A tiered approach to quality, time and cost

Every service provider across every sector of the economy will be faced with the quandary of providing the highest quality of service at the lowest cost, within the shortest possible time. For a Language Service Provider, overcoming this conundrum can be the difference between securing a client and losing out to a competitor.

How can you manage expectations and identify which of these 3 factors will be of most importance to each of your customers?

Different service levels for different requirements

A ‘one size fits all’ approach to language services is not appropriate. A possible option would be to consider a ‘tiered’ approach for services. This will ensure that the customers’ needs are met and that the LSP will be able to apply the most suitable technologies to deliver excellent customer service every time.

Level 1 – Gisting

Level 1 is all about making sure that the end user of the translation can understand the gist of the content that has been translated. An exact and precise translation is not required. The most common requests for gisting are the likes of user generated reviews and user manuals.

Machine translation will often be used here with a light human post-edit, and as such, costs will be relatively low. Where the impact of an inaccurate translation is minimal to the customer, gisting can be a low cost alternative to full translation and proof reading services.

Level 2 – Translate-Edit-Proof (TEP)

Level 2 is generally used for customer facing communication where an accurate translation is needed for the likes of web content, product catalogues and promotional material.

A qualified linguist will translate the content, and then a second linguist will proof read the translation to ensure accuracy, as inaccurate translations in these circumstances may result in a loss of confidence and damage to the company’s reputation.

Timescales and costs will be higher for this level of service, as a linguist will take longer to translate material than a machine would.

Level 3 – Transcreation

For this third level of service, the translated content will appear as though it has been created specifically for the country being targeted to appeal to the emotive sides of various cultures. This is best suited from brand messages, marketing material and PR.

Transcreation (translation + creation) is the process of adapting material for a given target audience instead of merely translating it – resulting in higher costs and extended turnaround times to allow for the careful adaption of content.

This tiered approach is a move away from LSPs selling translation, towards developing a service based on each individual customer’s needs. A customer is no longer required to pay more than they need to for their translation requirements, and the right tools and technologies can be deployed dependent upon the end use of the translation. Developing bespoke offerings for each new customer will encourage loyalty and a more consultative approach towards language service solutions.


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