further than a direct language translation and start to take into account other factors that will influence a target audience, such as style, colour and imagery. This consideration helps your business to connect with your customers (both potential and actual) and to build those all-important relationships that are so valuable to businesses competing internationally.

The basic terminology


Glossaries help provide consistent translations. A translation glossary is a list of terms relating to a specific subject, text or dialect with the agreed corresponding translation. Translation glossaries are always approved by the client, so only approved terminology is used.

Glossaries are useful when translating technical documents, legal tenders, and other in-depth texts that require regular repetition of certain words and phrases.

Style Guides

Another useful tool in the translation process is the style guide. A style guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific industry, client or project. Style guides aid the localisation process by maintaining consistency and adherence to the client’s product brands and in-house style.

Translation Memory

A Translation Memory (TM) consists of segments of text, usually sentences, in a source language, and corresponding translations into a given target language. New files for translation are analysed for matches against the TM in order to take advantage of previously translated content. This will reduce cost for the customer as matches (complete or fuzzy) are not charged full price and material that has a lot of repetitions will see significant cost savings.

CAT Tools

CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tools help linguists to complete a translation job by using computer software to support and facilitate the efficiency of the translation process.

CAT tools operate by analysing the text that needs to be translated, breaking the text down into segments, and then building up a translated version of the text next to the original source material. CAT tools drawn on the aforementioned TM and glossary to help build up a basic translation for the linguist to work on.


Share this story

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up