Today, translation services abound both online and in your local business directory. Several of them even claim to offer free services. How do you choose a good one? You need to be able to effectively pick a high quality service among thousands of options. This is therefore a very informative guide to help you choose a good translation service. After reading it, you will be well prepared to get an excellent translation agency that will give you the best quality for your money.
1. Know What a Good Translation Service Is.
There are good and poor quality translation services. A good translation service will convert your words from one language to another while keeping the original style, tone and intention of your message intact. This is very vital for reaching out to various cultures in different countries while doing international business and marketing.
When you present your message in the local language of your target audience, you easily build credibility and a better bond which helps your audience trust you and buy from you faster. Language translation is also vital when you are creating product and service manuals for your company’s products. It is therefore critical for you to be able easily choose a translation service that will meet your needs within your budget.
2. What Type of Translation Project Is It?
Do you need a simple translation of emails and memos from English to Spanish or German? Or do you need translation for something more detailed like an e-book, product manual or business report? The volume and importance of the project should determine which translation services you approach for quotes.
3. Machine or Human, Who Translates?
You should be aware of machine and human translation services. Machine translation may work well for simple jobs like translating emails and short memos. But you don’t want to use that for a business proposal or sales copy. For this, you need a good human translator. Some translation services also make use of both machine and human translation. This could save cost when you do a lot similar repetitive translations. Such translations must however be properly proofread by a competent human translator before they are delivered.
4. Choose a Native, Local Service.
If you live in a country like America or the U.K., you will have immigrants from many countries offering translation services. These services will cost you more if you intend to reach out to a local audience in a foreign country. If you want to reach out to people in Spanish, you should get a native translator from Spain to work for you. Their service will ultimately be cheaper and better.
5. Assess Previous Work and Experience
Before you choose a translation service, make sure you find out if they have done any work in your field. This is critical for major projects. Don’t allow your job to be used as a guinea pig. Be discerning, get evidence before you take the plunge. Try and get quotes from several translation services.
– Make a request for references from old clients in your field.
– Ask for samples of projects that have been done before.
– Take time to examine these jobs.
– Use free machine translation services online to do a quick check up
This will help you to know how well the translation service will be able to perform.
6. Check Their Level of Professionalism
– Ask for the resume of the translator who will handle your project.
– Ask for samples of initial and final jobs of the proofreader/editor.
– Enquire about their ability to fulfill any special formatting demands. For example, will they be able to keep bold and italics formatting in the new translated document.
This may seem elaborate, but you need to be sure that they are using professionals and not just some cheap, poorly qualified translators.
7. Pre-test Quality
You can pre-assess the quality of work that your chosen translation service will deliver. Simply send them a portion of you work and ask for a free translation. You should then do a back translation by another service. For example, you can translate from English to Spanish and then from Spanish back to English. If you are happy with the results, you may proceed to the next tip.
8. Talk About Cost
Do your best to get a full quote for the cost of the work. If it is possible, send the work and let them assess it. If you can’t send the work, let them know the number of words and any special formatting requirements. Don’t assume; get a full break down of the total cost.
9. How Long Will it Take?
It is very important to know how long the translation service will take to complete the job. If the work must be ready by a particular date, let them know. Also, tie the completion of the payment to the ability to meet up with the deadline. You should also consider the need for a back translation when it is necessary for quality assurance. This will increase the project duration. You don’t want to present your audience with a wrong message because you wanted to meet a deadline.
10. Do a Final Quality Check
After you have chosen your translation service and they have delivered the finish work, do a quality assurance test. Don’t take your audience for granted. The consequences of a wrong translation can be very costly. In fact, it is best to include an allowance for some amount of re-work in the service agreement from the start. Make sure your guidelines and specifications have been followed.
In very critical cases, please do a back translation or get someone to read and interpret the document to you.
Those are 10 of the most important tips on how to choose a good translation service. I hope they have been helpful to you. So what should you do next? If I were you, I’d bookmark this page so I can have this information handy anytime I need it to choose a good translation service.
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