When I started as a freelance translator I was honestly quite scared about it. Not the fact that I had to translate (obviously), but the fact that I had to manage all my invoices, clients, and all that
annoying great stuff all freelancers have to deal with.
Let me tell you. I used the very basic features of Excel, I used online platforms, I used desktop software and even mobile apps. None of them worked for me.
They were either lacking features I needed (like client management or direct invoice mailing) or they were just too much of a hassle. I was fed up of this and I needed something effective, easy to use, and that would let me keep track of my jobs, clients, turnover… You know, all that jazz!
I started where we all start searching for something: our dear Google. A few clicks and there it was. LSP.expert. It looked good —it actually looked amazing— and I just though the features it offered met my needs, so I decided to go along with the trial version. Needless to say, I think I was on the trial version for a few days and I automatically subscribed for a whole year. This was the best decision!
They answer any questions you have in minutes, and if you think there is a feature that the platform could benefit from, they will work on it and most likely add it!
I decided it would be a good idea to interview the lovely couple behind LSP.Expert so everyone can get a closer look of their project.
So… here we go.
Who’s behind LSP.expert?
We are two people behind LSP.expert. I’m Caroline, a freelance translator. And there is also Cédric, a developer (who is my partner in business but also my partner in life ?).
How did you come up with the idea?
Cédric and I met 8 years ago when I was working as a translator in a translation agency in Brussels. The translation management software this company used wasn’t user-friendly at all, and I often came back home telling Cédric how unpractical it was. So we thought “Why not create our tool, with the expertise of a developer AND a translator?”. We first created a tool aimed at translation agencies, but we quickly realised that they are often reluctant to change their habits and that those who really needed a translation management tool were freelance translators. So we developed LSP.expert for them.
Did it start as a solution for your own business?
No, because we developed it when I was still working for a translation agency, but I adopted LSP.expert as soon as I became a freelance translator and I can’t imagine what I would do without it. Especially the Reports function, I don’t know how I could get all this information using Excel, for example!
When did you decide to share this wonderful tool with the world?
After it had been developed, we had to test it. We did that ourselves, with some trusted translator friends. Then we officially launched LSP.expert in September 2016.
What was/is the most difficult part of managing an online platform?
It’s essential to us to be available for our users. When we receive questions or suggestions, we try to answer them as quickly as possible (sometimes at 10 p.m. when we’re in the middle of an episode of our favourite TV show ?). So I would say this is a time-consuming part of our job, knowing that we both also have full-time jobs.
How important is it for you to get customer feedback?
As I said, it’s very important. A lot of functionalities we added in LSP.expert are the result of our users’ feedback. And it’s logical: who could help us improve LSP.expert better than ‘real’ freelance translators?
Do you have other freelancers who use the platform or is it mainly translators?
We have some interpreters among our users, and Cédric uses it for his IT consultancy assignments. But until now we focused our efforts on translators, who remain our primary target group.
Have you considered building another platform for other freelancers, like freelance designers, for example?
Yes, that’s something we plan to do in the future. When we think about it, we don’t have to change many things in LSP.expert to make it suitable for other freelancers. We have to remove the CAT tool functionality, of course, and change the reports a bit, but that’s it.
What’s the best part of LSP.expert?
I think the best thing about our tool is that it is easy to use. It’s just everything a freelance translator needs, nothing more, nothing less. I also particularly like the Reports section, that gives me tonnes of interesting information about my translation business. And there is also the time-tracking functionality, that allows me to know exactly how much time I spend on each job (to invoice my client accordingly or to know my performance per hour). Oh, and also the fact that invoices are created in just a click, giving me more time to translate.
Other interesting things are also the possibility to create quotes, to send documents in any language you want, to personalise the localisation settings and to import your data from TO3000 or Excel.
Why is it a great investment for freelance translators?
It’s a great investment for freelance translators because they have everything they need in one single easy-to-use tool. We also very often update LSP.expert with new functionalities, which makes it a dynamic tool. We know many translators see the administrative part of their job as a “necessary evil” and our objective is to make their lives easier, help them keep control of their activity and earn more money (because they spend less time on invoicing and managing their jobs). Once they create an account on our website, they don’t have to install anything on their computer or spend hours entering data. They can simply start working.
You are always improving the platform, any new features coming our way?
The big features we are working on are a possibility to directly import a file analysis from a CAT tool, (instead of having to enter the matches manually), and the possibility to compare two different years in the reports.
In the coming months, we would like to add an expense management module, so that our users can also enter their expenses in the system (when they buy new software or outsource jobs to other translators, for example). But this is a big thing, and we still have to think about how we will implement it to make sure our tool remains easy to use.
Thank you, Caroline and Cédric, for taking your time to answer my questions.
Now, let me show you a few screenshots of the LSP.expert platform.
By the way, if you have clients from different countries, there is a feature where you can localise the invoices and choose a language for each client.
I hope you enjoyed this interview and, most of all, I hope you give LSP.expert a try and love it as much as I do!