My translation company has to be from my country and from my time zone, otherwise, the translation process is ineffective.
This is a statement we have heard multiple times. Do translation quality and efficiency really depend on time zones and geography?
As much as they can be important factors, there are other things that impact your content translation process. One of them is communication between you and your translation company, as well as communication within the translation agency itself.
In 15 years of working with multiple clients all over the world, we have heard stories from some of them about changing from their previous translation providers because of lack of proper communication.
This article is here to list 6 main problems coming from lack of clear and consistent communication. This will help you ensure that your content is in the right hands and that no communication issues will delay your international growth.
One of the major problems arising from ineffective communication between the translation agency and the client is a delayed translation project.
Translation companies offer a variety of services to their clients. All of these services require a slightly different approach and management. Therefore, in order to provide high-quality service, it is important for translation agencies to determine specific project requirements with the client.
Related content: How to Reduce Turnaround Time for Content Translation
These specifications usually concern deadlines, glossaries, formatting, reference materials, choice of CAT tools, and integrating your system with the translation management software. The last one is especially important as it is there to save you time and money and speed up your multilingual content creation.
The more information established at the beginning, the better the project workflow. However, lack of the above-mentioned details may cause delay in delivery.
Imagine a situation where you request a large translation project.
Your website needs to be localized into multiple languages including Serbian and Spanish, but language varieties are not specified. That means that the translation provider is not sure whether your target audience is people from Spain or Mexico, or which Serbian alphabet should be applied, Latin or Cyrillic. The project is already in progress.
Unfortunately, the possible outcome of this scenario may cause a considerable delay in the project. For example, if it suddenly comes to light that the target audience is from Mexico and not Spain, or the alphabet should be Latin not Cyrillic, the process of preparing the project starts over from the beginning. Accordingly, the initial deadline needs to be changed to provide the best translation quality possible for the multilingual website.
Related content: 6 Tips on Preparing Your Content for Translation
Fortunately, when you collaborate with an experienced translation company, even though you may forget to specify details regarding your content translation, they will ask questions to make sure nothing is lost in translation.
Another possible problem resulting from poor communication may be additional costs.
As it has already been mentioned, lack of crucial details may affect translation project management and cause delays. However, delays or other unexpected changes may also result in additional costs.
Related content: 5 Ways That Translation Companies Cause You to Overspend
The Purchase Order is one of the most crucial aspects of every project. It should be confirmed as soon as the project starts. It is important both for the client and the translation agency to know the budget. Unfortunately, poor communication may affect that considerably.
For example, it may happen that project specifications are not clearly stated, or they are changed significantly during the localization process. In extreme cases, this may lead to starting the project over from the beginning. Sadly, it almost always involves additional costs.
The potential expenses may include for instance finding new linguists who are specialists in a particular field, or preparing the files based on the updated guidelines.
Additionally, the lack of mutual understanding between the client and the translation service provider may result in postponing the release of a new product, service, or an important advertising campaign that is to be localized.
From the client’s point of view, it is the worst-case scenario, as it often reduces competitiveness on the market and affects profit.
Apart from delays and additional costs, poor communication may influence the reception of the translated content. This is especially important when it comes to marketing translation.
Related content: Marketing Translation Playbook
Every company entering the global market is aware that their marketing strategies need to be directed to a certain group of people. Translation plays a key role in the process of conveying the message of the source text into target languages.
As easy as it seems, it is an extremely complex task that requires a lot of creative thinking on the linguist’s part. It is therefore crucial to provide as much reference material and information about the context of the content as possible. This can be information related to the audience’s gender, age, education, financial situation, etc.
Related content: 5 Ways You Impact Your Translation Company's Work [Tips & Tricks]
Sometimes clients provide vague and incomplete information. Then the linguists, having limited knowledge, are not able to convey the message of the source text in a way that attracts the audience’s attention. Simply stated, the marketing campaign may become ineffective, once again, resulting from poor communication.
It is also worth paying attention to another significant problem that arises from ineffective communication with your localization company, which is reworking translated documents.
Unclearly established rules or vague product information may result in delayed projects. The necessity to postpone projects involves additional costs and unmet business goals. Additionally, when it occurs that double the work is required on the document, the situation becomes even more problematic.
In order to understand the difficulties arising from reworking documents, it is important to realize how complex and time-consuming project management can be. The whole process involves a number of steps which include:
• Checking clients’ inquiries,
• Analyzing all details and instructions,
• Selecting appropriate teams,
• Monitoring project workflow,
• Ensuring quality.
All these elements need to be carefully planned in order to provide quality content. However, when at some point communication fails and project details are not provided or clearly explained, this multilevel process may need to start over from the beginning.
Of course, managing projects always involves the risk of unexpected situations and every project manager should be ready to face these issues and undertake any necessary actions to avoid delaying translation delivery.
Unfortunately, sometimes taking precautions is not enough, and there is no other way than to start the translation process over. Although, it all depends on the stage at which the problems with communication begin.
For example, when the project is almost finalized and it suddenly becomes clear that not all details were provided by the client, or provided instructions were incorrect, the extent of files to be reworked is high. In this case, project managers should immediately contact the team of linguists who are working on the file and clarify the situation.
It may happen that changes in the project specifications need to be drastically modified and that the same linguists cannot rework the content because their knowledge or expertise is inadequate. Consequently, reworking the files may become more challenging and may even include assembling a new team.
Another problem which is also stems from poor communication between the client and translation agency is lack of available resources.
Clients often want to make sure in advance that their project can be finalized in a timely manner. In order to notify translation companies about their plans and expectations, they send advance notices, also known as heads-up.
The heads-up specifies the timeframe and usually provides a general description of the project. This kind of message is an example of perfect communication between the client and the translation agency. It is extremely valuable information for the project manager because it allows more control on the upcoming project, but also for the client who can be sure that the risk of delayed delivery is minimized.
Unfortunately, this approach is not always applied. Usually, project inquiries are sent projects without advance notice. As much as in the case of the small volume projects with reasonable timeframes and noncomplex instructions it is not essential, it may become problematic when it comes to large translation projects. Especially if the projects require engaging a dedicated team of linguists who are experts in website localization or video translation, for example.
Related content: Do I Really Need to Work With a Translation Vendor Manager?
Without a heads-up it is almost impossible to provide the continuous availability of an approved team. As a result, the content may be translated by different linguists, which can affect the quality of the translation. The files may be translated inconsistently with the previous ones that were completed by the acknowledged specialists.
Lack of advance notice may also cause a situation in which translation agency will not be able to meet the proposed deadline. As a result, your project can be significantly postponed which creates additional issues concerning, for instance, your budget or marketing plans.
It is widely known that proper communication is also of key importance when it comes to building strong business relations. The ability to communicate effectively helps to clearly understand the client’s expectations and requirements.
As a result, the client receives excellent service and is more likely to trust the provider. Unfortunately, communication between the client and the translation service provider may not always be as effective as it should be.
Imagine you need a new software localization. You need a group of linguists who are experts in this field and have worked on similar content before.
You ask for blind CVs in order to decide which linguists are perfect for this type of translation project. After reviewing them, you choose a few preferred linguists and inform the translation company that the translation process should start within a week’s time.
As a result, the project manager reserves all required resources for the project. Unfortunately, time goes by, and a few weeks later there is still no information about the project, no updates.
This situation serves as a perfect example of bad communication which may have a detrimental effect on future business relations. Regardless of any circumstances, it is always important to report any changes to all parties involved. It doesn’t matter whether the project is cancelled or just postponed, everybody taking part in the translation process should be kept in the loop.
Without a properly delivered information, language service providers plan and manage other projects less effectively, which not only creates unnecessary tension but may also lead to mistrust. What is more, if the same scenario is repeated, it may result in the unwillingness to continue cooperating together.
No matter if you have already worked with a translation agency or if are just about to start, it is important to realize how crucial efficient communication is.
All types of business relations depend on maintaining seamless interaction. Therefore, in order to avoid possible risks including, for example, delays, additional costs, or unfulfilled expectations, both the client and the language service provider should communicate clearly.
Any kind of miscommunication may affect not only the final quality of the translated content, but also the relationship itself. Without sharing important data, reporting any changes, or informing the agency of the withdrawal of the project, it is impossible for the relationship to thrive.
A few pointers to remember:
Ask relevant questions, deliver answers, share information, listen to advice, and leave nothing to the linguists’ imagination when it comes to your content translation.
Your international audience will not have to wait for your multilingual content just because there was a miscommunication between you and your localization company. Communicate, translate, launch your multilingual content into the world, and stay ahead of your competition. Good luck.