Posted by: patenttranslator | September 2, 2013

“LSP” Means “Language Services Provider, Definitely Not “Linguistic Sausage Producer” According to President of GTPA (Global Translation Providers Association)

In a statement during a recent interview given to Fox News, Al Jazeera America and Alex Jones’ by Alois Ptáček, the current (interim) president of the Global Translation Providers Association (GTPA), categorically stated that the insinuations by Kevin Lossner and some other freelance translators who repeatedly and erroneously claimed on their blogs that “LSP”, which is defined by GTPA as “Language Services Provider”, should really mean “Linguistic Sausage Producer” is a misguided and erroneous misinterpretation of the well known, tried and true “four-eyes control method” (known as vier Augen Kontrolle in German), now featuring nine quality control steps in a modern application of this famous medieval principle. He called the term “linguistic sausage” a truly regrettable error on the part of some freelance translators, who, although they may have been translating for decades, and were able to pay their bills and put their kids through college during those decades based on income received solely from their translations simply “don’t have a clue as to how translation really works”.

“It is true that we have to chop up long translations and divide them among a far-flung team of translators who live mostly in third world countries where translation costs are almost as low the cost of manufacturing haute couture for Walmart, Gap and Target stores in factories located somewhere in Bangladesh.”

“But we really have no choice”, said Mr. Ptáček. “These are really important translations that have to be turned on the dime, so to speak. We love rush jobs because we can charge double the usual rate for these translations. Unfortunately, translators in developed countries, especially in Western Europe, United States and countries like Japan, at this point still for some reason refuse to translate at rates within our budget from languages that they don’t understand that well into languages that they don’t know that much either when one translator must produce at least 5 thousand words in 1 day.”

“In most third world countries, we can always find people eager to work for us at a reasonable rate”, emphasized Mr. Ptáček …. “and with our four-eyes control method, which was recently amended so that it now includes “9 CQCSs” (Comprehensive Quality Control Stages), for which we rely on our interns who are usually native speakers of English and sometime even have some high school French or Spanish, the result is a very high-quality translation product.

“False modesty aside, I believe that Saint Jerome himself, who almost single-handedly translated the Scriptures of the Bible from Greek and Aramaic into medieval Latin, would be proud of these translations”, added Mr. Ptáček, “and I’m not even Catholic”.

“Mind you, it took Saint Jerome several decades to finish a single translation”, said Mr. Ptáček, “and he had to labor well into his eighties to finish just one translation. It was kind of a long job, but still, it was just one job.”

“Due to the recent ‘data tsunami and information content explosion’, we simply don’t have that much time anymore. Using the latest technology and our modern, innovative methods, backed up by our sophisticated quality control systems, we can translate the equivalent of the Old Testament in about 5 days, while New Testament would take us a couple of days, tops, provided that there are not too many earthquakes, tsunamis, or factory infernos at out supplier’s end during that time.”

“We provide language services, not …. sausages, for God’s sake”, exclaimed the GTPA President, now with a touch of annoyance in his voice.

“You know how long it takes to make a good sausage? Curing and smoking the meat alone, once you have added salt, herbs and spices, and sometime even some wine or beer, will take at least three months and three days. We don’t have 93 days!”

“Incidentally, I know how to make a mean sausage because before I became President of the Global Translation Providers Association, I used to make sausages at my father’s farm in Southern Moravia near the town of Břeclav“, chuckled Mr. Ptáček with obvious delight at the unexpected serendipity of the moment.

“But I really prefer the translation business. It is a much less knowledge-intensive industry than the sausage making industry, and the profit margin can’t be beat once you get your priorities straight.”



  1. Good one! 🙂


  2. I take it “Ptáček” means something obscene in Czech, Slovakian, or both.


  3. No, it’s a common name meaning literally “little bird”, “Vögelchen” or “Vöglein” in German, “小鳥” in Japanese .

    You just have a dirty mind.:)


  4. […] In a statement during a recent interview given to Fox News, Al Jazeera America and Alex Jones' by Alois Ptáček, the current (interim) president of the Global Translation Providers Asso…  […]


  5. Brilliant.


  6. Yep! Love it!


  7. I stand corrected. Do the 9 CQCSs also include the new memoQ numerical LQA system for quantifying their superior quality? Then surely the charm is firm and good.


  8. @Kevin

    Not sure. But last week when an agency contacted me about a price quote for a long Japanese patent a couple of days ago (because they did not know how to estimate the word count), I went to their website and sure enough, they too had a 9-step quality control system in place.

    It seems that the more ignorant they are, the more quality control measures they claim to have in place, which kind of makes, in Dr. Demento’s kind of world.

    (Doctor Demento was my favorite radio DJ back in the eighties. Maybe you know him because this was on radio in California).


  9. Steve: Perhaps, but it would seem appropriate if the spokeswhatever’s name translated as “brain fart”. Derek


    • @Derek

      It would be a better translation than most of the “translations” or English summaries of Japanese patents that one can find on JPO website.


  10. “It is a much less knowledge-intensive industry than the sausage making industry”

    Such a glorious expression of Mr. Ptáček’s deep respect for well-trained, experienced professional translators, many of whom were evidently misguided in wasting an unfortunate amount of time honing their language skills and studying for university degrees and certifications.

    “we rely on our interns who are usually native speakers of English and sometime even have some high school French or Spanish, the result is a very high-quality translation product”

    See? In case you weren’t already impressed that our fast, cheap translations are reread by interns instead of language professionals, sometimes these proofreaders are even able to understand some of the source text when editing a translation! Aren’t they the best?

    I’m sorry, I think I need a minute to calm down. Please tell me he was joking all along!


  11. “Please tell me he was joking all along!”

    Nope. Mr. Ptáček was as serious as a heart attack and he would be probably perplexed by your reaction.

    LSPs are simply following market trends by imitating what large corporations have been doing for decades: moving their business wherever the least expensive labor force happens to be located at the moments.

    That is the genius of our entrepreneurial system!


  12. “Translations, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”

    Who was that who said this?


  13. @Wenjer

    Whoever he was, he was wrong about sausages. It depends on the sausage.

    I saw quite a few times on TV how the best kinds of sausages are made in Italy, Germany and other countries.

    Last week I saw how a Rumanian immigrant family has been making sausages for 2 generations in New Jersey and I think that I was inspired to write this past partly because I was so impressed by their skill and dedication to their craft.

    But when it comes to how translations are produced these days ….. this saying is probably right on target a lot of times …. depending on the translation.


  14. Mr. Ptáček is wrong about St. Jerome. Jerome was a prolific translator. I made a list of what he got up to here:
    Neither was St. Jerome Catholic, but I would rather talk to him than Mr Ptáček any day. Also, if this is how Mr Ptáček treats translation, I’ll take a pass on tasting any sausages he says he knows how to make.


  15. @Allison

    Mr. Ptáček told me that it was not his intention in the least to disparage St. Jerome and that he read and enjoyed your post about said Saint.

    He just wanted to emphasize, he said, how revolutionary breakthroughs in modern translation technology such as CATs, MT and the like made it possible to provide “high-quality” (his words) translations to customers around the world with short deadlines, which is something that would not have been possible 15 centuries ago.

    He also said that he has no doubt that you would probably enjoy the sausages he used to make before he became manager of linguistic projects instead of a manager of a sausage factory provided that “you are not a vegan or something” (his words).


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