Small and medium enterprises often reach a plateau where growth slows as their primary market saturates and competition grows. Stagnation can ensue unless steps are taken to develop either new products, services, or markets. Often the path of least resistance, and expense, is to target additional language markets. Professional translation services, adapting and localizing content, can be a cost-effective shortcut to expanding the market scope and reaching new audiences.
Professional Translation Services Help You Capitalize On Existing Content Assets
Creating new content is expensive. Adapting existing content is much cheaper. Not only that: localization is a technical process that can be cost-effectively scaled. Preparing a website or app for localization involves a one-time effort to transform content items into variables.
Localization covers text strings in a document as well as currency and measurement units. Even localizing from a US-based version to a UK-targeted document or digital assets will involve significant adjustments. Are you globalizing or globalizing? Are you expressing prices in pounds or dollars? distances in miles or kilometers?
There are also cultural conventions and preferences to be considered: You shouldn’t speak to Americans and Brits in the same way, just as you can’t lump Brazilians together with Portuguese or Spaniards with Cubans. Successful localization involves more than just strict technical translation.
What’s the key to successful localization? Robust professional translation services are the key. When going from one language to another, or one linguistic dialect to another, you need to find translators steeped in the culture and conventions of the target language. Leading professional translation services typically operate a network of linguists that cover the most popular business languages.
Select The Most Suitable Professional Translation Service For Your Project
In general, if your budget allows, select from one of the leading companies. They have the scope of coverage to provide translators familiar with your source and target languages as well as the industries you serve. Develop a short list of candidates by googling “translation,” the languages you need to support, and your industry niche.
In an email, briefly describe your requirements and deadlines. It’s a good idea to send a link or sample document. Mention your deadlines. Most agencies will answer within hours. Seek out a short list of 3-5 finalists for further evaluation.
Consider these factors:
- Price: for documents and web pages, this is typically cost as price per word. The typical cost of a US-based translator is between $0.10 and $0.25, with the average for the leading agencies hovering slightly above the $0.22 mark. Some target languages, like Japanese, are pricey, while Spanish-to-English is considerably lower. These costs are for translation only, not a full localization.
- Guarantee: even after delivery, professional translation services should make corrections at no cost. Inquire how long they will support you free of charge. The industry norm is up to three months, but some companies guarantee a full year.
- Industry expertise: Inquire whether the candidate agency will provide linguists knowledgeable in your niche. Your translator needs to be familiar with the terminology and jargon of your industry or profession.
Seek Out Professional Translation Services That Deliver A One-Stop-Shop Experience
The biggest advantage of working with top agencies is that they save you time, provide greater reliability, and support related language services.
After investing time in briefing an agency about the desired tone and messaging, and what your company and its offerings are all about, you don’t want to repeat yourself. Happily, most professional translation services will assign a personal account management team – often a senior and junior account executive.
They will serve as your liaison, managing the language-specific teams which typically consist of one or two translators plus an editor, proofreader, and technical staff for adapting websites and apps. Typically, you will not need to have direct interaction with these linguists.
The beauty of this arrangement is that you don’t need to micromanage your project. You specify requirements, agree on rates and timetables, then wait for delivery. An agency should deliver on time without unpleasant surprises.
In addition, they can provide value-added services like transcription and interpretation as needed. These days, there’s a growing need not just for document translation but also for transcribing audio and video recordings. Many companies also need simultaneous interpreters for Zoom calls with foreign customers and partners.
Consider Judiciously The Use Of Freelance Translators And Machine Translation
You can save money on professional translation services by using freelancers from marketplaces like Upwork or Freelancer.com. They may propose rates a fraction of those offered by agencies. The downside is that they may lack the bandwidth and reliability of a larger company, demanding more of your personal time. Consider hiring a freelance linguist on a limited basis to check the work of your selected agency.
Software applications like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator are good backup tools for routine or structured communications in a foreign language but don’t rely exclusively on machines for published works. Apps are still no match for trained linguists, and relying on the former is to risk your reputation getting lost in translation.
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