When it comes to translating your website, articles, product descriptions, brochures, marketing content and other assets destined for overseas customers, there are a number of avenues open to you. But not all of your business translation options are equal. In this quick guide, we’re going to run through the different translation solutions that are available and look at the pros and cons of each.
Ask a bilingual employee
If you’re lucky enough to have a bilingual employee in your team who is a native speaker of your target language, it makes sense to harness their talents to produce your overseas content, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. You’re paying them anyway, so the translations they produce will certainly be cost-effective.
However, translation is a specialised skill. Just because someone speaks the language, it doesn’t mean that they’ll have the writing skills, cultural fluency or grammatical accuracy to render the source text effectively. If you really need the translated document to read well, only a professional translator will do.
Use machine translation
Why not just get Google Translate on the case? It’s fast, it’s free – what more do you need?
As you can see from the previous blogs we’ve written (Google Translate vs. Human Translator and Google Actively Penalises Machine Translations), Google Translate is certainly not a cure-all for professional business translations. Far from it, in fact.
While it might just help travellers communicate with people overseas, it’s nowhere near accurate enough to produce the sort of translations that you’d want to represent your business. If you want to create a business translation on a really tight budget, you may choose to use a machine translation initially, but you absolutely must have it proofread and edited by a professional translator.
Could you use the power of crowdsourcing to create a reliable and accurate business translation? If you already have a large community of users, you may consider harnessing their talents to create the translations on your behalf. There are certain benefits associated with this approach, as it can increase engagement with your users and help to build a global community – but most importantly, it’s cheap. In reality, though, the complications usually far outweigh the benefits.
The first challenge you’ll have to overcome is how you’ll organise and manage your team of volunteers. You’ll also have to think about quality control and how you’ll ensure the translations are accurate and reflect well on your brand. Crowdsourcing also deprives you of a relationship with a professional translator who will take the time to understand your brand, get to know your story and has the finesse to communicate your message to your target market overseas.
Hiring freelance translators
Another potential route that businesses can take is to hire a freelance translator and work with them directly. This could be a cheaper option than using a translation agency, and if you check their credentials carefully, you should get a qualified and professional translator. However, there are still a number of potential drawbacks to this approach:
- Quality control – How do you know the business translation they’ve produced is entirely accurate? Do you have staff in-house who can proofread it? If not, you’ll have to pay for an independent proofreader, too.
- Project management – You’ll still have to manage the translation project in-house, source and vet the translator, provide a detailed brief and liaise with the freelancer regularly.
- Amendments – Translated documents often need to be redesigned to accommodate changes in format, script and text length. You will have to go back to the freelancer for every change, which will add to the costs and delay your project.
A professional translation agency
If your business has ongoing translation needs or requires assistance with a large one-off project, then using a professional translation agency may not be the cheapest option, but it often provides the best value. Here’s why:
- Accountability – At Linguistica International, we assign a project manager to every business translation. They are your first point of contact and are responsible for keeping every project on track.
- Technology – We have access to translation technology that makes it easier to manage projects and that stores translation memories that are relevant to your particular industry and sector. This makes the translation process more accurate and efficient to reduce your costs.
- Quality control – We have consistent quality control procedures in place and every piece of copy is checked by the original translator, the project manager and a professional proofreader before it’s released.
- Data security – We adhere to the latest secure data handling practices to protect your business and your customers.
- Other services – As well as like-for-like translations, we can transcreate your documents to account for cultural differences and write original marketing copy to appeal to unique target markets.
Contact Linguistica International today
Get in touch to discuss your business translation project. Call 02392 987 765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.