Translation and Localization, In-house or Outsourced?

Translation and Localization

If your company is ready to expand overseas and is looking into translation and localization in an effort to assist in the process, is it better to start an in-house translation and localization team or outsource the services from a localization vendor? Well, it depends on your priorities and goals.

If you are a localization service buyer without knowledge of localization and internal quality control infrastructure for realizing multilingual products, you might think it is better to resort to outside vendors or consultants. Here are some of the factors to take into account to help you decide one way or the other:

Quality control

If you are looking into creating a translation and localization team in-house, you are going to be dealing with limited resources for quality control purposes. While your employees are familiar with the content you are offering, it might be difficult to ensure translation quality control across different spheres (i.e., web/app interfaces, help, and technical manuals). LSPs usually draw from a bigger pool of experienced translators and localization experts who can do a better job with quicker turnaround time when compared with newly built internal teams.

Management and workflow

In-house translators certainly understand the organization’s needs better than anyone else. Thus, employing translators in-house ensures that the organization’s core essence is transferred and guarantees its employees full control over the process. However, projects can vary in complexity and subject matters and, again, drawing from a bigger pool of translators and localization specialists can be advantageous. In-house translators have expertise in only a small amount of languages, and they are not usually knowledgeable about project management (including handling timelines and budgets). On the other hand, project management comes as part of the service delivered by language service providers and project managers have the technological tools and the expertise to optimize workflow.


An internal team of translators and localization experts might seem more cost-effective as opposed to resorting to an LSP. However, there are costs associated with maintaining an active in-house team; particularly those moments when they are not needed or other language/localization specialties are required. As volumes of content might fluctuate significantly, having internal translators is more cost-effective only when there is a consistent amount of work flow; otherwise resources are wasted during idle times. Also, having an in-house team implies investing money in translation technology (software for computer-assisted translation), while resorting to an LSP with its own translation software tools can save substantial resources.


If you are a company expanding overseas and are looking into localization best practices, often times choosing to handle the process in-house can be complex and cumbersome. There are a few factors you should take into account before deciding one way or the other, and you might come to the conclusion that the benefits of outsourcing override those of building an in-house department.

This article is written by a professional writer, Ilaria Ghelardoni, associated with Ulatus.

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