As with most sectors, the translation and localization sector can be difficult to navigate. At first glance, it seems like all companies offer the same benefits: many language combinations, high-quality work, fast project completion, and competitive pricing. But just like every other sector, businesses in the translation and localization sector actually differ significantly.
How to Find Your Way
First, you have to identify your needs. This sounds obvious, but what does this actually mean in terms of translation and localization? Ask yourself these questions:
- How important is multilingual marketing and communication for my company?
- Is subject matter expertise critical for the documents I need translated, e.g. legal, medical or technical documents?
- How many languages do I need to translate into?
- How important is consistency? Do I mind if my company sounds different in different languages? And what about within one language but across multiple platforms, marketing collateral, and media?
- What is my budget?
Second, decide if you’re looking for one main provider or several providers. Contracting small providers, such as freelancers, works well if your translation needs are minimal, e.g., you’re only looking to get a few documents translated into a few languages. However, for anything larger, using one language service provider has many benefits.
How Do You Want to Spend Your Time and Money?
Would you rather devote several hours to internal project management? Or would you prefer to focus your efforts on running your business so you can earn higher profits? Working with one provider means you’ll only have one contact person. You’ll see the benefits in time and money almost immediately:
- You won’t have to coordinate all the elements of your project yourself, because most of the project management will happen behind the scenes.
- Your provider will give you a clear development path for your project.
- Clear rules for communication will drastically reduce time wasted due to misunderstandings.
- You and your provider will optimize workflows as you continue to work together over time.
Your provider will customize their procedures to work with yours. So instead of coordinating several smaller providers and working with their individual systems, you’ll save both time and money by developing one system that works for both of you.
Think About Your Brand
How do you envision your multilingual documentation? Is it okay if your company sounds different in each language? Or would you like your company to have one voice across multiple languages and cultures? Contracting your own team of translators means your company will likely have a different voice in each language (and maybe even within the same one, if you’ve hired multiple translators for one language). Also, how do you evaluate potential translators? After all, you probably can’t read what they’ve written.
A reputable language service provider vets the translators who work for it, guaranteeing you high-quality work. The single provider will also create translation memories just for your company. This means they’ll keep track of all the translations they do for you and will coordinate terminology for translations. In the end, your company will have the same voice in each target language and will project the image you intended.
Developing a relationship with one provider means you’ll have a partner who’ll get to know your brand well and will develop an in-depth understanding of your communication strategies. The result? You’ll have one international brand, not dozens.
The Short of It
In the end, using one language service provider means a higher ROI. You’ll save time and money, and you’ll be working with people who understand your company. If the language service provider you selected accomplishes these goals to your satisfaction, then you’ve found the right one.