Studies have shown that over 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a site written in their own language, so if you’re looking to reach new audiences, you really need to consider translation as part of your marketing strategy. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — if you’re going to do it properly, though, you really need to look into working with a translation partner. But as with any partnership, you can run into challenges when choosing the right agency to work with.
Unfortunately, if you choose the wrong translation partner, you could face several significant issues. From missed deadlines and poor-quality translations, to cultural misunderstandings and legal issues, the list of things that could go wrong is endless — and scary. To save you time and frustrations, we’ve compiled this list of tips to help you choose the right translation partner for you and your projects.
Assess their expertise and experience
When it comes to choosing a translation partner, you want to make sure they really know their stuff. After all, you don’t want to end up with a translation that sounds like it was done by Google Translate or worse, a translation that gets you into deep water with your clients — or even the law. That’s why it’s so important to choose a translation partner with relevant expertise and experience in your industry, target language, and type of content.
But this isn’t enough, because not all translations are created equal. Different types of content require different skills and knowledge from linguists. For example, marketing translations need to be catchy and persuasive, legal translations must be accurate and compliant, and technical translations should be clear and precise. For example, you wouldn’t want a translator who specialises in medical translations (ie. copy must be accurate and clear-cut) to translate your website, which should be engaging and compelling.
To evaluate the expertise and experience of a translation partner, you can check their portfolio, testimonials, certifications, awards, and any other credentials they have. This will give you an idea of their track record and reputation in the translation industry. And while this information is likely to be easy to find on their website, make a point to ask about their experience in your industry within the first discovery call.
Evaluate their quality assurance processes
Quality assurance is not something you want to skimp on when it comes to translation. Your translations need to be accurate, consistent, and readable, not full of errors, inconsistencies, or confusing grammar. Quality assurance (QA) can prevent many problems that could damage your reputation, such as typos, mistranslations, cultural blunders, and formatting issues. QA can also ensure that your translations meet the expectations and needs of your clients — or stakeholders.
But how do you know if a translation partner has good quality assurance processes? You can ask them about their proofreading methods, quality control tools, feedback practices, and any other measures they take to ensure the quality of their translations. Ask them if they use native speakers, professional editors, CAT tools, and style guides. Customer satisfaction surveys are also very useful when it comes to adapting internal processes, so find out if and how often the agency sends them out.
For example, our QA process has been honed over years to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. We have a team of talented proofreaders and editors who comb through the text, highlighting any errors or inconsistencies before sending the content to the client. And even once the client has received and checked the copy, our linguists are on hand to edit or tweak the text based on the feedback received.
Compare their prices and value
When it comes to choosing a translation partner, you might be tempted to go for the cheapest option. After all, who doesn’t like to save money? But be careful, because low prices can sometimes mean low quality or bad service. You don’t want to end up with a translation that is poorly done, delivered late, or causes you more problems than solutions. That’s why you need to look beyond price and consider the value of a translation partner.
Value is not just about how much you pay, but also about what you get for your money. A good translation partner will offer you more than just words, but also a range of benefits that can make your life easier and your business more successful. For example, a good translation partner will offer you fast turnaround time, flexibility to accommodate your needs, regular contact touch points over the course of the project, and additional services such as localization, proofreading, or desktop publishing.
To compare the prices and value of different translation partners, you can request quotes from several providers and review their proposals carefully. Look at what they include (and exclude) in their quotes, and how they justify their prices. Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms and ask for discounts or extras if you think they are reasonable. Just remember that the cheapest option is not always the best option, and that sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more for a better service, a more engaged PM team and high-quality output.
Communicate your expectations and requirements
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and that includes your relationship with your translation partner. You want to make sure that you and your translation partner are on the same page when it comes to your expectations and requirements. This will help you avoid misunderstandings, delays, errors, and dissatisfaction.
Communication can help you clarify many aspects of your translation project, such as deadlines, formats, style guides, glossaries, feedback loops, and more. By communicating these clearly — and in advance — you can ensure that your translation partner understands your needs and delivers accordingly. You can also communicate any changes or updates that may occur during the project, and keep track of the progress of your translations.
Effective communication with your translation partner is simple: clear and concise language. By using straightforward and no-nonsense language, you’ll ensure that your message gets across loud and clear. But that’s not all! Detailed instructions are key. Don’t be afraid to spell out exactly what you need. And if you’re unsure about something or need some clarification, just ask! Questions are your best friend in this collaboration.
Now, let’s talk feedback. Whether you’re happy or unhappy with the results, don’t keep it to yourself! Let your translation partner know. Positive feedback goes a long way in boosting their confidence, and constructive criticism helps them improve. It’s a win-win. It’s also important to confirm how you’ll communicate. Email, phone, chat, video call — you name it, you can use it! There are so many ways to connect with your translation partner. Your discovery call is the best time to discuss how you’ll communicate and what tool is best for all involved.
But remember, the most important thing is to keep the communication flowing. Regular and respectful interaction is the key to success.
Finding the perfect translation partner may seem like a daunting task, but fear not! It’s a decision that can make or break your success. Why settle for anything less than a partner who can deliver accurate, consistent, and culturally-relevant translations that exceed your expectations? With a professional and reliable translation partner by your side, you’ll not only save time and money but also enhance your reputation, reach new customers, and watch your business grow.
But that’s not all. A good translation partner can also help you navigate the treacherous waters of content translation. Say goodbye to errors, delays, misunderstandings, and legal issues.
So, what are you waiting for? Take the leap and choose a translation partner that will take your business to new heights.
Whether you need to translate a website, a brochure, a blog post, or any other type of content, we can help you achieve your translation goals. Contact Managed Language today for more information or a quote for your translation projects. You won’t regret it!
Original article by Silviya Belachen in June 2021, updated by Abigail Cox in July 2023.