Professional Translation Company Selection

In the previous blog titled 5 Most Important Factors in Document Translation, we discussed the factors to consider for document translation before you select a professional translation company. We argued that price, although important, should not be the sole factor in the equation.

Here, we list a few more important factors to consider once the first 5 are met:

1- Coordinating in-country feedback. Translation efforts are a two‐way street between all stakeholders like developers, authors, translators, reviewers, localizers, and in-country end-users. Does your professional translation company offer a collaboration portal that facilitates teamwork among all stakeholders? Or do they leave you to your means and limited resources to secure needed input from your in-country staff and ensure accurate translations?

2- Building a glossary. We talked in the previous blog about the importance of leveraging previous translations and the use of Translation Memory tools to do so. But a translation memory is only one asset that is needed to ensure full consistency and accuracy. The other critical one is the Terminology Database, or glossary. Will your professional translation company build a lexicon in all languages they translate into for you over time and host them? Do they offer a terminology database portal that can make this lexicon securely available to all who need it, including your partners that integrate their products and services with yours?

3- Maintaining the translation and terminology databases. Building translation assets is very important. Maintaining them is just as important! When changes take place to the target languages due to feedback from users or reviewers, a process should be in place to apply these changes not only to the target files, but also to the translation and terminology databases. Otherwise, changes will vanish in the next update when data is leveraged from obsolete or incomplete databases.

4- Expanding the team of translators. As your requirements evolve and expand, you need a professional translation company behind you to support and attend to these requirements. This often requires adding more translators to the translation team, optimizing their performance and quality, enhancing their know-how of your product and requirements, ensuring continuity in the style and terminology, and augmenting language offerings as you need it when targeting a larger international audience.

5- Anticipating your needs. This is where the good separates from the great. A great professional translation company will anticipate your needs, plan for them and ensures that they are met with every project. How do you know the good from the great? Just ask them if they survey their clients each year and what the results are. You want 95% or higher success rate in meeting quality, budgets and schedules.

There are many other factors that may be important to you based on your needs, like ISO certifications, specialized technical or language requirements, or perhaps unique schedule requirements. But overall, once the 10 factors discussed in this and the previous blog are covered, a few will stand out from the crowd. At this point, you should be in a good shape to initiate price negotiations. Just keep in mind, quality comes at a cost justified by its dividends—lower liability exposure, fewer support calls, wider product use, and satisfied clients!

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One Comment

  1. I found your blog on the topic above and wanted to see if you might be interested in writing about a Certificate program at the University of Washington on the topic of Localization. It’s a program which is available both in the classroom and online and we’re trying to get the word out among key bloggers within this community.

    Would you be interested in participating in a conference call with other bloggers to learn more about the program? As program director I would participate as well as some faculty members from the program so you could learn more about this certificate during the call. We can also provide you with some useful content that you might fine helpful in writing a piece about the program. Lastly, if you have colleagues or fellow bloggers that you know about who you recommend we should include, please feel free to let us know.
    Thanks very much for considering this request.
    Erik

    Erik Bansleben, Ph.D.
    Program Development Director, Academic Programs
    UW Professional & Continuing Education
    ebansleben@pce.uw.edu
    206-221-6243

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