An interview with LSP.expert’s founders
As linguists, we’re curious creatures, and we love a good origins story. So we thought it was high time we shared ours! LSP.expert was the result of one translator looking for the perfect way to manage her freelance business, without having to waste time on project management and invoicing, making the best impression on her clients.
From there, it’s grown into a fully fledged platform that makes life a million times easier for freelance linguists all over the world. Keep reading to find out how it all began and what exciting developments LSP.expert has in store for the future.
For those who don’t know the story, can you tell us how LSP.expert was born and why you decided to develop a tool for translators?
Caroline: "I’m a freelance translator myself and when I started my business I really didn’t see myself working with Excel. This tool isn’t meant for managing jobs and creating invoices, I think, and I was afraid of making mistakes when copying and pasting my data. The problem was that the other tools on the market for translators were either too expensive or too complicated for my one-person business . So Cédric, who works as a developer and an IT architect, offered to create a tool to help me manage my jobs and invoices in just a few clicks, without any errors. That was really reassuring!"
Cédric: "At the beginning, LSP.expert only allowed translators to manage clients, jobs and invoices, as well as providing a few reports. It was only later that we added the possibility to create quotes, to outsource jobs, to manage expenses, etc. It was also only meant for Caroline at first, but when we talked to our translator friends about it they were curious and asked to test it too."
Was it hard to convince translators to use your tool? Was there any friction?
Caroline: "Absolutely no friction! Like me, they didn’t really like Excel but they used it because there wasn’t any other viable option. I think they were also reassured by the fact that LSP.expert was developed by a translator and an IT specialist, two people who knew what they were doing and knew the needs of translators."
Cédric: "We also made LSP.expert very user-friendly, with no unnecessary clicks. This helped convince people to use our tool. And we listened to their suggestions to make our tool better and implemented a lot of these suggestions. Of course not everybody switched from Excel to LSP.expert, because some people felt the system they had put in place in Excel was good and efficient (and who are we to judge them?), but we did convert a lot of people!"
LSP.expert is almost seven now. If there is one thing this journey has taught you, what is it?
Caroline: "We learned a lot so it’s difficult to mention only one thing here… But if I have to choose, it taught me that no matter what, you have to keep faith in what you do. Sometimes the process is very long and difficult, but it’s worth it in the end. Sometimes we get bad feedback or mean comments from some users who perhaps don’t use LSP.expert to its full potential, or don’t want to for some reason, and we have to remain calm and professional even if it ruins our day . But we also receive tons of lovely and enthusiastic messages from happy users."
Cédric: "From an IT perspective, this journey taught me (or rather confirmed) that you can never take anything for granted. You always have to keep learning to make your tool better, because the technology keeps evolving too. If you miss the wagon, it’s very difficult to get back on the train."
Is there a particular feature that ’s wildly popular among your users? Why do you think that is?
Caroline: "The simple fact of having it all in one place is something our users really like . But I think (and our users seem to agree) that one of the best things about LSP.expert is the possibility of creating all your invoices with just one click at the end of the month. For all your clients at once. You just select all the jobs on your list and click a single button. The system then automatically creates one invoice for each client. When you compare it to Excel, it’s a total revolution! You can also automatically send your invoices by emailing your clients using the platform, with a customised message. Less time spent on admin, more on translating!"
Cédric: "We also offer a lot of reports in LSP.expert, about a whole bunch of things: sales, performance per hour, taxes, turnover, suppliers, expenses, quantities translated, profitability, exchange rates, etc. I think having the numbers for your business is important to know where you stand and where you do better. It’s even better when you can get all this info in just one click, without having to compile the data yourself (again, with the risk of making mistakes). Our users feel empowered by this functionality, and that’s exactly what we want for them! The outsourcing functionality is also quite comprehensive and much appreciated by our users, who no longer have to waste time creating a job, outsourcing it, creating the PO, sending the files to the supplier, etc."
What’s the weirdest feature request you’ve received from a user? 😊
Caroline: "No weird feature request as such, but sometimes very specific feature requests that clearly only apply to one client of one particular user. We have to think about our users in general and wonder if a feature request will benefit the majority of people. If not, we try to offer the user an alternative solution."
Cédric: "It’s not a weird feature request, but we sometimes get messages from people who think we offer translation jobs, so they mention their skills and ask how they can get jobs from us. For them we have a standard message explaining that we are not a translation agency, but "only" a tool that helps translators manage their jobs."
Let’s talk about the future! Can you give us a sneak peek of what you have in store for LSP.expert?
Caroline: "We always have a lot in store (our to-do list is very long!), but it’s true we are working on something important right now, coming around the beginning of this year… The IT mastermind will explain it better than me!"
Cédric: "We are writing a new interface for LSP.expert. Our tool was first developed around 2016 and, like I said before, the technology is constantly evolving, so it was time we rewrote it. To give it a fresher look, but also to make future updates easier. The "old" version of LSP.expert wasn’t sufficient for what we have in mind for the future. Our users can rest assured: LSP.expert will remain very user-friendly, even more so than before as we’re also enhancing some functionalities. We hope you’ll all like this 2.0 version of LSP.expert, and of course we’ll be keen to hear your feedback!"
Any last words?
Caroline: "We’d like to thank our users for their support. It really is a pleasure to know that we’re making your lives easier every day!"
Cédric: "And stay tuned for good things to come!"