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Managing Your Vendor Database

A few weeks ago I was working on finding resources for a potential new multi-language project. There are many steps that need to be taken prior to selecting a highly qualified linguist for a localization project. I thought about the time it would take to find a linguist if our database was not fully updated with approved linguists clearly identified according to their language pair and subject matter expertise. In this blog I will discuss how you can ensure you have a well-organized vendor database for localization projects.

Avoid Chaos and Confusion

Let’s make a funny comparison. Suppose you are walking down the street wearing a purse that is full of papers, lipstick, perfume, candy, pens, tissues, old tickets, etc., and someone asks you for a pen and says he needs it urgently. After rummaging around your purse looking for it and after several attempts to find one that works and apologizing a few times, you might be able to lend the pen to that person, if you find one that works.

Now imagine that messy purse is your vendor database and one of your clients requests a rush translation project in several uncommon languages. I bet you will not be ready to start the project very quickly.

How to Organize Your Vendor Database


In order to keep an efficient and well-organized vendor database that is an effective resource for project managers in your company, especially under rush circumstances, there is a lot of work that needs to be done on a daily basis. A few of these tasks include:

  • Identify linguists according to their source and target languages.
  • Request those linguists to complete a sample translation.
  • Have those sample translations reviewed and approved by previously qualified linguists.
  • Store the approved samples together with the linguists’ (yearly) updated resumes under the corresponding Language Pair record, which should be previously created in your database.
  • Add easily accessible comments to each linguist record regarding: current rates, subject matter expertise, number of words they translate/edit per day, if they provide interpretation services, if they translate, edit and proof or translate only, the accounts they are generally assigned to.
  • Identify desktop publishers, developers, etc. according to their source and target languages and add any necessary comments under each entry.
  • Remove all vendor records that do not qualify to be ready to start working on a certain project right away.

I cannot emphasize enough how important and time-saving it is that your vendor database is well organized, user friendly, up-to-date and comprehensive so you can quickly find the proper linguists. When your database is organized you can avoid wasting several hours and even days trying to find and then qualify linguists that are there but have not been evaluated yet, or even worst, having to look for vendors outside your database and evaluate those vendors when you should be launching your project.

Continual Updates

The process of looking for and evaluating vendors outside your database is what a vendor manager should work on daily. Continually updating your database with new resources will help if the teams you usually use for a client are not available, or the translator you always contact for certain language are too expensive for the project budget.


In summary, I strongly suggest that you organize, and regularly evaluate and update your vendor database. This will save you time, money and a few headaches!

Additional Resources for Localization Project Management

You can optimize project management on your next project, by reading¬†GPI’s previous blogs on translation project management:¬† Project Management for Translation Projects, Part 1 and¬† Project Management for Translation Projects, Part 2 and Best Practices for Localization Project Managers.

Translation and Localization Resources

You may gain further insight into global e-business, global SEO and website translation and country specific cultural facts and related topics by reviewing some previous blogs written by GPI: