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Written by Steven Bussey
on March 06, 2023

Going global is no cakewalk. Choosing the right language vendor is crucial for the success of any international business. While choosing the right language partner for your localization needs, you might be weighing pros and cons of several vendors. One of the most important factors to consider is the size of the vendor. Does company size matter? Would you rather be a top 10 client of a 10 million dollar revenue company or client number 1000 of a 1 billion dollar language service provider? In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons surrounding the size of the localization services vendors. Read more to find out the comparison in:

1. Technology
2. Agility
3. C-Level involvement 
4. Staff retention 
5. NPS scores and other review scores
6. Niche ability 
7. End-to-end production infrastructure
8. Management owned vs. Shareholder owned

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1. Technology

When it comes to localization technology, the size of the vendor can play a significant role in the kind of solutions they offer. Large vendors often have their own proprietary solutions that they have developed in-house. Medium sized vendors tend to invest in best-in-breed solutions from third-party providers, while smaller vendors may opt for a more traditional translation approach with limited technology use.

  • Proprietary solutions are typically designed to work specifically with the vendor's own technology stack, which can limit their functionality and compatibility with other systems which in effect lock you in. In contrast, best-in-breed solutions are designed to work with a wide range of technologies and platforms, making them more flexible and adaptable to different client needs.
  • While large localization vendors have significant resources, R&D is often limited, as they may not always prioritize localization technology as a core focus over services. Companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Phrase (a leading Translation Management System) however are primarily focused on their core businesses - technology. With almost unlimited resources and R&D, their technology tends to be more specialized and innovative than those solutions provided by localization service vendors.
  • Small and medium sized vendors are more likely to partner with best-in-breed technology providers, which can give them access to a wider range of tools and innovative features without the need to invest in developing their own proprietary solutions. This approach can also allow them to be more agile in responding to changes in the localization industry and to quickly adopt new technologies and trends.

Overall, the choice between proprietary and best-in-breed solutions will depend on a variety of factors, including the specific needs of the client, the complexity of the localization project, and the resources available to the vendor. However, in general, medium sized vendors like Andovar that prioritize flexibility and innovation through best-in-breed solutions may offer a more effective and adaptable approach to localization technology.


2. Agility

When it comes to localization agility, smaller vendors often have an advantage over larger vendors. This is because larger companies tend to have more bureaucracy, more decision-makers, and more layers of management, which can slow down the decision-making process and hinder their ability to respond quickly to changing client needs.

Large vendors may also have more rigid structures and processes in place that can make it difficult to adapt to new technologies and industry trends. In contrast, smaller vendors are often more agile, with a more flexible and streamlined approach that allows them to move quickly and make decisions more efficiently.

For example, when a client requires a new solution or technology, a small vendor can often respond more quickly and implement the solution faster, while larger vendors may have to navigate multiple layers of approval and red tape before a decision can be made.

Overall, while larger vendors may have more resources and capabilities, their size and structure can make them less agile and less responsive to changing client needs. In contrast, smaller vendors are often more nimble and adaptable, which can allow them to provide a more effective and responsive localization service.

At Andovar, we pride ourselves on our ability to move quickly and implement solutions rapidly. We are able to react faster and deploy AI and new technology, which allows us to provide our clients with the latest and most effective localization solutions. We can also adapt to changing client needs more easily, which allows us to provide a more personalized and customized approach to localization.


3. C-Level involvement

Companies with yearly spends of less than $1 million will rarely get the attention of CEO or other C-level staff in the localization industry's top 5 firms. When it comes to C-level involvement in localization services, smaller vendors often have an advantage over larger vendors when managing mid-sized accounts. Smaller vendors are typically more geared up to focus on building strong relationships with a broader range of clients and providing a personalized level of service while many large vendors due to their size and structure can make it difficult to provide a personalized level of service and dedicated resources.

At Andovar, we believe that it's important to have senior localization staff, director, VP level and C-level involvement on accounts of under $300K/yr. This ensures that our clients receive personalized attention and dedicated resources, and that their needs and goals are always top of mind. Our senior staff members are involved in all aspects of the project, from planning and strategy to execution and delivery, ensuring that our clients receive the highest level of service and support.


4. Staff retention

High staff retention is essential for successful localization services. In larger vendors, there is often a revolving door of staff, leading to familiarity issues with projects. This means constant training and retraining, orienting and reorienting client requirements. Andovar maintains a Glassdoor score of 4.4, which is one of the highest in the industry. 


5. NPS scores and other review scores

Another important factor to consider when choosing a language vendor is their Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other review scores. Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other review scores are important indicators of a language vendor's quality of service and client satisfaction. Andovar's 12-month trailing NPS score is very high (72), much higher than those published by top 10 localization vendors. This is a testament to the quality of their services and the satisfaction of their clients.


6. Niche ability

Choosing a language vendor that specializes in your specific niche area can lead to a more streamlined and efficient localization process, ultimately resulting in higher quality work and better project outcomes. While larger vendors may offer everything under the sun, smaller vendors may have a specific niche ability that sets them apart. Andovar specializes in multimedia localization, offering end-to-end production infrastructure including 5 professional recording studios with control rooms. Many larger vendors outsource entire project processes, which can lead to a loss of project control.


7. End-to-end production infrastructure

Following the above, Andovar offers end-to-end production infrastructure, which means they have the infrastructure and in-house staff to localize multimedia projects from start to finish. This ensures that projects are completed efficiently and to a high standard.

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8. Management owned vs. Shareholder owned

The ownership structure of a localization company can have a significant impact on its operations, culture, and priorities.

A management-owned company is one where the founders and current management team own the majority of the company's shares. This type of ownership structure often leads to a more focused approach, as management is invested in the long-term success of the company. The management team has a more significant say in decision-making, and they prioritize client satisfaction, quality, and employee well-being over short-term financial gain. They can be more agile in the decision-making and implementation of new technologies or services.

On the other hand, shareholder-owned companies are owned by a wide range of shareholders who have invested in the company. Shareholders often have different goals and priorities, such as maximizing shareholder value, short-term profits, or quarterly earnings. This can lead to a focus on cost-cutting measures and may negatively impact employee satisfaction, quality of work, and long-term growth. Shareholders may also prioritize larger clients with bigger budgets, leaving smaller clients feeling neglected.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while larger vendors may have more resources, medium-sized vendors like Andovar offer personalized attention, dedicated resources, and innovative solutions.

Finding the right localization company means much more than sending a manual of changes into the ether. You will be working side by side with this partner for a long time, and the investment that you will make in this process must be considered up front. Take the time to vet companies that you think will fit your needs. Ask questions. Go with the company that is honest, upfront and free with information. Keeping the best practices above in mind will help to ensure your success across the globe. 

If you are interested in discussing your next translation & localization project with industry experts then don't hesitate. Get in touch with Andovar to hear what we would advise for your next big project!

Contact Andovar


For more tips and content for global growth, please visit our blog.



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