LSPs, or language service providers, are organizations that nowadays offer various language services, such as translation, localization, adaptation, etc. But how did this big industry start, which stages has it taken, and what will we have in the predictable future? Our team decided to overview these questions and share the information with you.

The brief history of the LSPs development

One of the most common examples of LSP is translation services. If we talk about them, the first mention of this process dates back to 2500 BC, when people used clay tablets to translate symbols. At the same time, the most famous and earlier example of the document translation is the Old Testament, translated from Hebrew into Greek around the 3rd century BC.

Up to Gutenberg's development of the printing press, the copying and translation of information were done manually by scribes and monastics. Then, the Protestant Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries and the availability of the printing press pushed translation history forward. So, based on the available data, we can highlight three main stages of the LSP's industry development.

Stage 1 - Manual - until the middle of the 20th century, before the first automated technologies came into the translation process.

Stage 2 - Pre-modern - this era, which includes the time from the middle of the 20th to the first decade of the 21st century, includes the time from the first machine translation engines and computer-assisted tools (CAT) to the integration of the first neural technologies into language service provider (LSP) processes.

Stage 3 - Modern - it can be counted from the first neural engine development and distribution to today. The era of widely used neural machine translation tools is usually identified with the Google release 2016, which presented Google Neural Machine Translation to the public. Besides MT, additional AI trends and services took the stage. The current modern age of LSP will be reviewed in detail in the paragraph after this, as it requires deep diving.

lsp stages

Technological development and the world's tendency to globalization imply continuous LSP development. According to the latest statistics, the industry increased from $64.7 billion in 2022 to $69.3 billion in 2023, and it will continue to grow and predictably reach $90.8 billion by 2027.

Evolution for Language Service Providers (LSPs)

As mentioned above, the LSP industry has made leaps from the 1950s to the present. In 1400 and 1600, or 1700, "translating services" meant similar approaches. However, the industry's processes and tasks have changed significantly in the last century — the technologies in 1950, 1980, and 2023 are entirely different, and the changes in the previous hundred years have been many times greater than in centuries before.


This was a time marked by a highly manual environment. Translations were done with paper-based workflows, requiring human involvement at every stage. These were times when Google Translate hadn't been launched yet, and less than 5% of the world's population used the Internet. By the way, the industry already used the first translation management and CAT tools.

The early 2000s

The industry is starting to transform digitally. The first cloud translation management systems are launching (the desktop-based ones were available from 1980), and new tools are evolving. The Internet and the translation industry are growing, and in the next ten years, the number of Internet users will increase by six times.


It is a transformation period focused on developing new technical capabilities and standardizing existing approaches. The industry has started effectively parsing and working with different file formats, allowing CAT and translation tools to apply to other industries and cases. This period is also characterized by the implementation of API, which facilitates text processing. At that time, the Agile methodology finally became a standard approach, and the LSP industry adapted to modern demands. In 2015, ISO 17100:2015 Translation Services-Requirements for Translation Services was launched, establishing the requirements for translation processes, resources, and conditions.


This was a boom of neural networks, artificial intelligence, and automation in the LSP industry. To show you how the industry grew, let's look at NLP (natural language processing) development, which revenue increased from $50 million initially to over $350 million by the end of the period.

Thanks to the Google release in 2016, machine translation with AI became a widely discussed topic. One year later, other tech companies like DeepL and Amazon (in 2017) also presented their solutions. By the way, we combine all three engines in the Lingohub machine translation tool to provide the most accurate result.

At this stage, automation comes to the fore, and APIs and integrations become necessary parts of language providers' software. One of the reasons for such demand is the significant growth of the cloud solutions market (524% from 2013 to 2023) and, as a result, the increased requirements for different SaaS service integrations.

Additionally, the Internet covers more than 50% of the world's population, erasing boundaries and increasing the importance of data security and confidentiality. In 2016 , Europe adopted the GDPR, and in 2018 , the USA assumed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

2022- currently

AI-driven translation models improved the accuracy of machine translations and allowed better generation of human-like text. The release of OpenAI's ChatGPT in late 2022 and its subsequent versions in 2023 have made AI a central topic in the tech and language services industries.

Based on the new technologies, this era is a time of the following trends:

  • MTPE (machine translation post-editing) become an effective approach for processes speeding up;
  • Real-time translation of websites, UGC (user-generated content) and support communication,
  • AI paraphrasing and text producing.

How can Lingohub support businesses?

When we talk about language service providers, we can mention a company that covers any of these tasks - translation, localization, proofreading, MTPE, copywriting, etc. Lingohub is not a classic LSP, as we provide a combination of a TMS (translation management system) and professional translation services. This statement means that with us, you can:

  • Integrate the needed repositories and applications (CMS, help centers, etc.) to build a smooth and continuous localization/translation.
  • Use the AI pre-translating tool.
  • Create custom workflows and simplify the entire process of content translation with CATs.

At the same time, we offer experts who provide linguistic services like translation, proofreading, and machine translation post-editing. All these services can be managed from a single user interface, making it possible to handle all language-related tasks with one tool.

Choosing the best solution for your business can be challenging, and many questions can arise, so communication is always the best approach. Choose a suitable time for you to book a demo call with our team to discuss your requirements and needs. We are always ready to help.

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