The translation industry has grown immensely over the last decade, and industry reports indicate that it will continue to grow in the future. The internet has given even small businesses access to the global market, and with that access comes the need to provide international customers with information and services in their native languages. Consequently, more and more businesses are in the market for translation services, and more and more language service providers (LSPs) are available to meet their needs.
If your business is looking for a translation supplier for the first time, or if you have had unsatisfactory experiences in the past and want to improve your results in the future, there are a number of factors you will want to consider when making your choice. Here are 7 factors to think about when choosing an LSP:
- Qualified human translators
While machine translation is a hot topic and often viewed as a cost-saving alternative to human translation, it is important to realize that machine translation is not a replacement for a human translator. A language service provider’s core business should be based on a network of qualified human translators and experienced project managers. When choosing a translation supplier, make sure you look for one who works with vetted translators who translate only into their native language. The translation provider should provide information about their selection process if requested.
- One language pair or multiple languages
If you need a translation from one language into only one other language, such as English into German, then you have the option of working with a smaller language service provider who works primarily in that set of languages. However, if you need your materials translated into multiple other languages, you will need to choose a multilingual translation services provider who is able to manage translation projects across a variety of languages.
The internet gives us the chance to work with companies based anywhere in the world. This has led many companies to work with external providers based in India or other countries with lower costs of living in order to cut down on overhead. While cost is certainly an important factor, working with an LSP in or near your time zone can make communication much easier. Rather than waiting a full business day for a response because your translation provider is closed for the evening, you can communicate with local providers in real-time. And as we all know, time is money!
- Quality management processes
Quality assurance is essential for an accurate, coherent translation, especially for larger projects that may be divided up among multiple translators. When choosing a translation agency, you should look for one with a documented quality assurance process that includes editing and proofreading as part of the package. No matter how good an individual translator might be, a second and even third set of eyes is necessary to ensure perfect results across the whole project.
- Service in your native language
The international nature of the translation industry means that most translation suppliers can provide customer service in multiple languages. If you are considering choosing a translation supplier who is not based in your home country, make sure that they are prepared to communicate with you in your preferred language. They should be able to assign you an account manager or project manager who can accommodate you.
- Experience with glossaries and translation memories
If you have larger or more complex translation projects, choose a translation provider who has experience working with glossaries and translation memories. This will ensure that important words and phrases that appear frequently are translated consistently throughout the project. As translation memories can save a great deal of time in translation, they can also lead to a significant reduction in costs.
- Additional services provided
Your needs may go beyond simple translation. With a more complex project, you may need additional services such as transcription, voice over, subtitling, or desktop publishing. If that is the case, then it will likely be worth your time to find a translation provider who can offer all the services you need in one place. It will save you the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors and ensure more consistent results in all aspects of the project.