If you're running a business, chances are you'll need to communicate with people in different languages, globally and even locally. A good way to do this effectively is by investing in translation services. But with so many providers, how do you choose the right one for your business?
In today's business world, it's more important than ever to communicate with customers and clients in their native language. With globalisation, businesses increasingly operate internationally, creating a need for translation services.
Translation has become an essential part of businesses that are expanding their reach to international markets. Companies need to communicate with their target audience effectively. The best way to achieve this is by translating their marketing materials, legal documents, and other types of content. However, choosing the right language service provider can be daunting, especially when you need to consider an array of critical factors.
A bad translation or a machine translation can cost a company dearly in terms of lost business and damage its reputation. That's why choosing a reputable and experienced translation service provider is essential.
We see several examples of the importance of translation in business worldwide. Apple creates tech products that people use in every corner of the world. Even though Apple is an American company, its products still offer over 100 languages for users to read prompts. Apple breaks the language barrier as a business by communicating with users in their specific language, thus expanding its market, reach and brand loyalty.
In this article, we will give you 17 tips to help you make an informed decision when selecting a translation services provider. Let's go!
1. Project Managers
A good translation company will assign a dedicated project manager or project management team to oversee your translation project from start to finish.
This person will be your main point of contact to ensure effective communication between you and translators, manage deadlines and ensure the project is complete on or before the deadline, and take care of any clarifications needed when translating content into another language.
2. Professional Translators
Translators are the backbone of any professional translation agency. The translator should be an expert in the target language and have an excellent grasp of the source language to ensure the best results.
However, it is essential to note that professional translators are more than just people who can speak two languages. Expert translators are trained professionals who consider nuances, cultural concepts, context, lexicon, grammar, and more to ensure your translation is polished and doesn't lose its intended meaning.
They better understand the intended audience, target language's grammar, spelling, and punctuation, which is vital for accuracy and quality. A professional can also identify potential misunderstandings or mistranslations and provide an appropriate solution.
3. Native Translators
A native translator is a linguist who is fluent in both the original language (source) and the target language and has a deep understanding of the nuances of the language, including its cultural and social context.
A translator must be able to accurately convey the intended meaning of the original text when translating content. Professional translators who are native speakers are familiar with colloquialisms, idioms, and cultural references unique to the language and can ensure the translated text flows naturally, reads well, and conveys the intended message.
A native translator understands the target audience's cultural expectations better and can adapt the language and tone of the translated text accordingly. This is an important factor when translating marketing materials or content for a specific market.
A translation company with a team of experienced and certified translators ensures that your translated material resonates with your target audience.
4. Expertise in Specific Fields
There is a good reason why reputable translation companies specialise in specific fields or industries.
LEXIGO, for example, only hires translators who are subject matter experts in the sectors we serve. This method ensures that professional experts only work on content they understand.
As a result, the translated content considers industry terminology, sector-specific context, and message accuracy that can only be achieved by an expert in the field.
5. High-Quality Service
Choosing a language service provider that offers high-quality service is just as important as choosing one that provides high-quality translation.
Translation accuracy, excellent customer service, efficient project management, and adherence to quality standards are all factors that contribute to high-quality service.
From the initial consultation to the final delivery of the translated material and after-delivery service, a professional translation company will provide high-quality service throughout the entire translation process, even when it has ended.
High-quality service can also be achieved through efficient project management. The translation company should have a streamlined process that ensures the timely delivery of the translated material without compromising quality.
6. Confidentiality Agreements
A translation services provider will ensure the security of your sensitive information regardless of whether or not they sign a confidentiality agreement.
Translation confidentiality agreements help protect sensitive information and documents during the translation process, helping to further ensure their confidentiality and security.
When working with a professional translation company, you can expect to sign a confidentiality agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of how your information will be handled during the translation process. The agreement will typically include clauses that specify that the translation company will keep your information confidential and not share it with any third party without your permission.
Confidentiality agreements are crucial for legal and financial documents, as they often contain sensitive information that needs to be protected. By signing a confidentiality agreement, you can be confident that your confidential information will be protected and that the translation company will take all necessary precautions to ensure its security.
Furthermore, the right partner should have robust security protocols to safeguard your information. This may include secure file transfer methods, password-protected documents, and access controls that restrict who can view or edit your documents.
A reliable partner with ISO 27001 certification, like LEXIGO, would have all the necessary security measures covered.
7. Value for money
A good translation company should offer competitive prices without compromising on the quality of the translation.
Value for money can be found in all the auxiliary services provided, such as pre-order customer service, post-delivery service and support, cultural advice and any technology offered during the process to make the ordering and management of your translations as easy as possible.
It is crucial to determine what pricing model works best for your needs. Some translation services offer a flat rate for their services, while others charge by the word or by the hour. For example, if you need a quick turnaround time, you may be willing to pay more per word. However, if you have a large document to translate, you may choose a provider that charges by the hour for the entire project.
Finally, consider any additional services that the translation service offers. Some providers offer proofreading, desktop publishing and formatting services in addition to translation. These other services can be helpful if you don't have the time or resources to do these tasks yourself.
8. Quality Management
To expand your business into new markets, you must ensure that all your materials are accurately translated into the target languages at high quality.
Professional translation services can handle projects quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality. Quality management systems are used by the best translation companies to ensure the highest quality of translations. A system should be in place to check for errors, mistranslations, and many more factors, such as terminology, language, and geographical factors.
As we'll cover in the next tip, ISO certifications are a great way to assess a service provider's quality standards.
9. ISO Certifications
A translation company with ISO certifications is a good sign of their commitment to quality and continuous improvement.
ISO certifications require regular compliance through independent auditing, so be sure to check your provider's ISO certificates are up to date.
ISO certifications for translation service providers include:
ISO 17100 for Translation Services Management and Quality
ISO 27001 for Information Security Management
ISO 9001 for Quality Management
10. Translation Management Systems
A Translation Management System (TMS) helps manage translation processes. In order to streamline the translation process, reputable translation service providers will at least use an off-the-shelf TMS.
With LEXIGO's award-winning TMS, LEXIGO.CORE, we offer bespoke and customised translation workflow solutions, offering extra features with the added benefit of hundreds of automated quality assurance controls and enterprise-level advantages.
LEXIGO Technology integrates globally-recognised Translation Project; and Production Management standards, namely ISO 17100 and PM-BOK, along with ISO 9001 Quality Controls, that deliver a variety of advantages, including high-quality translation and production services, consistent service provision and, consequently, clear value-for-money benefits.
11. CAT Tools
Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are software programs that help translators work more efficiently by automating certain aspects of the translation process.
CAT tools are an essential component of the translation industry. Working with a translation company that uses these tools can help ensure accurate and high-quality translations. CAT tools offer several benefits, including:
they can help translators maintain consistency in terminology and style throughout their translation work. By storing translations in a translation memory database, CAT tools can help ensure that key terms and phrases are translated consistently across all documents.
Reduced costs and increase efficiency
CAT tools can also help reduce costs by allowing translators to work more efficiently. By automating certain aspects of the translation process, such as formatting and repetitive tasks, CAT tools can help translators complete projects more quickly and accurately.
In addition to these benefits, CAT tools also help ensure the confidentiality of translated materials. Most CAT tools offer secure file storage and encryption features, which can help protect sensitive information.
12. Specific Expertise in Different Countries
Each country has unique cultural norms, language nuances, and regulatory requirements that must be considered during the translation process.
For example, suppose your business is expanding into Japan. In that case, you'll need to work with a translation company with a deep understanding of the Japanese language and culture and the nuances of Japanese business communication; ideally, they would need to be an in-country translator. They should also be familiar with Japanese regulations and requirements for legal and technical translations.
By working with a translation company with specific expertise in the countries, languages, and industries you're targeting, you can ensure that your translations accurately convey your intended message, comply with local regulations, and resonate with your target audience.
13. Years of Experience
Translation companies with experience understand the translation process and the nuances of different languages, which allows them to provide more accurate and reliable translations.
They have likely handled a wide range of translation projects, from legal and financial documents to marketing materials and technical manuals, so they are well-equipped to handle any type of project.
A well-established translation company typically has a team of professional translators, project managers, powerful technology and experienced support staff. As a result, they can handle several translation projects at once, ensuring timely delivery of translations without compromising quality.
Over the years, an experienced translation company has likely developed a reputation for providing quality translation services. Read case studies and research their track record to better understand their experience and quality.
14. Customer Support
Dedicated, responsive, helpful customer support teams are the hallmark of a good translation company.
Your dedicated support teams should offer the following advantages:
should be able to explain their translation process
provide clear timelines for the project
address any issues that may arise during the project.
should be available to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have
provide regular updates on your translation project
Effective communication is also an essential aspect of good customer support. A good translation company should communicate with you clearly and promptly and be able to understand your needs and requirements.
Lastly, a good translation company should have a system for handling customer feedback and complaints. You should expect them to listen to your feedback and take appropriate actions to make any improvements.
15. Effective Communication
Speaking of communication in the previous tip, effective communication is a crucial aspect of any successful translation project.
Communication is essential to ensuring that everyone involved in a translation project is on the same page and that the project progresses smoothly. Some examples of essential communication during translation project management include:
Establishing clear expectations and goals for the project is the first step to effective communication. This includes determining the scope and desired outcome of the project, as well as the completion timeline.
The roles and responsibilities of all parties involved should be clearly defined, and any potential challenges should be discussed in advance.
During the project, regular communication is essential. This includes providing updates on the project's progress, addressing any issues or concerns, and clarifying any questions or uncertainties.
A good service provider will conduct all the communication tips mentioned here as a part of the standard procedure, so you don't have to worry. However, they should also be responsive and available to answer any questions or concerns you may have throughout the project.
16. Second Translator Review
The second translator review, also known as checking and editing or proofreading, is a crucial step in the translation process.
It involves having a second translator review the translated text to ensure accuracy, consistency, and readability.
A second translator review aims to catch any errors or inaccuracies that may have been missed during the initial translation. This includes issues such as grammatical errors, misspellings, and typos. The second translator also ensures that the translation accurately conveys the intended message and is consistent with the source text.
Having a second translator review your translation is particularly important for high-stakes projects such as legal documents, medical and life sciences texts, and technical manuals. In these cases, even minor errors or inaccuracies can have significant consequences.
Working with a translation company with a well-defined process for separate translator reviews is important. This includes selecting a qualified and experienced second translator fluent in both the source and target languages. The second translator should be provided with the source text, the initial translation, and any relevant context or background information.
During the review process, the second translator should focus on ensuring accuracy, consistency, readability, and overall quality. They should provide clear feedback and suggestions for improvement and work with the initial translator to make any necessary revisions.
An essential factor to consider when choosing a translation provider is the language range the company offers.
Some businesses provide a few languages or only specialise in one or two. In contrast, others may offer a multitude, ranging from several dozen to even hundreds of languages. The paramount factor is collaborating with a translation firm that can cater to the specific languages mandatory for your project or target audience.
However, more is not always better. For example, at LEXIGO, we only add languages to our portfolio if we can genuinely support the language. The accuracy and skills of each translator are continuously rated using a proprietary algorithm called SmartRank, which uses the scores to allocate translators as new jobs are received.
With the help of SmartRank and our award-winning software, we can manage hundreds of languages at scale and perform quality assurance checks to our ISO certifications, all while keeping the quality of translator resources high.
It is also crucial to consider the quality of translations in every language. To ensure precise, uniform, high-quality translations, translation agencies must implement a rigorous quality management process. Second translator reviews, quality assurance checks, and computer-assisted translation tools are part of this process.
Bottomline: Consider Your Needs and Requirements
In choosing the right translation agency, it is essential to take your needs and your audience's needs into consideration.
You must determine what content needs to be translated, how fast you need them translated, and how much you are willing to spend on translation services while considering the required quality output.
You'll also need to consider what languages you must translate and what subject matter expertise you need.
If you need clarification on any of these factors, it is best to consult a translation professional who can assess your needs and recommend the best course of action. Trying to save money by choosing a less expensive service may end up costing you more in the long run if the quality of the translation is poor – which is another factor that showcases the importance of translation in business.
However, depending on what you need translation for, a cheaper option might be the most appropriate. That's why LEXIGO offers a number of price points with the recommended use case so you can easily decide on what you need.
At the end of the day, following our 17 tips should help you narrow your choices and decide on a translation partner with your interests at heart.