A guide to buying translation services

If you’re not a linguist and don’t work in the translation sector, choosing a translation partner or buying linguistic services can be a daunting task. The aim of this guide is to breakdown and simplify this task in order to ensure that you are provided with accurate language services that are a good reflection of your company values.

1.      Translation or interpreting?

The first thing that you need to do is to determine whether you need translation or interpreting services. What’s the difference? If you need to speak with someone in person then you need an interpreter, if you need a written document translating then you need a translator.

2.      Choosing the right language partner

There are many different language services providers out there including Accent Language Solutions, it is important that when choosing a language partner, you consider the quality of services on offer, the experience they have in your subject matter, professional qualifications and also the complete service package.

As tempting as it can be to try to save costs by using a bilingual team member or even a free online tool such as Google Translate, you are not guaranteed a quality translation at the end of this. A bilingual team member might seem like a great option for lower cost translations however not everyone who speaks a language makes a good translator. Professional translators spend years studying the art of translation, common pitfalls and should also offer a reassurance that the end translation will be as good, if not better, than the original document.

Again, packages such as Google Translate initially seem like a quick, easy and free way of obtaining a translation, what could go wrong? Firstly, you should be extremely cautious about entering any confidential or sensitive information into these programmes. Although the translation is provided instantly and for free, Google does have the right to retain any information that you enter into the system. In addition, these systems are not always accurate and cannot provide the same human understanding that a professional translation service offers.

3.      Bespoke translation service

A professional translation provider such as Accent Language Solutions should be able to offer a bespoke service to each client. This means that we listen to your requirements, we create glossaries and translation memories for each project and can include bespoke style guides for our translators to work alongside in order to ensure that the style and terminology used in each of our translations is consistent and in keeping with your company values and style.

When approaching a translation company, ask them how they can ensure that future documents that are translated will be consistently and accurately. For larger scale multi-lingual projects, ask the translation provider how they intend to ensure that the style and look of the final translations will be consistent across all languages. Ask them if this is something they do on a regular basis. How many translators will be working on the project? What are their processes to ensure high quality translations every time?

4.      Brief the translation provider to guarantee quality

A professional translation service will always appreciate any additional information that you can give them in relation to your project, this ensures that the quality of the final translation is as close to the original document as possible. Ensure that your brief is clear, concise, includes the intended purpose for the translation and also the target audience. By including this information, the language and style used can be adapted to suit your needs.

5.      Be realistic on timings

Accurate translations take time. Yes, you can get instant translation online however the accuracy of these translations is not guaranteed. Professional translation services such as Accent Language Solutions take the time to research terms and your company style prior to starting work.

The first question that many translation clients as is “how quickly can you translate this?”. The answer depends on the content of the document and also the availability of translators. At Accent Language Solutions, we have a database of linguists and can usually start work on projects right away however as with many other language service providers, there are sometimes cases where the most suitable match for your translation project is already working on another project for another client. Although it may be tempting to suggest working with another linguist who might not be as familiar with the subject matter, it is always better to wait for the most suitable translator to become available. Using a translator that is familiar with your subject matter improves the quality of the final translation and also reduces the time needed for the revision and editing sections of the translation process.

6.      Form a long-term partnership with your chosen translation provider

For the very best translation results, it’s always advisable to form a long-term relationship with one service provider. The longer you work with a company, the better they understand your company values and your needs. Forming a long-term relationship also serves to improve the quality and accuracy of translations is the service provider offers to create bespoke glossaries and translation memories for your projects. Work closely with your translation service provider to help them to better understand your needs and to develop their understanding of your company ethos.

For more information on Accent Language Solutions and the translation services that we offer, check out our website or contact us to discuss your needs in detail.



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