Within the competitive translation industry, how can you identify which providers are worthwhile? How can you translate their promises to evaluate the real value of their services?
It’s important to second-guess what professional translation services are selling. And a good way to do that is to review what your big goals and objectives really are on the global stage. Because it’s not just about having some words translated by end of day.
Where are you really hoping to take your product and your company? And who is going to be a strong and reliable partner to help you get there? It’s important to be able to recognize the red flags up front and, better yet, to know a good language service provider when you see it. The last thing you want is for your company’s immense potential to get lost in translation.
When Professional Translation Services Don’t Measure Up
There are ways to recognize pretty quickly which services to pass up. Be wary if you come across a translator or translation agency that makes everything sound too easy. It probably isn’t an honest expectation, because translation isn’t easy. At the very least, it takes reliable tools to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and consistency with translations. But let’s not also forget the critical need for careful brand and market focus. It’s not about swapping in words to achieve a different language; it’s about reaching a new local audience effectively.
Considering the importance of true and careful translations, it’s a major red flag if a provider will not let you see who is working on your translations. In fact, a lot of translation services couldn’t tell you anyway because they’re farming out translations to smaller companies in each local market, or they use pools of translators and assign projects randomly and inconsistently.
You should expect:
- to see specific quality performance data for each linguist working on your projects
- to have access to the editing and review process
- to track what kinds of changes are being made
If the company is not willing to be transparent about the process, about who is doing your translation, then you should be worried. What is it that they’re hiding? It’s not really worth it to even stick around to find out.
If a translation company treats its translators like interchangeable cogs in a machine, then how can you expect they will treat your projects? These providers are set up for quick and dirty translations, and there continues to be a place for that on the market. This type of translation company might handle internal communications and working documents or a rough test of internationalization. But you probably don’t want to entrust your brand, your UI, and your product’s ultimate potential to them.
You can and should expect real transparency from a language partner with integrity.
When Translation Graduates to Localization
Finding the right translation company is not the end of the story either. Translation is only the most obvious tactic for going global. As you are planning a globalization strategy, many other critical considerations emerge, such as:
- which markets or market segments you are targeting
- which languages
- how to get the localized content to your customers
- how to handle updates
- how international clients will pay for your product or services
- what kind of support they will need
When these issues are addressed holistically, the process is known as localization.
The best professional translation services make up a part of a process that addresses larger goals. By thinking about your global objectives and the potential rewards at the beginning of your project, you can determine what kind of partner you will need, what kind of tech investment you need to make, what resources you need to commit internally, and how you may need to adapt your core business to an international stage. By lining up this Q&A from the start, you’ll have a better idea of the support necessary for a sustainable global strategy.
A committed localization partner will help you map and manage your entire localization ecosystem. This is a partner willing to roll up their sleeves and to really get involved in order to better understand your company and your product. On the engineering front, they are geared up to connect, test, and perfect your content integrations using cutting-edge platform technology.
They are actually interested in saving you time and money by automating tasks wherever possible. And they will ensure that you have consistent editors and the best translators for each unique project. Only then can you expect timely delivery of translations that are consistent in their terminology, voice, and high quality—translations that speak clearly to your local markets. You will be able to integrate solutions across all of your content channels while ensuring transparent engagement with every stakeholder in your organization.
Localization represents a big commitment for both you and your language service provider, a commitment that must be maintained long term. The right localization partner will help you find the set of tools you need and steer you away from mistakes along the way. Interview your localization partner thoroughly before signing a contract. And don’t settle for anything less than your highest global goals.
Bureau Works provides translation as a part of its continuous automated localization services, which also include quality management and technical support. Integrating with our platform ensures efficiency and fast delivery but also linguistic care. Contact our team to find out what we can do to make your localization projects stress-free and successful.
Written by Aaron Schliem
Aaron is the chief marketing officer for Bureau Works. He also loves to tickle the ivories and is a wiz at designing cocktails.