Improving your Language Services business

Running a Language Services business is tough. Dealing with demanding clients on tight deadlines with stringent quality requirements and having remote contractors performing the work in every corner of the globe is certainly a unique business model.

At Payment Rails, we’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best language service providers in the business.

On top of a great payment experience, we think there are a few other things that set some language service providers apart from the rest:

A world-class vetting process for their translators, interpreters, and other contractors

Language service providers that stand out against the competition have a vetting process that makes sure they are working with the best translators in the industry. They implement a multi-step onboarding process that vets translators on a number of factors, including:

  • Skills required to do the job
  • Client-facing communication skills
  • Good cultural fit with the contracting company
  • Domain knowledge in the industries that they serve (ex. Health care, government, technology companies, etc)

A focus on quality work

Language service companies are similar to any consulting or services business where the work they do is very project-based. Much of their business depends on reputation and that some of their clients come back and give them more projects.

The best language services companies have a focus on quality, and they have implemented processes to ensure only high quality deliverables make it to the clients. The best tactics we’ve seen are:

  • Multiple translators / contractors on each project - these contractors must review each other's work and approve it before it’s submitted to the end clients.
  • The language service providers have frequent check-ins with the end clients to measure what their experience with the translators has been.
  • At the end of a project, translators are required to rate the clients, clients are required to rate the translators, and the translators must rate each other.

Adopt cutting-edge technologies to speed up work

Great language service providers augment the work of their contractors with great technology, which helps them reduce the billable hours of their contactor for each project so that they can offer more competitive prices and enjoy bigger margins.

It can be tough to agree to a few hundred (or more!) a month to use a SaaS software to help speed up translation projects, but the extra bandwidth that you can take on when you optimize your processes more than makes up for the difference. This is extra true as your language services business scales up.

Here are some tools that we’ve heard great things about from our customers:

  • Memoq - a platform to help language services companies manage their projects and their business, Memoq brings process automation, reporting, storage, integrations, and QA tools to language service providers of almost any size.
  • XTRF - This is one of the most popular tools for language services companies; they plug into your clients’ GitHub or BitBucket account, manage projects, generate invoices, and help you manage your staff capacity.
  • Hybrid TMS - What makes Deoling’s software stand out is how quickly it can let you quote your clients based off their website or documents; in just a few minutes you can give your client a quote and close business quickly.

Of course, a cutting-edge platform to collect tax info and manage payouts to all of your contractors is a pretty good idea too. ;)

A focus on building trustworthy and long lasting relationships with their translators and other contractors

Language service providers that want to stand out should be doing everything they can to build trust with their translators. Trust is built by doing several things:

  • Checking in often with their contactors to make sure they are enjoying the work they are doing and the clients they are working with.
  • Providing competitive compensation
  • Paying their translators on time, and making invoicing / payment detail collection easy and seamless (this is where Payment Rails comes in)
  • Giving continuous feedback to the translator and investing in making them better at what they do.

Keeping translator turnover rates low

If your clients have to meet a new translator and work with a different person for each project you work on with them, you’re creating unnecessary friction.

By keeping translators happy with what they are doing, it means that they will stick around. A good sign of a well-managed company that cares about the people that work for them is that their staff tend to stick around. Other companies like to do business with well-managed companies.

Starting the translator to LSP relationship off with a polished experience provides an excellent first impression. The LSPs that work with Payment Rails understand this, and they use our Translator Portal product to provide a smooth online onboarding experience for translators to provide their payment details and tax information.

Language services agencies are often quite remote friendly, and it can be hard to build culture and increase team happiness while remote. A few tools we like for this:

  • Slack - Slack integrates with many TMS platforms, so it’s a good instant messaging tool for your company in general, but if you’re using Slack for your company already, there are a few useful tools you can use to increase team bonding:
  • HeyTaco - a tool to encourage team members to recognize and thank each other publicly on Slack by rewarding both team members with something tangible for recognizing each other.
  • Kona - daily checkins with each team member that asks them to rate their happiness with a single emoji; building an understanding of how your team feels over time can alert you when things are going well or poorly.
  • OfficeVibe - a neat tool that gathers anonymized data about team member happiness and focus to help you evaluate how things are going for your translators while building a culture that values honesty and trust.
  • Cultureamp - a complete employee or contractor performance and culture tool, this is for larger teams, but can provide deep insight on interpersonal links formed within your team and help you identify real influencers in your company, whether they have a fancy title or not.

Summary

Great teams provide great service. You can increase your chances of delivering your customers great service by investing in your team, in the tools to make your team more productive, and in processes to increase professionalism and quality as your company scales and you take on eve larger contracts for your clients.

We hope this helped, and if we can help you with your LSP business mass payouts to your team members, let us know. :)

Payment Rails

Payment Rails