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How to choose a translation company
By: Link Translation
Although there are as many different service sets in the LSP industry as there are providers, it’s possible to draw a fairly consistent line between the true LSP and a service (or individual) who concentrates solely on translation. For a start, working with an LSP puts you in command of an entire team of dedicated professionals who will work to make you and your company better understood.
Using one-off translators
Of course, your company might not need extensive localisation services right now. If your only multicultural issue is preparing a single document for use in a foreign language, it’s tempting to meet your requirements by hiring a piecework translator. This could be a large translation company or an individual freelancer. (You’d be surprised at the number of major corporations that have relied on solitary translators to handle their work!)
This translation method comes with significant risks. Although you can do your best to guarantee the quality of the individual translation by vetting your translator carefully, there’s nothing you can do to establish consistency over time. What happens when your next translation job is carried out by a completely different translator? (This can happen with large service companies as well as with individuals.) It will be impossible for your company to develop a consistent tone in your new market.
The beauty of working with an LSP is that most of the quality firms in this industry are highly flexible in the way they respond to your needs. Even if your current needs are minimal, establishing a long-term relationship with an LSP ensures a consistently high level of service. Your LSP can always expand the team working for you as your requirements grow more complex.
If you are making a major push to establish your organization in a new country, sticking with one LSP is also a good idea because your provider can customize a team to address the specifics of your industry. It’s quite common for LSPs working major contracts to bring in native-speaking specialists in your own field to provide even better translation and localisation services.
Choose a translation firm that offers you a single point of contact who will be on hand to discuss your requirements throughout the translation process, be this by phone or email. Avoid companies that simply want to take your raw content and provide a translated version without ongoing discussion. The translation of your content should be a fluid, collaborative process from start to finish.
You should also look for a firm that has the scope to adapt to your deadlines, offer a fast turnaround and manage several different projects at the same time, especially if you have content that needs to be translated on a regular basis. Although size isn’t everything, translation firms that operate at scale will typically have the staff and resources required to adapt to their clients’ needs more efficiently than smaller companies.
Being able to speak a language is no guarantee that an individual will make a good translator. This is why you should retain a firm that only uses qualified mother-tongue linguists with knowledge of your target dialect. Making sure that your translation agency only uses proven and fully-referenced linguists who have a track record of never failing to meet deadlines will also be vital.
Check that the translation company you use offers translators with sector-specific experience. If you need a technical document translated fast, you’ll need an agency that has a translator with knowledge of your industry on its books. Selecting a firm that has a large and diverse pool of linguists available will make this more likely.
At Link Translation, although 95% of the initial translation work is done by outside freelance personnel (so that we're able to perfectly match a linguist with a document's language pair AND subject matter), all material comes back through our office to undergo our multistage QC process. This QC process includes multiple levels of editing and proofreading. For interpreting assignments, our in-house staff remains involved every step of the way, keeping both interpreter and client informed and remaining available to take care of any last-minute issues or problems.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to the translation industry. You’ll be able to go onto some websites and find translation services for next to nothing, but these will typically be of dubious quality. When using an agency, you’ll be paying for a certain service level, but this doesn’t mean you should have to shell out more than you need to. When looking for a translation firm, seek out an agency that is willing to price-match its competitors, even if it is at the top of its game.
At Link Translation, our pool consists of more than 200 qualified professional translators and interpreters. Each of them additionally has background in a specific technical discipline or disciplines.
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