It’s time to clarify something: Language service providers (LSPs) do not provide translation. They provide vendor management, project management, and sales. This may come as a shock to you.

You may then ask why one would hire a language services company to provide translations if that is not even their core competency? The answer is because the industry is structured in such a way that each of those middlemen, or LSPs, add necessary value.

In the past decades, we have seen translation companies grow from small regional agencies to large multinational enterprises, giving birth to the massive multiple language services provider (MMLSP). Much like the rise of the dinosaurs at the beginning of the Mesozoic Era, this phenomenon did not happen overnight.

Evolution doesn’t occur autonomously. It is shaped by changes in the environment. The evolution from contracted language professional (CLP) to MMLSP was driven by the changing demands of the customers and other external market influencers. In our example, the MMLSP represents the end result of this process and is, therefore, the most evolved, but is no more important than any other players in the industry. It may seem like the king of the jungle, but it is only one player in a delicate ecosystem that is heavily dependent on other players.