Is It More Effective to Use In-house Linguists or Outsource Localisation Experts?

Is It More Effective to Use In-house Linguists or Outsource Localisation Experts?


Large businesses that are marketing their products or services to consumers internationally often find themselves in a particular conundrum at a certain stage of maturity; should they use in-house localisation teams or outsource? These types of businesses are typically doing one or the other but feel the need to make changes to their localisation strategy to increase efficiencies, reduce costs and reduce time to market.

Other businesses who are about to embark on an international marketing journey also ponder on this highly debated question. But which option is best for your business?

The pros and cons

When it comes to the management of your workflow, in-house teams benefit from having the knowledge of your internal processes, company culture and brand voice. You’ll also have full control over the translation management process. However, with large scale projects come more complexities.

Some projects might require a particular set of skills such as multilingual copywritng or you might need new linguists who can translate a new language that you want to add to your website. With a language service provider, you’ll have a larger pool of translators to choose from to meet your language requirements. Furthermore, most language service providers will offer project management, as standard, to their clients.

Quality control also becomes an issue with businesses using in-house teams. These teams only have a small number of linguists to adapt content and typically require support from third parties for quality assurance.

This typically means additional costs if don’t have a larger in-house team to manage the QA process effectively. A reputable language service provider on the other hand should have systems and tools in place to mitigate poor quality translations.

While larger businesses might be more inclined to build an in-house localisation team, it’s important to think about the costs involved as it requires long-term investment – particularly in technology. You’ll also need to consider that volumes of content that need to be adapted will either slow down or become idle and you’ll still be paying for linguists and management staff.

To mitigate this, some businesses prefer either using a language service provider or even a hybrid system (a small number of in-house linguists, a localisation manager and a third-party language vendor for QA or technology support) to manage costs. But no matter what you choose, investing in people with local expertise will always be your trump card.

Want more information about how some of the world’s top retail and travel brands use in-house localisation teams or language service providers to effectively adapt content to customers in new markets? We partnered with Econsultancy on a research report identifying localisation opportunities and challenges with a panel of eight leading brand marketers.

You can download the report for free below.

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Written by Demetrius Williams
Demetrius Williams
Demetrius Williams is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Toppan Digital Language and has previous eCommerce experience working with a number of luxury brands in the fashion and beauty industry. He enjoys photography, binge-watching Netflix and can often be found roaming around London with a camera in his hand.