If you are thinking about translating some of your company assets such as your website, software or technical documentation, there are many factors to consider when picking a translation company. Due to the importance of reaching customers with translated content in today’s global world, you want a good partner who provides high-quality translations within your required turnaround times and budget.
Evaluate a company’s overall capabilities such as language set requirements, the structure and location of the linguists and the types of services they offer.
Plan for the future. If you are considering expanding your language set or translating new assets, make sure you include those languages and assets in your requirements now so that you know the company can handle your growth. If you have any unique assets or requirements, see if the company can work with them.
Finally, explore the company’s expertise in your industry. If they don’t have the expertise, ask how they plan to learn about your industry and products and/or services.
Translation quality is extremely important. Errors, omissions and other mistakes can cost a company clients, money and time. Your content should be translated and localized by a translation company adhering to a process that includes quality assurance. If you have software or a website to translate, does the company offer the proper quality assurance steps throughout the process, and is this process documented and repeatable?
See Software and Website Testing and Website Translation Quality Assurance and Client Review Process for more insight into some final QA steps that should be completed with website or software projects. Seeing the software or website with the translated content is critical to catch functional and cosmetic glitches.
Find out how the company handles a client review. Ideally, you should have a chance to review and approve the content after it has been localized and through the QA process. Your translated assets represent your company, so work with your chosen translation company to establish a solid localization and review process.
If you expect to have a lot of translation work, you really want to have a partnership with a dedicated team who will help you along the way. You want people who can make recommendations, such as process improvements or additional services. Starting your first translation project can be tricky and you will want support and guidance in setting up your terminology, style guide and other requirements.
Your translation company should have a comprehensive onboarding and orientation process for new clients.
It is also important to meet your team whether virtually or in person. Your assigned Project Manager will be key to your partnership, so make sure you spend some quality time with him or her to ensure they are a seasoned professional who can help you throughout the translation process.
Good translations, including the review cycle, take time. Discuss turnaround time requirements with the company for your different assets in order to set expectations. If you regularly have time-critical projects, can the company handle the work? Do they have the right tools and techniques to scope and schedule your translation project? What is their track record for on time delivery?
Of course, price will be a factor. You want to look at each company’s quote and compare them side by side to make sure they are providing identical services. If a line item is left out, it could cost you hours of extra time completing that line item yourself. Companies may name services differently so make sure you understand the terminology and truly compare apples to apples. Price should be only one factor, services, quality and teamwork are just as important.
Translation quality, processes, people and pricing are all very important. You want to select a good translation partner who can accommodate your requirements and provide services that will help reach your global customers. It “takes money to make money” as they say, and you will want to make sure what you pay for is content that is compelling, consistent, cost-effective and culturally correct in order to be successful in reaching global markets.