The 411: What We Need From Our Language Services Provider

Two localization experts from FedEx and ServiceNow share their secret to localization, what lessons they learned in their journey, what to look for in a LSP, and more.


Two localization experts from FedEx and ServiceNow share their secret to localization, what lessons they learned in their journey, what to look for in a LSP, and more.

The panel discussion “The 411: What We Need from a Language Services Provider” happened live at Global Ready Conference 2021 and was moderated by Gavin Grimes, VP of Language Services at Smartling. Gavin was joined by Nancy Ferreira da Rocha, Senior Localization Program Manager at FedEx, and Emil Atanassov, VP Internalization at ServiceNow.

We got to hear from these industry experts about their rollercoaster-ride-like journey through the evolution of their localization programs. The panel discussed what it takes for teams to work cross-functionally with their language services providers to achieve their localization goals, and successes and failures they’ve experienced over the years.

Watch the panel in its entirety here.

Here are just a few of many insights Nancy and Emil shared during the discussion:

Using Data Points to Drive Localization Program

Nancy Nancy initially joined the TNT Express team, which was later acquired by another courier giant, FedEx, to help with its localization efforts. While working toward the digital transformation of TNT, she set goals to create ways for the customers to book and manage shipments seamlessly. To achieve their vision of creating an even more customer-centric experience, the team needed to translate their services, including the website, into 39 languages. That was the beginning of her first localization project.

When TNT was acquired by FedEx, the FedEx team was also looking to modernize its localization efforts and saw how TNT had succeeded in their loc project. The FedEx team was happy with the quick turnaround time and the control and data involved in Nancy’s exemplary localization efforts. Nancy proved to her team the benefits of the centralized localization model.

Emil Emil joined ServiceNow to bring the organization’s leadership, customer experience, and various processes to the next level. The localization program at ServiceNow was ignited by the desire to improve their processes through automation and ultimately to optimize the customer experience.

“[Localization] is not about just adding languages and translating. It's about delighting and providing that user experience where it has to be done.”

In localization, providing various language options for the customers is indeed important. However, Emil focused on using the data points to find out which languages and features their customers needed the most for the optimal user experience at ServiceNow. That was Emil's secret to pleasing his stakeholders while using their resources most efficiently and wisely as possible.

What Do You Look for in a Language Service Provider?

Nancy A fast turnaround and reasonable pricing are priorities. FedEx is always releasing projects of all sizes, sometimes as small as 200 words, so the language service provider must be able to cater to their needs without jumping the price.

Transcreation abilities and scalability were critical because of their wide variety of content serving many different purposes such as translation for SEO, customer success, and more. Also, for the times highly specialized content, such as the legal documents, need to be translated, the LSP must provide translators with appropriate expertise.

Emil A good language service provider is a trusted partner. He needs his LSP partner to be in clear communications with his team to understand each other’s goals well. Emil sees value in building a strong relationship with his LSP, where his team can bounce off transparent feedback and advice for solutions to achieve the best customer experience and processes.

What Did You Learn From the Years of the Localization Journey?


  • Being able to adjust to unexpected situations and interruptions with patience for something to be done. Projects can take longer or require more effort than planned.
  • Communicating with people with patience and encouragement in letting them know why we’re trying to change and what benefits there are to making changes for the better because many people don’t find changes easy.
  • Importance of understanding the supply chain of the language service provider. There are lots of different people and steps involved, so it’s smart to look for an LSP partner who could provide transparency of its supply chain and enable clear communication through that process.
  • To hire engineers. Technical and engineering knowledge is critical in the localization program because technical integrations happen frequently.


  • Establishing a purpose for the team.
  • Looking at the localization program at a different angle to consistently adjust and figure out the right ways to meet the goals.
  • Talking to clients and even their clients to get feedback. Find out what they’re experiencing and what their journey is like, and improve it. Use that data to make things work and delight your users.
  • Establishing relationships that allow you to have hard, honest, but respectful conversations, like when you have to say no or disagree.

Watch the panel in its entirety here.