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November 22, 2019 |

Top 5 Things to Look for When Contracting a Language Services Provider 

As the world continues to become more connected thanks to new technology, the need for language services continues to grow. A business that wants to consolidate its global position needs to communicate in various languages and the only way brands can do this is by contracting a language services provider. 

The myth that all the people that matter speak English can cause companies to miss out on billions of dollars. English still dominates the global stage, but you can’t keep telling yourself that one language is enough to capture the attention of a worldwide audience. 

The collaboration with a professional and reliable translation services provider is vital when looking to go global and expand a company outside national borders. Here are the five things to look for when hiring a language services provider–and why they matter to your brand.

1. Employees

When looking for a language services provider, the first thing you should be looking at is the team responsible for your account. Any business translation project requires several capable translators, preferably who live in the same country as your target audience. 

Make sure you work with people with the right skills and mindset for your business. Look for experts who understand the difference between translation and localization, and are ready to provide you with the type of services that meet your needs and expectations. 

Your language services provider should work with translators who understand the nuances of the original language and have the ability to transmit them into a brand new language. 

2. Specialization

It’s no secret that every industry comes with specific challenges. Depending on the scope of your project, working with a translation services provider that does a bit of everything may slow you down. 

Let’s say you need to launch a new version of your website. You should work with a translation agency that has a proven track-record in localization projects and international SEO. 

On the other hand, if your primary purpose is to prepare your product to achieve compliance in another country, you should be contracting a language services provider specializing in technical translations. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for finding the perfect provider. Ideally, you should look for translators that address narrow niches and are highly-specialized in the sort of projects that you need. 

It becomes even more important when you have to deal with industry-specific requirements or appeal to a very specific target public. The same is true when you operate in a restricted industry, like healthcare or big pharma, where certifications are a must-have for translators.

3. References

When taking your business global, you need more than a word-to-word translation of your documentation. You’ll have to translate many types of content, from contacts and disclosure statements to marketing campaigns and website content. 

You’re looking at a high volume of work that requires the participation of many specialists and language experts. 

What may seem like a standard translation project is usually a long series of tasks meant to make your brand appealing for a new audience and, at the same time, compliant with all local laws. The translation is, in fact, localization and transcreation, which, in many ways, makes it art.

The ultimate purpose is to send the right message to the right people, in local languages, without minimizing your brand voice. As you can see, you’ll have to go through more than a simple transcription of texts from one language to another. You’ll have to work with a team of skilled people who know their job and the local audiences well. 

So, how do you know which language services provider has what it takes for such a project? References can help you to track previous projects and understand how translators work. They also show their past work and whether the translators have done similar projects or not. 

4. Technology

Gone are the times when translators relied exclusively on their language skills and dictionaries. Many translation agencies are currently using CAT tools (computer-assisted translation) to speed up processes and ensure quality and consistency of translations. 

It doesn’t mean that translators no longer pay attention to what they do, nor that you’ll receive an expensive “Google Translate” version of your content at the end of the day.  

Human translators continue to do the hard, creative work. They simply use software to get instant access to terminology and work faster. However, they still put in the work to transmit humor, nuances, brand voice, and adapt the content to specific audiences. Several translators review the final version before it arrives on your desk. 

The advantages of CAT tools are hard to ignore. You get accurate translations in less time with lower cost as translators spend significantly fewer working hours on your project. Ask your translators what tools they use and how these influence the quality of services before making a decision. 

5.  Project Management

Successful translation and localization projects are founded on three essential elements: quality, deadlines, and budget. If you wish to remain on top of all of this, you need a project manager

Whether you translate your content in one or two languages or plan large expansion in multiple countries, you need a cohesive strategy in place to ensure efficiency. Only an experienced manager who understands the ways of going global can help you reach global success. 

When contracting a language services provider, check their project management solutions and see whether they can customize their services to meet your needs. Remember that your global reputation is at stake, so don’t work with a translation agency that expects you to adapt to their workflows.  

Establish a Relationship when Contracting a Language Services Provider

As your company grows, your need for language services will become more pressing. Make sure you choose a company that can support your growth (or potentially grow with you) and build a long-term collaboration. 

Translation projects become easier once translators know your company, your core values, and the characteristics of your audience. By establishing a relationship, you’ll speed up future projects and work better, as translators, localization experts, and project managers are already familiar with your internal processes and specific requirements.