5 Most Important Factors in Document Translation

document translation servicesOn a daily basis our sales team gets requests for quotes where the deciding factor is often based only on price. In a soft economy as the one the U.S. is going through right now, everyone can appreciate the importance of keeping budgets and expenses in check. But should price be the sole factor to consider when evaluating multiple bids?

There are many important factors to consider for document translation before you choose your translation provider. Here are 5 of them:

1- Will the process allow for efficient future leveraging of your translation? Many vendors discount the word rate, but then charge over and over again for the translation of the same string when future updates are required. Make sure that your vendor is using the latest translation memory/database enabling tools and that they are not charging you for repeat or overcharging on fuzzy matches. Costs can vary by 30-50% if an incorrect process or tools are used during follow up projects.

2- Are professional translators with subject matter expertise being used on your project? Not everyone that knows the source and target languages can act as a translator and machine translation is far from achieving desired results. The quality of the work will vary greatly based on the experience level of the translator. Check with the vendor to make sure that professional translators are being used and the team of translators used can be engaged in follow up projects to maintain continuity and consistency. Using the wrong translator can cost you dearly!

3- Is the vendor including a secondary review cycle? Document translation can take place by one translator, but quality is better achieved when another set of eyes reviews the full source against the target. Make sure your vendor is involving a second translator in the process (the editor or reviewer) and that the full source is checked against the full target. Often vendors bypass this step or include a cursory check. Difference in cost can add up to 25% of the total.

4- Will professional desktop publishing be done on your document? Document translation often results in 20-50% more text creating prolonged pages, truncated table columns, orphan bullets and widow paragraphs. Translated documents always require professional desktop publishing, particularly before sending to print. GlobalVision has a 30 point check list that we apply on every document before release. Spending a few dollars per page after translation can possibly save you tens of thousands of dollars in reprint and reshipping costs!

5- Will you have access to a dedicated project manager with access to the latest translation management system technology that will ensure that your project is delivered on budget, on schedule and based on predetermined quality expectations on every project? Chose a vendor that employs professional project managers and the latest translation management portal solutions that can assist them with their tasks. Also, check their success rates. A vendor that delivers on budget, on schedule and based on required quality criteria 95%+ of the time may be worth an extra look.

There are many other important factors when document translation is involved that we will address in the next blog. They encompass coordinating in-country feedback, building a glossary, maintaining the translation database, expanding the team of translators and anticipating every requirement you may have before you even think of it. Stay tuned.

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