Every translator truly dedicated to their work loves absolutely every aspect of it. Yes, that’s a lie! Let’s be serious now. There are specific situations that will make your translation provider love their job and you, the client, to pieces.
There are, however, some occasions that will make them not as fond of you, or the work they have to do for you. There are certain ways that the clients impact the work of their translation companies, and in result, impact their content translation outcome.
This article will provide the tips to make your collaboration with a translation company a successful one. After all, you want to meet your time-to-market.
In all 15 years of our experience in the translation and localization industry, one of the most frequently asked questions is about turnaround time for content translation.
And that is understandable.
When you are chasing your own deadlines for your international product release, product information introduction, marketing campaigns or multilingual websites waiting to be launched, you want your content translated as soon as possible.
But does your translation provider know how urgent it is?
Do you always make sure to let them know when the next ultra-urgent project is coming up? This is one of the situations that translation providers simply detest: Not being informed that there will be a massive and urgent project before it comes up.
A little heads up is always helpful and here’s why:
Just as you have to plan your product development, content creation and publication, website design and launch, translation companies have to plan their work as well.
It means assigning appropriate resources for your content, setting up the best workflows, deciding on the approach, and making sure you have all your bases covered.
So, if you don’t give any heads up to your translation agency, you risk delaying your localization project.
You want the localization process to go as smoothly as possible to enable you to enter new markets without any delay, and with flawless multilingual content.
It’s a lie that translation providers love absolutely every minute of their job. It’s not a lie, however, to say that they love to see their work help you succeed. Who doesn’t love a success story in their life?
If you fail to include your translation company, they can get riled. Not because they have all this work to do and won’t be able to manage. It's because you might not successfully enter the new markets if your content translation is delayed.
This will cause you frustration, and your localization partners too. This is a no-win situation.
It is always a good idea to let them know a bit sooner than at the 11th hour that something is coming up. They will be able to allocate the resources, the project manager, book the time, and make sure that when you’re ready, the project will kick off at the full speed from minute one.
You might not have all the data right off, but at least remember to ask the important question: Are you able to handle such a project <enter here a short description of basic data like language, number of words, whatever you might have>?
This will be an indicator for your translation company that something might be happening soon. They will also be able to not only prepare, but to let you know what they need from you in order to make sure the project goes smoothly.
Related content: 6 Tips on Preparing Your Content for Translation
You want your multilingual content produced through smooth processes, and workflows, with fast turnaround time and impeccable quality. Your translation company wants the same for you. In order for them to be able to deliver this full package, they need clear information and full collaboration on your part.
One of the very important aspects of a perfect translation partnership is knowing a bit about sending files for translation, like what types of files are best and what to check before sending them.
And no, you don’t have to become an expert in the files-for-translation-department. Your localization company will make sure that you know enough to avoid the trouble, like delays in the delivery of your multilingual content.
Here are some quick tips:
If you send a scanned document for translation, your localization company’s resources will have to convert it into an editable file format (Word, Excel, IDML and so on).
Scans are not compatible with CAT tools (Computer Assisted Translation tools). In order for the translator or the translation provider to be able to work on it efficiently, and deliver quality translation, the files will have to be recreated into PDF (to ensure the layout remains untouched) and then from PDF to the editable format. Do you know the number of steps and the amount of time needed for this?
This means additional costs and higher levels of stress when the translation is delayed. And how does it impact your partnership with a translation company? A translation agency worth their salt actually cares about delivering the translation in a smooth and swift process.
Like your brand, they also work on their brand’s reputation and delivering the best customer experience. When your translation is delayed due to wrong file formats, their internal resources may be blocked from working on other projects in order to help yours reach the finish line. This may and probably will cause stress, frustration, delays, and unhappy clients and their translation companies.
If the scanned files are the only way that your content can be sent, then please make sure that the copy is of the highest quality possible. The document has to be legible, without any sentences cut off, and so on.
Again, if you send a file for translation that a translator or translation company will have to convert into an editable file before the localization process starts, you risk paying more, and wasting your time.
And it is also important to remember that converting PDFs has an impact on the quality of the original document. As a result, this might cause discrepancies when it comes to the translation process and quality.
If you plan on introducing your product, or any type of content, and to meet your time-to-market goals, make sure you do everything by the book from the start. This includes the pre-translation preparations.
If you are unable to send editable file formats, make sure you discuss this with your translation provider and see how it can be managed in your best interest.
Does the title hurt your eyes like it does mine? Good. It means grammar checks are not a lost cause for everyone. When you send files for translation, they have to be flawless. This will prevent any misinterpretation of the content at the translation stage.
Before you begin working with your translation agency, do you sit down and discuss all the aspects of this partnership?
Sending files with a message saying: Please translate this into German, Japanese and French is not enough.
Are there any style guides involved?
Is there a glossary to be used?
What languages/language versions do you want to translate your content into?
Do you have a certain deadline that your translation company should know about?
There are so many bases to cover before a translation process kicks off.
And what the translation companies really want to avoid is being kept in the dark about the key information regarding the translation projects. They are, after all, the ones that should be in the loop on details relating to the content that you send for translation.
This, again, will help you as well. The less information you forget to pass on to the translation company, the smoother the process will be.
During the translation project, if anything goes differently than you expect, and you fail to talk about it to your translation provider, it can impact your translation as well.
Make sure you communicate clearly, regardless of whether the message is positive feedback or a negative comment. Clear and honest communication at every stage of the translation project is the key to delivering the perfect quality translation on time, in order for you to use it to help you grow your business.
People at the translation company have many skills: Project management skills, linguistic flair, understanding of the market and customers’ needs, and more. What they will never be able to do is read your mind.
So, make sure you articulate all your concerns, questions or dissatisfaction at any given stage of the translation process, to eliminate the risk of misunderstandings that may lead to delays and judgement errors on the translation provider’s part. You will also avoid wasting your translation budget.
You can be sure that they will adhere to the same code of conduct
Don’t you just hate it when your client is a know-it-all?
In the age of Internet, people are able to educate themselves on almost anything. But there are limits.
If you knew absolutely everything about medicine (from Internet and books), why would you need the doctor?
If you think that your knowledge of translation aspects is complete, why would you need a translation provider at all?
This seems obvious and yet, there are times that clients constantly ignore the translation company’s advice. And it’s not that they hate being ignored, they know it’s not personal.
It’s just that we know that when the clients take good advice on translation processes, localization tools, approach, choice of languages for translation, or files under consideration, they save a lot of time. And time is money, of course.
If your translation company sends you educational information regarding translation review done by your internal resources and how it should be done, why not listen to them? When you trust your content to them, why not trust their expertise and knowledge in these aspects too?
Or, if your translation company has the data to support the advice on which languages would be best for your brand to target first, why not take it?
Entering new markets should never be done with blinders. That seems obvious. And hearing the actual advice from your translation company is like taking a world tour with a guide; there’s no risk of getting lost or doing something that will put you in harm’s way.
Collaboration, based on partnership and listening to what the other party has to say, ensures a smoother translation process, better quality, and you meeting global markets conditions in time to succeed.
When your sales or marketing people are assigned translation review and have to do that instead of doing what pays their bills, it’s a straight path to disaster.
It’s Google-translated! (what follows is: Let me rewrite it from scratch – and without consulting the source text). Nobody is happy with getting additional work and not being paid for it. Such review is just the unending vent for frustration laid upon the translation provider.
Related content: 6 Reasons Your Team Fails in Translation Quality Review
Another case in point, very similar, is checking if the translation is correct by back translating in Google Translate.
Again, it happens all the time in businesses of all sizes, where there is a budget for content creation, and even a budget for translation. But when it comes to finalization of the high-visibility content, guerilla tactics come in to play.
We once heard from a client: We’ll have more budget for hiring localization staff, just to learn soon after that they had hired more sales and marketing people to assign additional translation review work, on top of their normal duties.
A real-life example: A top audio technology company’s marketing director ordered a translation of a brochure. Their exact words were: Usually my engineers do it, but they suck at it. We sent the translation back and the feedback was: It’s no good – Google-translated!
Being in the top 5 of global localization companies specializing in this client’s industry, we’d never allow going below a certain high level of quality, so of course we asked the important question: Can we talk to the reviewer(s)?
It turned out that it was reviewed by the very same engineer that the boss spoke of when seeking our help. Some could see that in terms of self-sabotage.
As with business partnership, it’s always about customer satisfaction. But customer satisfaction starts with the customer’s will to cooperate fully with their translation company.
If you want your translation project to kick off as planned, proceed at full speed and at the best quality possible, then the effort is not just on the translation provider’s part.
Do everything that is necessary on your end to enable your translation company to deliver perfect translations on time, and enjoy watching your multilingual content win the global markets.