How can you get the most value out of your translations?

So you want to go global? Maybe you are already global and need your website translated, or perhaps some contracts for office space in another country, or it could be you even have some international talent and you need to review qualifications and cover letters in another language. Where do you begin? How do you start things off right?
By this point, most companies realize that an online machine translation is probably not going to give them the level of quality and accuracy they need for making important business decisions. Smart businesses recognize that now is the time to develop a partnership with a top notch language service provider (LSP). The question then becomes– “How do I start this process and how can I be sure that I’ll get the best value out of my translations?”

Look at the chart – where do you fall? Everyone’s goal is to be right where budget, timing and quality all come together and meet in perfect harmony. How can you be sure you are best positioned to make sure your partnership falls in that area?

It’s all about communication, planning and a little bit of research. These are the key things to keep in mind:

1. What are you trying to accomplish with these translations? : As with many business ventures, keeping your goals in mind helps streamline and focus the process. Translations may seem like a small administrative task to simply get done, but it actually contains the voice, messaging, and branding that is supposed to connect with your audience. Knowing your goals and what you’d like to achieve in the work will direct your translation provider in choosing the right people for the job who will give the text the proper tone and style.

2. How are you reaching those goals? : What processes do you currently have in place to reach your goals? Where do translations fit in this process? Are these translations one small piece of a big puzzle you’re working on? Or is international expansion a key initiative for your business and these translations are at the forefront of gaining access to a global market? Think about your process for completing the initiative and it will become more clear where translations fit within the steps and how high a priority they should be. It will also help you plan your budget and timing to complete them.

3. What impacts your decision making process? : As drawn up in the image diagram, everyone wants to be in the middle where cost, quality, and timing converge. The reality of most situations is that you can only choose two of three. What is most important to you? Fast and cost-effective? High-quality and budget conscience? Fast and exact? Make sure you communicate with your provider where your priorities lie.

4. What factors will come into play when choosing your translation provider? : Beyond the product itself, what other factors are you considering? The industry is such that many companies are free to share the same linguists and can provide comparable quality, pricing, and timing. What is most important to you in choosing the right LSP? Is it 24/7 service? Having someone down the street who will walk into your office at a moment’s notice to fully understand your work? Global offices? Industry experience and customer service? Professional and industry certifications for quality standards and procedures? You industry, your goals, and your priorities will determine which of these factors should be considered. Some of these may be dictated by regulatory requirements, and some may be personal preference, but not all translation companies will have the same characteristics or priorities.

5. What did you like and not like about previous translation work? : Communicating any issues with a previous translation service let’s your new provider know exactly how they can make sure not to let those issues happen again. Regardless of what the situation was, be sure to communicate any problems and keep previous translations on hand to show examples.

We hope you now have some food for thought the next time you have a need for translation services. Best of luck!