The vast world of translation includes proofreading, editing, reviewing, copywriting, transcreation, localisation, subtitling and transcription. There are a growing number of companies that provide services ranging from niche-market to comprehensive ones. The organisational structure of such companies can quickly become very complicated, which creates a market for untrustworthy companies who are on the market to do no good.
Sometimes, it may be difficult to spot an inadequate company, so we have created a checklist to follow when choosing a company for your multilingual needs, even if it is for a simple job like a one-page document.
1. A Website.
It’s 2021, and many businesses thrive on social media alone. However, the dynamics behind the scenes in the world of translation are more complicated than selling products on Instagram. Social media is the complementary and credibility building tool for a business in translation; reviewing both allows you to decide whether this is the company you would like to work with. A website would usually have the companies the company has worked with, case studies, articles, or blog posts – the ideal content to popularise on social media.
2. Rates! Usually, too good to be true isn’t too good for you.
Overpromising on pricing should be questioned. Depending on the service, the work that a translator can deliver per day has a limit, and a good one will have a specific rate per word, per hour, or per day. As a point of reference, based on an 8-hour day, a highly skilled translator can deliver around 3000 words per day in translation and 5000 when proofreading. These numbers require significant experience, and therefore, the price tag won’t, and it shouldn’t be too low.
However, services like transcreation require more time for fewer words. Think about the taglines, headlines and call to action for your brand. If it took you a while to polish these in the source language (i.e., English), then don’t expect to have them translated in minutes. You want your brand to sound like a local, right?
3. A business email address.
Have you noticed how some companies won’t allow you to access their online content without having a professional email? Many have begun phasing out personal email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail) for business, which is a very sensible move. Anyone can create a Gmail account with their business name – dot – translation at Gmail – dot – com. A personal email isn’t credible. We have come a long way in the 50 years of email, and it is easier than ever to set up a professional email.
4. Legally binding documents.
Why are legally binding documents a necessity?
NDAs, SLAs, JVAs, and other contracts are there to protect you and your business, keeping a healthy professional relationship with the companies you hire as vendors, partner with or onboard as clients.
After you and your business, it is essential to understand the internal processes and how they care about their team and vendors. Depending on the size of your project, knowing the core team, how are the translators, linguists and writers onboarded. Some projects will require sworn translators, another creative copywriter, and third technical linguists. Understanding the recruitment process, the relationship between the translation company and their vendors is crucial.
5. Technology Overpromise
Is the company throwing buzz words like AI, machine learning, fuzzy matching? We have come a long way in technology development, but we aren’t at a place where technology can replace humans yet. We will probably never be at a 100% technology delivered translation that is 100% correct.
Languages evolve, change, move. There are new words introduced to the dictionaries every year. Technology can’t predict the next big hype, how the different generations will adopt it, and how it will affect the language.
On the other hand, technology can be the best option for some projects where budgets are tight or involve file-based requirements.
In conclusion, be open to discuss your needs and wants. Look for a multilingual partner in the translation company and not just a vendor – it will pay back. Be wary of businesses that aren’t transparent, sound too good to be true and promise a price that just doesn’t sound right..