So you’ve decided you need a translator. Perhaps your business operates internationally, of a significant part of your audience would prefer to read your materials in a foreign language. It’s a great decision, particularly considering the drawbacks of some of the alternatives to professional translations.
But realizing that you need a translator is only the first step to ensuring that your international documents live up to your audience’s standards. Next, you need to find a partner that can help you achieve your business and communication goals. Here are 4 steps you can take to ensure that your translator will help, rather than distract from your intended message in a foreign language.
1) Do Your Research
First, you should comprehensively explore your options. Translation agencies and freelancers could both be on the table, and even if you decide on one over the other, you probably have multiple translators vying for your business.
Start your research process by seeking out as many options as possible, and logging their information in an Excel file with distinguishing factors such as language and industry expertise. Doing so will give you a perfect framework for the rest of the process.
2) Check Past Work
Once you have found a number of translators that could work for you, it’s time to begin evaluating their fit for your business. You would probably prefer professionals with experience in your industry; otherwise, jargon words and phrases can be difficult to translate. Similarly, translators who are intimately familiar with both languages in question make most sense.
Generally, you can check out past work of potential translators in one of two ways: check their online presence, or personally ask for samples relevant to you. Freelance translators, particularly when marketing themselves on translation marketplaces, typically show past clients and samples on their online profile. Agencies will showcase similar opportunities on their website. If you can’t find either, just ask about the type of sample you are looking for.
3) Contact Past Clients
Consider this an optional step. If your business only needs a one-time translation of a specific document, you may not need to do research that is as in-depth as it would be for a long-term partnership. But if the latter applies to you, particularly if you conduct business in foreign countries that necessitate consistent translations over time, don’t be afraid to go in-depth in researching translators.
In that case, one crucial part of research will be to contact clients with whom the agency/freelancer has worked in the past. These clients will be able to give you valuable and impartial information on the accuracy and timeliness of completed work. You can then make a more informed decision to find the translator you need.
4) Agree on the Terms
Once you’ve found a partner that seems to work perfectly with you, don’t assume the process is over. Now is the time to establish the terms of the partnership in order to ensure that you are and remain on the same page.
Talk about timelines, requirements, budgets, check-ins, and the revision process as early as possible. Doing so will help to avoid misunderstandings and other issues once the project starts. Don’t wait until the terms are formalized – instead, use these terms as a part of your research process to find the best possible partner for your need.
International business communications and operations frequently require translation services. When you’re in need of a translation partner, taking the above steps can go a long way toward finding a translation partner that fits your unique business needs and helps you accomplish your goals. To learn more about researching and finding translators that can help your business succeed, contact us.