A call on globalwatchtower.com opens in a new window on Oct 28, 2008 titled “Innovative LSP Where Art Thou” went out in the translation and localization industry. It requested from language service providers (LSPs) to participate in a report to profile some of the more creative and innovative suppliers. Only three suppliers responded with mediocre answers.
This is not surprising. Only three companies responded. This is not due to lack of innovation, but because the focus on innovation alone will not yield significant results.
How do leading accounting firms use innovation to differentiate themselves? What do successful dentists offer that is unique in the area of innovation? What about lawyers? When a company uses an innovative product and proves it to be a good return on investment, many will gradually adopt it, annulling its competitive value.
Innovation in Translation and Localization
Translation and Localization, is a professional service, heavily dependent on laborious work. This is why most companies outsource it!
The key to success is not in one distinctive innovation. It is in hundreds of tiny innovations used during all day-to-day activities.
It comes down to this. Does the LSP have effective processes to identify profitable opportunities, to qualify and close them, to hire qualified staff, to execute projects, and to keep clients, partners and employees happy and productive?
Technology as a Means Not an End
We win our clients because we are in the right place, at the right time, and project confidence. Confidence in our ability to do the work on budget, on schedule and based on the client’s requirements. We deliver according to set expectations over 97% of the time, on the first time. 100% on the second time. Do we use technology in the process? You bet we do. Is technology why our clients come to us and keep coming to us year after year? A resounding no!
I know this is not as appealing as saying that we can shave 50% off the translation costs by using Machine Translation. But it is reality in an industry that depends heavily on tasks that, for now and for the foreseeable future, will be chiefly performed by talented and professional people and not innovative machines and software.
Innovation is 5%
In the Translation and Localization industry, just like most service industries, innovation is 5%, unglamorous perspiration is the dominant rest!
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