Savvy business owners know that the world is one big marketplace these days, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is clear on how to tap into the vast opportunities beyond their domestic market. One of the keys to unlocking that door is to translate your content, which can provide a significant boost to a company’s global visibility at a reasonable cost. It’s important to possess the requisite knowledge for choosing a reputable language services provider, however—and with that in mind, here are some of the most important things to consider as you project your business out across the world.
1. Determining Scope and Scale
Different clients will have different needs in this regard, but the general idea is that if you don’t have a gigantic trove of text to translate covering several potentially unrelated areas of expertise, then you can afford to hire a smaller translation supplier. That option becomes less advisable when scope and scale creep upward, or when you’re interested in translating into lots of target languages, because you necessarily require the services of a larger operation with the necessary resources on hand.
2. Internationally Recognized Quality Standards
Just as you would look for diplomas on the wall at your doctor’s office, search for proof of strong quality management practices in any language services provider you work with. Translation projects often have many moving parts—translators, editors, project managers, etc.—and human error can crop up even among the most disciplined and talented of teams. Companies that possess stringent certifications, such as ISO 9001, among others, have proven that they go the extra mile to ensure their deliverables meet the highest standards—and that translates to peace of mind for the customer.
3. Human Capital
There is much ado about machine translation nowadays, but we still live in a world where high-quality translations are, almost without exception, the product of human translators. Take some time to ensure that you’re sending your documents to a team of qualified translators and, moreover, that they possess expertise in your particular field.
Not everything you send out to be translated is necessarily intended for public consumption. Hence, just as you go to pains to protect your customers’ sensitive information, you should only strike up a business relationship with a translation supplier that is willing to commit to serious confidentiality restrictions.
5. Complementary Services
Translation is often just one step in a larger process. Do yourself a favor and find a company that lets you consolidate as many services as possible into a single supplier, whether it’s desktop publishing, subtitling, localization, etc.
6. Robust Customer Support
Between any team of talented linguists and a happy client, there must be a human bridge in the form of a project manager or account manager, or both. Your needs may evolve as a project advances, circumstances could change, clarifications might be in order, and if you don’t have a dedicated support mechanism in place, you’ll surely come to regret it.
7. Strong Client References
Don’t take everything a prospective provider tells you at face value; rather, get it straight from the horse’s mouth in the form of verifiable client references and testimonials. They really do speak for themselves.