Translation service is quite a generic term, so this question can be challenging to figure out. Translating marketing and advertising material is very different from translating legal documentation and business contracts.
It can be hard to tell if you’re getting fair value for your money, especially if you haven’t had much experience with getting your material translated in the past.
As a Language Services Provider (LSP) we work with a wide range of companies with varying experience. Some have years of extensive translation experience, and some are just dipping their toe in the water for the first time.
We know this can be a daunting process, but if you want to scale up, hit new markets, and expand your business, it’s also a necessary process.
And don’t worry, armed with a few key questions and pointers, it’s not as scary as it seems. Here’s our advice on a few key things to look out for, from a cost point of view, when considering which LSP to partner with.
1. Your LSP Lacks Industry Certifications
Because translations are often charged by the word, there are a lot of factors that change the translation price from anywhere from under $0.10 to over $0.40 USD per word.
The more complicated or rare the language, the higher the cost. The more technical the industry, the higher the cost. The faster you need it…you can see where this is going.
If the LSP you’re working with is part of the American Translators Association (ATA), they must abide by a code of conduct, so it’s more likely their rates are industry-standard.
The same applies for ISO certifications. These international standards mean the LSP is being regularly audited for their practices, and they have a strong Quality Assurance (QA) process in place. For the translation industry, ISO 17100 is the one you want to look out for.
2. You're Told You Have to "Translate Everything"
Consider what you really need to translate at this moment in time. Anyone that says you need to translate your full back catalog of hidden content (that isn’t even publicly accessible anymore) probably doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
They might even give you a great word rate, knowing the translations will never even be checked. You can imagine what the quality will be like.
Don’t be stingy, but use your own time to determine what should be translated and stick to it.
3. Your LSP Doesn't Review the Materials
Here’s another red flag – the LSP you’re talking to is only worried about volume and not about what the material consists of.
We’ve already mentioned that different types of translations have different price tags.
If your translation partner doesn’t care whether it’s a patent for the next source of renewable energy or a series of social posts, then chances are they’re going with the high price tag on everything.
4. There's too Much Budget Creep
Get a firm quote in advance. Make sure everything is included so that there’s no nasty surprises down the line.
An LSP is not just a translator, they look at projects as a whole and scope them properly. So, if you’re getting your website translated, and you’re heading into a heavily muslim market, then you’re going to have to look at your imagery too to ensure it’s not offensive to the culture.
This could mean licensing new images, creating new pages, and having your website redesigned to make sure different character sets fit.
If you don’t consider these factors at the beginning, and preferably tackle everything under one roof (a good LSP will offer Desktop Publishing - DTP), the costs can mount up exponentially down the line.
5. Your Branding Isn't Being Considered
When localizing into new markets, the quality of your translation tells your potential new customers either a) you really have taken the time to care about the culture in Senegal, and that the French spoken there is different to France, or b) you don’t really care about Senegal, you’re just ticking boxes, because you need a presence in that country. Any old French will do.
If you’ve never read a translation that’s been lovingly spit out of Google translate, maybe check this out from Multilingual Magazine. Warm and fuzzy feeling? Not really.
6. Be on Your Guard
Like you probably are in other areas of your business, an element of caution and a bit of shopping around will put you in a good place.
If an LSP is certified, takes the time to quote you properly and walks you through the process and how to get the most out of your budget, then you’re probably onto a winner.
Get a Quote for Your Next Translation Project
If you’re thinking about a translation project, we’d love to sit down and talk with you about it.
With LinguaLinx, you won't ever have to worry about your message getting lost as it’s translated. You know you're in good hands with our ISO 17100 compliance, twenty years of professional translation experience, and the organizations whose trust we've earned.
Continue Learning With These Helpful Articles
- Qualifications to Look for in a Language Service Provider
- The Value of Having an LSP as a Long-Term Partner
- 6 Signs You Should Switch Language Service Providers