What Attorneys Should Look For in a Language Service Provider

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Choosing a Language Service Provider (LSP) is a process that should never be rushed. The time and energy you put into this search is an investment in the future of your organization, since the right LSP will end up saving you time and money in the long run. The following are some of the primary factors to consider when searching for a suitable LSP partner.


Subject Matter Expertise

Legal documents are among the most difficult documents to translate. Even in your native tongue, legalese is basically a language of its own. The translators working on your projects should have experience in the legal industry. Make sure that the LSP you choose has access to translators that have legal experience in the target language. A solid LSP will have many tried-and-trusted linguists available, as well as quality project management procedures and software in order to ensure quality.



In our increasingly digital world, security is usually high on everyone’s list of priorities, especially in industries that regularly deal with sensitive materials. Having a secure email server is a no-brainer. You should make sure that your emails have some form of encryption and never use your personal email for sensitive information.

As an attorney, confidentiality is of the utmost importance in everything you do. When working with a Language Service Provider, make sure non-disclosure agreements are in place with both the company and the translator. You should inquire about the LSP’s file transfer methods and ensure that they are fully secure.



When dealing with larger projects, you should seek out translators who will be translating into their native language. This will prevent confusion when translating words with multiple uses or meanings. The legal sector arguably has higher stakes than most industries, as people freedoms can potentially be on the line. With that said, maintaining high standards is imperative. If you have never worked with an LSP before, start off with smaller projects and make sure to inquire about their experience working in the legal field.



Language Service Providers use a variety of different software as part of their production cycles. Most LSPs employ some kind of translation memory (TM) software. Translation Memories are updated with every translation, so it consistently grows over time. The more content is translated, the more translations are available for future projects. As time goes by, Translation Memories reduce the turn-around time and cost of translation, as well as increase overall quality and consistency across related projects.



Legal documents are among the most time-consuming of all translation work. This, in addition to the fact that there is no room for error, adds even more time to legal translations. Time is generally of the essence within the legal sector, so the sooner you hand off documents to an LSP, the better. It might be tempting to divide large projects among multiple companies in order to save time, but it is not recommended. Having multiple translators work on the same project is likely to have disastrous effects when it comes to consistency. For this reason, you should always have a single translator or an established translation team work on each project.


Take Away

Selecting a Language Service Provider is more about creating a long-term partnership than it is about making a single transaction. Beware of companies that rely heavily on Machine Translation software or primarily use overseas and non-native translators. Armed with this information, it is only a matter of time until you find a suitable LSP that understands your industry and can effectively service your firm’s goals and priorities.




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