Every company with global marketing and sales ambitions knows the importance of translation. It’s the key to creating a multilingual website and content tuned to the needs of your local audience. Indeed, even companies targeting domestic audiences will often have the need to translate their web assets, marketing material, and technical documents into at least two or three languages. But how to go about getting this job done? What are the tips and tricks for getting the most value from your translation company? Let us count the ways.
1. How do you find the translation company that’s the best fit for your business?
There are thousands of translation companies in the world, but it’s not easy to find the best fit for your business. When searching for a translation company, keep in mind several important factors:
- Does the translation company support all the language pairs you require? The company should have a proven track record working with all languages you require. Make sure that its expertise is going in the direction you need. Some translation agencies excel at going from German to English but fare worse going from English to German.
- Does the translation company have the industry expertise which you require? Look for a company which is deeply familiar with your specific industrial ecosystem along with its terminology and jargon. Ask that they show you work samples to prove this and query them in detail about their work experience in your niche or vertical. Each translation needs to sound like it was written by an industry insider.
- Is the translation company’s budget in line with the competition and industry standards? Typically, document translation is costed by the number of words in the source documents or website. The rate per word may vary depending on the required language pairs, the scope of the work, the type of documents to be translated, and delivery urgency. Get 3-4 bids and then discuss with the shortlist of translation companies which respond to your query. Clarify, negotiate, and ensure that there are no hidden costs or post-signing surprises.
2. Besides document translation, what else can a translation company do for you?
Translation companies typically offer a variety of language services. The global language services industry in 2021 is expected to top 56 billion, growing at a healthy annual clip of five percent or more in the coming years. A small fraction of that is document translation. Among the related or complementary services that a translation company may offer are:
- Website and app localization, including translation and technical adaptation of the code
- Remote audio/video interpretation, to convert one voiced language to another
- Transcription, involving the conversion of audio and video recordings to text transcripts, with or without translation
- Subtitles and close captions for adapting video/audio content for multilingual audiences
Make sure that your chosen translation agency can offer most if not all of the above, so that you can benefit from a “one-stop-shop” experience and not need to look for additional language service agencies.
3. How do you manage a translation company to get more value for your money?
As noted, the fact that a translation company can offer all the require language services which you require is a key benefit. With a qualified translation agency on your side, you can simply communicate your material and requirements to your personal account management team and await a fully vetted and quality assured result. You don’t need direct interaction with the translators, editors, proofreaders, or programmers involved in your project. At least in theory.
In practice, here are some suggestions to make sure your project runs smoothly.
- Meet and discuss your project in-depth with your translation company’s account team.
- Ensure cost elements are clearly specified. Insist on being notified before additional expenses are incurred.
- Set clear milestones and deadlines, then ensure the translation company doesn’t let them slip.
- Have an outside linguist check your translation company’s work. See below.
- Ensure your translation company agrees to correct without charge anything incorrect or incomplete, even after delivery. Most guarantee their work for weeks, months, or years.
4. How to use freelancers and translation apps to check your translation company?
Freelance translators are typically less expensive than translation agencies but working with them can be riskier and more time consuming. But one good use of contract freelancers fluent in each target language is to check the work of your translation company. Find them on Upwork or Freelancer.com and try to find the best value for money in each language, seeking freelancers familiar with your target language and target market.
Another good idea is to run each translation through free online software like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator. You may find mistakes in the work of your translation partner or, more seriously, you may find that your agency used machine translation in executing your work. That’s a clear no-no, and you should specify that this is not allowed before signing a contract.
With these four guidelines in mind, you should be well on your way to speaking the language of your target marketing and thus expanding your sales reach across linguistic borders.