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LSP Meaning: Here’s Your Guide to Localization and Translation Acronyms 101

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Posted in Zoom Sep 6 · 6 Sep, 2022
LSP Meaning: Here’s Your Guide to Localization and Translation Acronyms 101

There’s a good chance you’ll get the services of a company specializing in localization and translation if you’re looking to expand your business worldwide. After all, you will want to leverage the booming global market, more relaxed attitudes about international commerce, and more streamlined processes of doing business in multiple domestic markets.

Unfortunately, you might be shocked when you sit down with your chosen translation and localization partner. This industry has a world unique to your business, including terms and acronyms that most people outside the localization and translation sector are clueless about. 

You’ll hear or read g11n, t9n, MLV, LSP meaning, and everything in between. These words are alien to you, but you’ll understand and appreciate these terminologies after perusing this article. Comprehending these acronyms will make your localization efforts spot-on because you’ll communicate better with your localization and translation service partner.

G11N – Globalization 

It’s not an acronym because it doesn’t comprise the first letter of the word string. After all, there’s only a single, 13-character word,  “globalization.” Hence, “g11n” is a shorthand (down to four characters), making it easier for companies and third-party service providers to communicate effectively without writing the whole word.

You’ll encounter “g11n” more often as you explore the LSP meaning. Globalization is a general term describing the process of expanding a business organization’s reach outside its home country. It leverages interconnected systems, relaxed cross-border regulations, and cultural exchanges. 

I18N – Internationalization 

Like “g11n,” “i18n” isn’t an acronym but a shorthand for “internationalization.” Some folks interchange globalization and internationalization. However, localization and translation experts will tell you that internationalization is the next crucial step in a company’s GILT program (we’ll get to this acronym later).

Internationalization prepares an organization’s systems, processes, products, technologies, and services for entering different domestic markets. Companies develop templates that regional and local branches and subsidiaries can tweak to suit their locale’s unique cultural characteristics and regulatory requirements.

LSP Meaning

L10N – Localization 

At the core of the LSP meaning is “l10n,” the shorthand for “localization.” It’s the third invaluable step in the GILT process, focusing on linguistically adapting a company’s content to fit a local domestic market. 

Business organizations study, analyze, and develop materials and resources that ascribe to a target group or locale’s unique culture, tradition, customs, beliefs, communication, preferences, legal requirements, and other attributes specific to the domestic market.

The goal is to make everything about the brand understandable, accessible, and culturally appropriate to the target market. For example, if your company wants to establish a branch in Tokyo, your localization strategies must reflect an in-depth understanding of this East Asian metropolis. It must include Tokyo’s culture, language, customs, and other unique attributes. 

T9N – Translation 

Here’s another shorthand you’ll often read from localization and translation company communications. Like “g11n,” “i18n,” and “l10n,” it’s easier to write “t9n” than “translation.” It also doesn’t take up too much space without undermining its meaning.

Translation involves transforming a language into a different one, specifically the language your company intends to localize into. For example, you’ll need to translate your English materials into Japanese if you want a branch in Tokyo. You’ll need Hindi to communicate with Indian customers and Arabian with the Arab community. Interestingly, you’ll find the true LSP meaning in this GILT step.

GILT – Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, and Translation

Understanding the LSP meaning will be useless if you can’t grasp the idea behind the GILT philosophy. All companies that wish to grow globally adhere to a four-step process known as the GIL, representing “globalization,” “internationalization,” “localization,” and “translation.”

It’s worth pointing out that all localization and translation efforts start with a sound globalization foundation. 

The company must have a clear plan and strategy to advance its global growth. Once set, the organization can focus on creating internationalized templates for products, services, systems, processes, and technologies. Localization can only commence when all the necessary internationalized components are in place. Translation forms the final set of activities for globalization and localization.

LSP Meaning

LSP – Language Service Provider

An LSP is one of the third-party companies you’ll partner with to ensure globalization and localization success. A language service provider or LSP is an organization that facilitates effective communication between a brand and an international or global audience who might have a different culture and language. 

Deciphering the LSP meaning requires understanding its role as a bridge between a global brand and a target domestic market. An LSP offers many localization-related services, such as professional translation, translation management, transcreation, linguistic asset development, and international search engine optimization (SEO) management.

You’ll need an LSP if your company doesn’t have in-house translation technology or process. Businesses that want to enter a new domestic market also need a language service provider. Organizations that require a cost-effective and sustainable localization operation can also rely on an LSP. Even businesses with an existing localization program can still benefit from an LSP partnership by modernizing and improving their localization activities.

MLV – Multiple Language Vendor

Some LSPs (remember our LSP meaning?) offer more than a single language translation pairing. For example, the LSP does not only provide English-to-Japanese or English-to-Spanish. A multiple language vendor (MLV) can accommodate many linguistic pairings. 

It’s the perfect solution for global companies that want to expand to different regions worldwide. It may have English as its mother tongue, but that isn’t a problem for an MLV. This service provider can deliver the translated content in a target language. It’s like having Google Translate but more specific to your business needs.

SLV – Single Language Vendor

MLV’s opposite, an SLV offers a translation service for a single linguistic pairing only. For example, the company might only accommodate translation requirements from English to Japanese and vice versa, and no other language combination.

It’s safe to assume these LSPs are newcomers in the industry. It could also mean it’s a strategy to ensure niche supremacy. After all, focusing on a single language pairing can strengthen the company’s competencies in that linguistic pair without undermining the LSP meaning. 

SL/TL – Source Language/Target Language

You’ll hear this acronym a lot from professional and freelance translators. If you’re observant, you’ll also notice a two-column or two-panel interface in machine translations (think Google Translate). You have a box for putting your text for translation and an empty panel for the translated material.

The source language is what translators must transform into a different language – the target language. For example, converting “thank you” (source language) to French (target language) will result in “merci.” A novice translator might convert the phrase “thank you” into “remercier tu” instead of the linguistically accurate “merci.” 

MT – Machine Translation

Some confuse this with machine-aided human translation, computer-aided translation, and interactive translation. Unfortunately, machine translation is an invaluable subfield of computational linguistics. This technology uses complex artificial neural networks (artificial intelligence) to substitute words from a source language for other terms in a target language.

Machine translation is one of the most valuable tools in an LSP’s arsenal, which is perfect for clients who want their translations ultra-fast with a high degree of accuracy. You can add this to your LSP meaning.

TMS – Translation Management System

Global brands that localize into various domestic markets have a translation management system that automates and streamlines the different localization workflows. It’s a project management application supporting complex localization and translation projects while eliminating repetitive manual tasks.

A TMS has five principal management-related functions: terminologies, workflows, translation memory, reporting, and integrated machine translation. It’s wise to remember that localization projects involve highly-diverse teams from different regions. A TMS centralizes the translation activities of everyone across projects.  

OPI – Over-the-Phone Interpretation

Companies seeking to enter a new domestic market often must communicate with local partners and regulatory officers. It’s not an issue if they speak the same language. But what if they don’t? That’s why an integral component of a true LSP meaning is interpretation. It’s like translation but done in real-time.

Over-the-phone interpretation or OPI is an LSP service that bridges the communication gap between a brand representative and someone in the target market. For example, you’ll need an interpreter to help you talk with a Japanese counterpart who doesn’t speak English. You’ll talk over the phone, and the interpreter will facilitate the exchange of messages between you and the Japanese speaker.

CMS – Content Management System

It’s challenging to create a website and digital content from scratch without specialized technical knowledge, let alone manage it. However, a content management system, or CMS, changes that by empowering companies to create, modify, and handle their digital content. 

WordPress is an example of a CMS. Other choices are Joomla, Wix, Drupal, Magento, and Squarespace. These CMSs are “ready-made” platforms that companies can use to create and launch their websites and manage digital content. However, global companies must choose a CMS that allows the seamless integration of localization and translation services to ensure smoother and more effective localization activities. 

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

You might have heard of “SEO” before. There’s also a high likelihood that you’re reading this article now because you typed “LSP meaning,” “language service provider,” “translation and localization acronyms,” or some similar “keywords” in your search bar. That’s what search engine optimization does. It allows people to look for the most relevant web content or one that closely matches their search queries. 

Search engine optimization includes techniques and processes that companies observe to increase the likelihood of getting indexed by bots when people search for specific keywords. Search engines have different algorithms defining how they rank web pages to display in search engine results pages (SERPs). Hence, Google might put one website at the top of the SERP, while Bing or DuckDuckGo might yield a different result.

Every business wants to land on the first SERP because people don’t usually scan the next page. The higher your URL is in the list, the greater the chance of people clicking on your link. And that’s how you drive traffic to your website.

LSP Meaning

CAT – Computer-Aided Translation

Don’t confuse this with MT or machine translation. Otherwise, you’ll find the LSP meaning taking a complicated twist. So let’s differentiate. Machine translation doesn’t need human input to perform its task. On the other hand, computer-aided translation puts the burden of translation squarely on human translators. The only function of “machines” is to assist.

Hence, it’s not unusual for an LSP to have human and machine translators. MTs are perfect for clients who want an instant translation, often at the cost of accuracy. On the other hand, CATs ensure human translators can deliver higher quality and more accurate translations, albeit at a slightly longer completion time.

TM – Translation Memory

We mentioned that human translators deliver high-quality and more accurate translations than machine translators. They can capture cultural nuances and hidden meanings in every written material, unlike machine translators that cannot distinguish contextual and idiomatic tendencies. 

As powerful as the human brain is, human translators still need machines to perfect their translations. That’s why they use CATs. A crucial component of CAT is translation memory (TM). It’s a database of sentences, phrases, paragraphs, and text segments of previously translated materials. TM supports localization processes by improving translation efficiency, speed, consistency, and quality. 

LE – Localization Engineer

It’s tempting to scratch your head in disbelief, but there is a professional we call a “localization engineer.” This highly competent professional oversees the planning, execution, and monitoring of localization workflows for exporting, translating, encoding, and re-integrating meta-data and digital content. The LE guarantees a global brand’s website, apps, e-learning modules, and other digital content are ready for localization, regardless of its target domestic market.

An LE makes your LSP meaning more robust. This professional keeps everything ready so translators can focus on transforming the company’s materials into the target language.

LQA – Linguistic Quality Assurance

Localization project managers and content owners must ensure translation quality in all phases. Linguistic quality assurance (LQA) involves linguists who must assess and review translations, guaranteeing all translation processes adhere to established standards.

Quality assurance is different from quality control, whereby the company looks for translation errors. LQA focuses more on ensuring a smooth and error-free translation process, while LQC emphasizes rectifying translation mistakes.

DNT – Do Not Translate

Most brand names don’t have equivalents in other languages. Localization experts don’t recommend translating these words to avoid costly blunders and global embarrassment. Coca-Cola learned this the hard way when it decided to translate its name to Chinese, becoming the laughing stock of Mandarin-speaking peoples everywhere.

Hence, when you see a DNT on a material, you’ll know translators aren’t supposed to touch that. Examples of brand names that don’t require translation include Wang, Clairol, Parker, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Schweppes, KFC, Coors, Pepsi, and Electrolux. Try translating these, and you might be on the receiving end of jokes.

MTPE – Machine Translation Post-Editing

Remember what we said about machine translation as being far from perfect? The only advantage of MT is its lightning-quick translation capabilities. You can have the results instantly. You can try Google Translate and measure the time the software needs to translate your material. The problem with MT is it’s not 100% accurate, although Google Translate’s accuracy rating has improved with neural machine translation.

Machine translation post-editing rounds up our understanding of the LSP meaning. LSPs run source texts in MTs before human translators review them for quality and accuracy. It’s like CAT, where human translators guarantee the translation accuracy of machine-translated materials. Linguists and human translators review the context, hidden meanings, symbolisms, and reader value before editing the translated text. It’s a process global companies require from the localization and translation industry.

SG – Style Guide

Localization and translation professionals adhere to standards for formatting the content of different brands. The style guide (SG) is like a blueprint for creators working with various brand elements to unify their language and graphic presentations, reflecting the brand’s corporate style. It ensures brand consistency, allowing the global company to leverage its reach.

For example, McDonald’s uses only the Lovin’ Sans typeface for all text-based content. You won’t see this typeface from your ordinary character set because it’s a customized version of the Colfax typeface from Process Type Foundry. It’s one of the many things separating McDonald’s from other brands and indicates its unique branding.

TEP – Translation, Editing, and Proofreading 

Translation is not a one-step process. It involves three discrete procedures that guarantee translation accuracy. It starts with the actual transformation of the source text into target content. The next step requires human translators to edit the translated material to ensure consistency, quality, and readability. On the other hand, proofreading eliminates mistakes and errors in formatting, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and other linguistic elements.

No machine translator can perform the TEP process. Only human translators can. However, AI translators can hasten the translation process by fast-tracking source text translation, allowing linguists to edit and proofread the material sooner than without machine translation.

Final Thoughts

You now understand LSP meaning and other acronyms that the localization and translation industry uses. A language service provider and other companies in the industry use these terms to communicate effectively, enabling clients to get into the groove and ensure globalization and localization success.

If you’re still unsure about some of these terms, a language service provider or any localization and translation service company can enlighten you more. Suffice it to say, we’re here to make your globalization, localization, and translation activities more seamlessly effective.