The correct translation of legal documents, attractively written website or easily understandable manuals are all important to the success of your business.
If you need an adequate translation of your documents, you will most likely consult a search engine first. It will return hundreds or even thousands of results. But how do you find the proverbial needle in the haystack?
The first impression
Once you start opening the links, spend some time on the company's website. Does it look trustworthy? Does it offer enough information? It may sound trivial but people are often interested only in the price, and do not investigate further.
There is a number of basic factors that may give you an idea of whether the company is a serious one:
Does the company provide contact information including the address of its offices, or some background information?
Does it provide an adequate and clear description of its services?
What is its website like? Did you notice any typos or grammar errors? If the overall appearance is poor, it is most likely that it will approach your texts in the same way.
Can you find any other mention of the company online other than its own website?
Is it a member of international associations or translation unions?
Is it active on social networks, writes blog posts, articles and shares useful information?
Find out what other clients did the company work for. The information can usually be found directly on the website but you can also ask the company for references. Don’t forget to check authentic customer reviews at Google or on social networks. It's also useful to ask your friends or acquaintances for recommendations.
Of course, certificates are not always guaranteed proof of quality and a professional approach, but they will certainly tell you a bit more about the company.
Usually, we see two types of certification when working with translation companies. The first one is the ISO 9001 quality management system certification. Its focus is systematic quality assurance of the received translations, regular assessment of the work of translators, and the collection of feedback from customers.
Another type of certification is ISO 17100. This standard defines strict qualification requirements for translators, project managers, technical equipment and information security that the company must follow.
The range of services
Would you like to fully focus on your business and entrust the whole translation process, including the minute details, into capable hands? Is your aim to receive a final document that can be used without the need for further edits?
A professional translation company offers comprehensive services — translation from and to any global language, software localization, complete DTP, transcreation, subtitling, interpreting etc.
The choice of translators
Most translation companies collaborate with external translators. A professional translation company puts strong emphasis on its choice of translators. The selection process itself may have several rounds: testing of language skills, knowledge of specialized terminology, technical skills and experience of the translators.
After you have whittled down your choice of translation companies to a handful, it's the right time to request quotes. What else can you learn about the company?
How quickly did you get a response to your request? Was it within an hour, or was it the next day? Did the company explain its services thoroughly enough? Did it offer several options? Did it ask about the output format?
Some questions asked by the company may seem unnecessary, but to get a translation of really high quality, it's necessary to make your expectations clear.
If the company asks about things like the purpose of the translation, its target group or required terminology, it suggests that it genuinely wants to provide a translation that you will be satisfied with.
The legendary trio: quick – cheap – good
Everyone talks about them, but nobody ever saw the trio get together in one place. It is because you can usually only choose two of the three. Why?
A good translation needs time
Translators are people like everyone else and they have their limits. The standard output of a translator is about 8 to 10 standard pages (about 2,000 to 2,500 words) per day. So if you need a translation of 30 standard pages and the translation company states that it will be done within 24 hours, there is something fishy there. You do not need to be a mathematician to calculate that one translator would need at least three days to complete the job. In this case, the text would most certainly be translated by several translators, which may have a negatively effect on the translation.
Do not get carried away by swift completion times. Although there are situations when you need a rush translation, it is important to make sure that the translation company informs you about the possible risks.
The price is not everything
The time, knowledge and experience of the best translators will certainly be reflected in the price. A translation that is too cheap should sound alarm bells. The low price is often only a tool to attract new clients. Be careful with the prices “starting at...”.
The translation may be cheap if it is prepared by a person with insufficient qualifications or without a professional background. In other cases, the text is machine-translated (e.g. using Google Translate) and is only post-edited.
If you're lucky enough, such translations only result in complaints and the correction of errors. However, those less lucky need to have their text translated again, which is not only financially demanding, but also time-consuming and stressful.
The quality of the translation
You certainly don't need to work with the priciest companies. Think about the intended audience and the purpose that it should fulfil.
If you only need a translation of a letter or invoice for informative purposes, you can ask a student or a friend for help, or even use an online translation tool. You will save money and the small inaccuracies will not affect your understanding of the essence of the text.
However, if you need to promote your product or service abroad, you should turn to professionals. They will recommend necessary services such as revision or proofreading.
A good-quality translation directly influences the success of your business. That is why you should spend enough time choosing a reliable provider of translation services.