What To Ask a Language Services Provider During the RFP Process

By United Language Group

Both writing and completing a Request for Proposal (RFP) can be a meticulous and time-consuming process. Regardless of the industry, ensuring you ask all the correct questions to find out as much as you can about a company is very important.

Creating RFP questions and documentation requires time and an elaborate knowledge of the industry you’re looking to purchase services from. It’s important to focus the questions on important topics that relate to your needs.

Completing a proposal for a prospective buyer not only demands strong answers that include knowledge from many different departments, but also persuasive and effective proposal writing. The proposal writer will act as a project manager to gather the latest content and information to adequately answer every question. It’s also important for the proposal writer to tailor answers to each specific client.

For those looking to buy localization services, things can get even stickier. The language industry is a niche field, and without at least some foundational knowledge of how it works, it can seem impossible to draft an effective RFP. To shed some light on the issue, we’ve identified the following four areas to focus on when it comes time to create your proposal questions for localization services.

Do They Have The Experience?

Right off the bat, accurate translations are a must, and a proven track record of getting it right the first time matters. There are not always direct translations from one language to another. A potential client should pay close attention to the long-term experience a Language Service Provider (LSP) has. Not all LSP’s are created equal.

It’s important to choose an LSP that has extensive experience translating multiple languages. A large majority of RFP questions should be centered around the experience of the LSP you’re looking to work with.

Do They Take Security Seriously?

In today’s world, security is of the utmost importance. Ensuring customer data and information are stored in a secure environment should be a priority to all potential clients. Finding an LSP that is ISO certified should also be a priority.

Potential clients should ensure the LSP they choose has several layers of policy and process to maintain confidentiality of customer data, including strong file storage measures.

Is Technology A Priority?

It would be worth asking several questions about the LSP’s investment in technology, including whether or not they have a strong Translation Management System (TMS), Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tools, and Machine Translation (MT). These technologies are a tremendous driver of cost savings, growth, and efficiency for both the LSP industry and its customers.

Translation automation and technology will continue to evolve in the coming years and it’s important to find an LSP that is leading the industry with the latest in technological advancements.

What About Key Performance Indicators?

A potential client should know how satisfied an LSP’s existing customers are. Getting an idea of some various Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) is a good measure of this. It’s important to find out what is measured, and how each LSP scores. All LSP’s should track customer satisfaction, on-time delivery, utilization, and corrective actions.

It would also be wise to select an LSP that conducts overall Language Quality Assessments (LQA), Client Satisfaction Surveys, and broad, detailed Client Business Reviews.

The Payoff

As you can imagine, a lot goes into preparing and responding to an RFP. But if you stay focused on the areas above, you’ll be sure to make a wise decision on who to choose for your unique translation needs.

Your ability to effectively communicate with global clients is only as strong as the LSP you hire to help with multilingual projects. Developing a foundational knowledge of the industry before entering the proposal process helps to ensure you’ll make the right decision.

For more articles on language industry best practices, visit ULG’s Strategy page.

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